7 Solutions to the Most Common Problems Students Have While Studying Abroad

To study abroad is an exciting experience that makes everyone feel ecstatic. Going abroad for higher education has become popular in the modern era as a way to demonstrate your social status. In addition to the student, parents are enthusiastic about sharing the study plan with others. Moreover, it opens an exciting new chapter in a student’s life.

to study abroad

It’s a special opportunity that gives you the chance to travel, make new friends, learn a new language and, of course, get a top-notch education. However, some people find it difficult to adapt to life abroad and encounter difficulties along the way.

While study abroad is getting pretty damn close to ideal (sorry, Beyoncé), it’s not without its problems. Whether it’s adapting to local customs that prove difficult, yearning for a home like crazy, or struggling to stay motivated for their studies, many international students face a variety difficulties specific to life abroad.

However, a few hiccups along the way shouldn’t ruin your trip or detract from your overall experience. Having the confidence to deal with potential problems is the best defense against them. Keep reading to learn how to kick ass seven study abroad problems.

1) Homesickness

It’s easy to get homesick when everything is so unfamiliar to you. The sofa in your living room and your obnoxious but endearing sister are two things you will miss. Whether it’s your first time living alone or not, homesickness is a normal and even expected experience when moving away from home. Indeed, according to a UCLA Institute for Higher Education Research survey, 71% of students feel homesick at some point.

You never imagined you’d admit it, but you REALLY miss your younger sister, you REALLY miss mom’s horrible cooking, and you REALLY regret not taking your beloved stuffed animal on that long trip to the stranger. Being homesick is completely healthy and acceptable; just make sure it doesn’t ruin your trip abroad. Your support networks are still there!

How to overcome it!

Several techniques to reduce loud noises in your head that keep reminding you how far you are from home. You can engage in new activities, clubs, and interests while studying abroad. You can also call friends, family members or counselors for help and advice. You can also treat yourself to a cup of coffee at the neighborhood Starbucks for a taste of home. You can also start doing yoga, meditation, or other self-awareness exercises.

The most important thing to remember is to refrain from spending hours and hours on Facebook or your other favorite social media websites, as this is unproductive and feeds your homesickness instead of curing it.

2) Running out of money

Students will also need to develop strong financial management skills. Some international students may be lucky enough to receive a scholarship, which will facilitate their financial charge. All students will therefore need to develop their budgeting skills. Students must plan a budget lodgingfood, transportation, and other daily living expenses in addition to tuition fees. Apart from lifestyle, housing preferences and consumption habits, costs are generally higher in larger cities.

You’ve done your best to budget, plan, and track your costs throughout the semester, but you may have indulged in a few extra scoops of ice cream or spent too much this weekend in Santorini. No one can blame you for blowing your bank account to double digits. Extending your money until you get home, however, is your obligation.

How to overcome it!

It can be stressful not having your family around to help you financially, but again, take the opportunity to learn how to create a budget and manage money. Consider saving an extra $200-300 before you leave for your study abroad program. Give it access to your parents so they can help you money transfer in your account in case you need to use some of your savings.

Put in the breaks once you realize your finances are running out fast. Be incredibly observant and hypersensitive to justify spending money on needs rather than wants. If all else fails, apply for a loan or make a birthday gift advance from Mom and Dad’s Bank. They certainly wouldn’t want their child to struggle while they’re away from home (but don’t expect huge amounts of money!).

3) Feeling lost

You will inevitably find yourself in a precarious situation in a strange place, or LOST, no matter how many maps you study or street names you know.

How to overcome it!

First off, don’t panic. Your first reaction might be panic, but even if it’s late at night or you’re in a dodgy part of town, you WILL SURVIVE it!

Helpful maps can help you be ready for any adventure around town. Make a list of useful local phrases for your situation, such as “Help me, I’m lost” or “Can you give me directions to the next hotel/gas station/bus stop?” Travel guides are extremely helpful and often have a section dedicated to this issue.

If you’re a particularly savvy traveler, you can also carry an emergency cash stash for such occasions, possibly at the bottom of your purse.

4) How to stay inspired to go to class

You only get a small glimpse of this huge and beautiful universe, and you’re already hooked. When you might be out exploring, visiting new museums, using your language skills, etc., your teachers can’t expect you to sit in a lecture hall revising words of Italian vocabulary.

How to overcome it!

Study abroad is so called for a reason and calls the student to make the academic effort by its very name. Since you are enrolled in courses, you must remain dedicated to your studies; otherwise, you risk losing your scholarship, seeing your grade point average drop, or even being expelled from your program. Also, there are some Fully Funded Scholarships for International Students to which you can apply.

Keep in mind that your lessons should support your exploration. While there is value in living abroad in itself, you need to step into your classroom if you want to realize the full educational potential of the experience.

5) Time zone difference

It is difficult to accommodate students from other countries whose time zones are different in a few countries. DISCLAIMER: When your Skype appointments are cancelled, you have to get up at 2am to call your bank during regular business hours at home, or your jet lag is downright intolerable, pulling your hair out and/or drilling a hole in the wall is NOT the wisest course of action.

How to overcome it!

At best, it can be frustrating trying to travel between two time zones on opposite sides of the earth. You have to continually check the times to make sure they correspond to the correct time zone, so you develop the habit of calling very early in the morning or very late at night.

Add all relevant time zones to your timing apps if you’re using a smartphone. Remember jet lag as 6 hours behind, 12 hours ahead, plus 1 day. While you still need to frequently remind friends and family what time your FaceTime conversations will be, the sooner you can do this, the easier things will be on your end.

6) A stranger’s sense of belonging

You look around and you immediately feel quite alone. You are surrounded by “others”, and it is abundantly clear that you are different from them because of your appearance, the way you dress, and your inability to speak the language. You have never felt so alienated or isolated before.

How to overcome it!

Rest easy knowing that it’s doubtful that the locals are consciously trying to make you feel unwanted in their community. Even if you are a foreigner in this country, it will not take long for you to feel at home; the adjustment process may only take a few weeks.

Make an effort to get along with at least one local. While it may seem simple, building lasting relationships, especially those that cross cultural barriers, takes work. However, your efforts will be amply rewarded as you will gain a supporter and an ally. You may be able to begin to feel safe and comfortable in your new nation through this friendship, instead of being lonely and awkward.

7) Refusal to leave

You will understand how much you love your new home once you overcome all these obstacles. You will miss the locals, the food and lots of little everyday things when it comes time to go after you finish your studies, like the fantastic cafe down the street. You will miss freedom, experiences and even challenges, and getting out of yourself will be difficult.

How to overcome it!

You’re not a nerd, so don’t worry! While you’re gone, things will change and grow, whether it’s a game to throw cadaverous green pigs, Justin Beiber’s new song, or the amazing new restaurant that just opened. Accepting this reality and taking comfort in the knowledge that your absence from the group is only momentary is vital. Put it on your list of things to look forward to when you get home; maybe your friends will organize an event to help you “get the rhythm back”.

This problem can be UNBELIEVABLE for some people. It’s both a fascinating opportunity to see how quickly a fad spreads and dies, as well as a tangible reminder that fads come and go. You could seek help from qualified people consulting services if you still don’t know how to fix the above problems.

“Enjoy your study abroad semester!”

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