Studying overseas: dream or nightmare?

Before heading to the airport, make sure that you know what you're getting yourself into. Studying overseas is a life-changing moment not just for you, but for your parents as well. Wolfgang Wolf has his own views on studying overseas. And you'd better listen to his advice. He knows a thing or two about moving around the globe.

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A bigger city, a new country, new friends, paving the way for your career, finding out who you are and what place you want to claim in society, those sometimes eccentric student parties, new living arrangements, cool flatmates – definitely a dream (for you).For your parents… not so much. Probably more of a nightmare. All they can think of is that their child whom they took care of for the last eighteen or so years is now going out there in the world, all alone, facing all these challenges, many times - by themselves. Definitely a nightmare.

For your parents… not so much. Probably more of a nightmare. All they can think of is that their child whom they took care of for the last eighteen or so years is now going out there in the world, all alone, facing all these challenges, many times - by themselves. Definitely a nightmare.

It quickly becomes a question of who is judging the situation, and what are the criteria. It is well known that two people will describe the same situation quite differently, depending on their view of the world, life experience, and various personality traits.

O.K. Maybe your parents are just too pessimistic, isn't it? You, on the other hand, are excited, and obviously optimistic. So, who is right? It’s difficult, for both parties, to maintain a clear head over the situation.

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Let’s, for a moment, look at the student’s situation. All fired up to plummet into a new experience. Apart from the parties, which happen magically, most of the time, there are a few elements of stress. Of course, they are overshadowed by the excitement that comes with a new experience. Nevertheless, these stressors should be acknowledged. Dampening the euphoria are mundane tasks like dealing with the university administration, signing rent/lease contracts, negotiating terms with flatmates, getting a car and insurance, opening a bank account. And the list goes on. That's why, it would be advisable to write down a list (but do not take it along with you to parties; it’s important you have fun).

Write this ‘To-Do’ list before you start studying, even weeks before you go. Once you’ve written it, categorise it into weeks or prioritise it according to importance. As you cross items off, others from below will slowly move up. Even though this might seem like a task you'd rather leave to some meticulous bookkeeper, it does one thing for you: it puts you in charge. You are in control.

Then show the list to your parents. Even ask them whether they can think of anything you have forgotten to write down. Remember, you are going through a life-changing moment. To orchestrate any successful change every person (who is even in the slightest bit affected by it) has to be informed, involved, behind it. Your parents will be proud of your endeavour and will see that their responsible offspring has now take control of his/her life.

PS: Have fun partying!

 

Special thanks to Wolfgang Wolf for providing us with this article. Wolf is author, counsellor, philanthropist, speaker and so much more. He is currently living in Auckland, New Zealand and he regularly talks to students of Community Development, Social Work and Nursing. You can read his blog on disability and rehabilitation here and follow his work here and here.

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