Being in a foreign country for the sake of studying is not the same as an overseas trip for the holidays, but it can be just as fun. It can also be scary and intimidating. With a little help and a few pointers, though, the experience can be both educational (as it should be) and enjoyable.
Here’s what you need to know to prepare yourself for studying abroad.
Preparation is key
Before leaving your own country, do a bit of preparatory research. Find out more about the history and culture of your destination as well as your college or university. Find some good travel guides and make a list of the places that you would like to visit. Also, get any preparation for your course out of the way. Finish any reading assignments and get to grips with the curriculum so that you don’t find yourself overwhelmed on your first day of class.
Get to know your surroundings
Whether it is your first time in a new country and away from your parental home or not, getting to grips with your surroundings important. It is the first step to ensure that you not only last your academic year but also thrive in your new habitat. Become accustomed to your new dwelling by adding a homey touch, such as a plant or a piece of art.
Get to know your neighbourhood by talking to the locals, asking about the best places to eat and shop. Thirdly, don’t forget to socialize. If your college or university offers extracurricular activities, consider signing up for a few that will fit your schedule. Do things that will help you from getting homesick.
Remember why you are there
While exploring and socializing, keep in mind that your focus should always be on your studies. Though the nightlife in your new town may be alluring, overdoing it will negatively impact your grades and possibly your experience of the town or city you are in. Set specific academic goals, keep to a schedule, and set aside specific times for non-study related activities.
Remember, you are in charge of yourself now. No one is going to tell you when it’s time to study or exercise or cook food. Creating a realistic routine will be the best way to keep on track with your studies while still living a little. By the way this study abroad program really helped with my career.
Keep in contact
A great way to feel connected to home is to have to wall clocks, one for your own time and one for back home. It also prevents you from waking parents or friends up in the middle of the night with a phone call. Try to come up with a specific time each week to chat with loved ones and let them know how things are going. This will keep them from worrying and keep you emotionally grounded.
Moving to a new town or city to study can be thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Go easy on yourself but stay focussed and motivated. You are not the first pioneer to attempt this educational feat and there are many support systems that you can implement to make sure that you make the most of your time and schooling, wherever you are.