The decision to study abroad is a matter of aspirations and excitement, but also fear of the unknown. And rightly so, you leave behind friends, family, and whatever else is comfortable to embark on this journey of new experiences. Education from a reputable university abroad not only gives you global exposure, but also promises you academic freedom.
Ensuring you get the most out of your study abroad experience and have a rich student life on campus requires being aware of the resources available to them. All good universities make it a priority to provide the best facilities and support, be it physical or mental support to their students. In return, students must bring with them the right mindset to adapt to the host country. As an international student from a Tier 2 city in India, my study abroad experience gave me life-changing exposure. Here are some elements that helped me in my process of adaptation in the host country:
Adapt to culture
Come with an open mind! By this I mean don’t carry any preconceived ideas about your new environment. Yes, it’s a good thing to do some homework and research things about the new country and its culture; However, I recommend not believing everything you hear or read about the new environment. Often our friends and loved ones unwittingly give us a negative feeling about the new country and its culture. Although they may do so out of love and concern for us, such advice tends to drag us down and reduce our confidence in the process of assimilation in the host country. Most, if not all, universities tend to be very welcoming to their international student community.
Interact with diverse groups of people
While it is good to connect with people from your home country, I would recommend interacting with local students and students from other countries. Communication is the best way to break down barriers, and also a great way to exchange views. By interacting with people from other cultures, you learn a lot of interesting things about different cultures, foods, music, etc. Connecting with people around the world will lay the groundwork for your future endeavors. Adjusting to a new environment can be difficult, but one way to make the process easier is to understand the other culture. Interacting with others not only strengthens friendship, but also helps us exchange ideas about culture and different thought processes.
Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, network, develop leadership skills, and boost your resume. Volunteering is a great way to legally gain experience while you are an international student. There are several organizations and clubs on campus that provide volunteer opportunities for their students. Volunteering allows you to engage in activities and environments that can help you in your future career plans.
Use the various services on campus
For those of you who have never lived away from home, it can be difficult to fly to another country and live away from family and friends. To help you deal with this, I suggest you use the various services offered by your university. From well-equipped recreation centers and state-of-the-art libraries to student counseling services. All these facilities are set up for you and taking advantage of them will ensure good physical and mental well-being. Plus, they’re usually available to students free of charge, as the services are likely included in your tuition.
If in doubt, ask your advisor
In addition to the above, if you have any other questions or need help with anything, you can always turn to the student support centers at the university.