One of the best experiences any person can get is by studying abroad. Not only do students get a memorable experience, but also knowledge and skills that will be useful in their future career. This is why each student must make the most of their study abroad adventure.
Getting to know the city, and making a real effort to understand and adapt to the culture are just some of the important things international students must not forget.
Here’s a list of the most common mistakes international students do when they study abroad:
1. They don’t learn how to speak the host country’s language
Remember to learn and appreciate the language and culture of your host country. There is no need to be fluent in the language, as long as you learn how to say basic greetings and expressions in their language. Connect with local students and listen to them speak the language. Practise speaking it and learn as many words as you can.
‘Try out’ the language every chance you get – even if they speak back to you in English. Language ties people together, so learn as many as you can.
2. They don’t know much about the host country
Before going abroad, make sure you research essential information about your host country. This helps you know the things you should and shouldn’t do, and helps you with the smooth transition. Learn about your school, the community where you’ll live, maps and public transportation in advance.
3. They never expect the unexpected
Sometimes even the most detailed and well-prepared plans fail. There’s always a chance that there will be minor changes in your travel plans. Learn to be flexible and predict the unexpected. Always have a plan B. The important thing is to learn how to bounce back and not get stuck in that unfortunate situation. Moreover, don’t let this ruin your whole trip.
4. They rarely step out of their comfort zone
Being flexible means stepping out of your comfort zone and trying out new things you’re not used to. Learn the new culture, eat their food (even if it’s new to your taste buds). Who knows? The next thing you try might be your new favourite thing. This will strengthen your bond with your new environment, and help you adapt in no time.
5. They don’t research scholarship opportunities or financial grants
Most international students looking for a prospect programme often miss searching for scholarship and financial aids first. This should be the start of your search as it will have a huge impact on your savings.
Most study abroad agents offer scholarships or discounts. To find out more about this, you simply have to go online. Moreover, international students who are performing well in their academics can receive financial grants from the government or other organisations.
6. They don’t have a proper budget scheme
A budget scheme is essential to survive your study abroad semester/year. You need to develop a plan ahead of time. Try to know more about the cost of living in that particular city and see how your budget will fit. How much will you spend on rent, groceries, and transportation? Write them down and find a way to stick to your budget plan throughout the duration of your study.
7. They pack too many things
One of the cardinal rules of travelling is to take only the things you need. There’s absolutely no reason to pack too much luggage. Conquer your overpacking tendency by listing all the things you need and things you can live without or even purchase them from your host country once you arrive.
8. They make unrealistic expectations
Expecting too much can easily cause disappointments. Understand that not every day will be perfect and you will meet some people whom you can’t please. There will be both good and bad times. It’s not all fun and easy. Always keep this in mind.
9. They depend too much on technology
Yes, technology nowadays is an essential tool. However, trying to disconnect can also help you refresh your mind and focus on what’s ahead. Do not go around documenting every minute that happens in your life. See the new country through your eyes and not through your phone.
10. They lack orientation
It’s not a thing new students or freshmen look forward to, but orientations are in fact important. You will get essential information on how to settle in your school and also be familiarised with departments and programmes you need to know. Here, you will also get the chance to know other new students and make friends.
Special thanks to Sharjeel Ahmed for providing us with this article. Ahmed from Edarabia.com has served the education industry for over 6 years. He collaborates and works alongside education-marketing agencies, event organizers, and educational Institutions ranging from nurseries, schools, and universities to develop and execute their marketing strategies. He is extremely passionate about education technology and also writes for various local and international publications. A graduate with High Distinction from the Manipal University Dubai, UAE, Sharjeel holds a Bachelor’s Degree with major in Media & Communication.