Studying abroad is a thrilling, life-changing experience. It can be daunting to leave your home country to travel to a foreign country and experience a new culture. But with the right preparation and mindset, you can have a truly memorable study abroad experience. That being said, there are a few common challenges you may face while studying abroad. From culture shock to language barriers, to financial struggles, there are many factors to consider when preparing for your upcoming study abroad trip. Understanding these challenges before you depart can help you plan ahead and make the most of your experience. Read on to discover the 7 most common challenges you might face when studying abroad.
1) Culture Shock
You will experience a culture shock when you leave your home country and travel to another country. You may feel out of place, uncomfortable, and out of your element. You may also start to question the decisions you made to study abroad. It is normal to experience some type of culture shock when studying abroad. By being prepared for it and understanding what to expect, you can better manage it. To reduce culture shock, try to learn about the culture before you depart.
This allows you to gain context and have a better understanding of the culture when you arrive. You can also talk to other people who have studied abroad in the same country. They can relate to your situation and help you feel more comfortable and less out of place.
2) Language Barriers
When studying abroad, you may find yourself in a situation where you do not understand the language spoken around you. Whether you are at the airport, trying to order food, or in class, the language barrier can be challenging. It is important to learn a little bit of the language before you depart. This can help break down communication barriers so you can connect with others.
You can also join a language program at your host university or find a language partner to help you improve your language skills. Having a few simple phrases in the local language can go a long way in helping you feel more comfortable and confident during your time abroad.
You may start to experience homesickness when you are away from your home country. You may miss your family and friends, your daily routine, and the comforts of home. Some students may also experience a sense of depression due to homesickness. You can experience homesickness at any time during your study abroad experience. It is normal to miss your family and friends.
It is important to know that most students go through this and there are ways to manage it. You can keep in touch with your family and friends through social media, phone calls, and emails. You can also join a study abroad group or make friends with other students at your host university. In addition, staying connected with your close friends and family can help greatly reduce homesickness.
4) Financial Struggles
Since the majority of students study abroad on a scholarship or their own money, you may face challenges with your finances. You may need to budget your money carefully in order to make it last the length of your study abroad trip. You may also need to consider the currency exchange between your home country and host country.
You may also need to apply for a travel credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees. This allows you to avoid being charged a fee on every purchase you make in your host country. This can help you avoid financial struggles while studying abroad.
5) Different Academic System
If you are attending a university in a foreign country, you may experience a difference in the academic system. For example, you may have fewer class options or no elective courses to choose from. You may also have to complete a different type of application or admissions process to study at the university.
You will likely have to take a language assessment to prove your proficiency in the local language. This can be a challenge for some students who have never studied in a foreign academic system. By being aware of these challenges and adjusting your expectations, you can better manage this challenge.
6) Making New Friends
As you make new friends, you may feel like you are losing your connection to friends back home. You may feel like you do not have enough time to keep in touch with your friends from home and make new friends abroad.
This challenge can be managed by setting realistic expectations for how often you can stay in touch with your friends. You can also try to remain actively involved in a group or organization that connects you with your new friends. This allows you to stay connected with your friends back home while making new friends abroad.
7) Safety and Security
During your study abroad experience, you will likely travel to new places, interact with new people, and attend events that may not be held in safe places. You may also be in a foreign country with a different law enforcement system than back home.
It is important to know your surroundings and be aware of your surroundings. While abroad, it is essential to stay safe and be smart about your choices. You can avoid dangerous situations by being mindful of your surroundings. Before you depart, make sure to research your host city and surrounding areas to learn about the safety and security situation.
Studying abroad is a life-changing experience. While it can be challenging, it is worth the effort and worth taking on these challenges. However, it is important to be prepared for what you may face when studying abroad. Culture shock, language barriers, homesickness, financial struggles, a different academic system, and making new friends are the 7 most common challenges you may face when studying abroad.