Study abroad survival tips

I am five months into my study abroad experience and although I have finished my studying for this year, I wanted to share some of my survival tips for managing the experience. I hope those thinking of studying abroad are encouraged by this post and those who have studied abroad can share some of their survival tips in the comments. In this article are just a few tips but I have so many more. Let me know if you enjoy this post and if you want to see a part two. Anyway lets get into the article…

Learn the language – English is the most widely spoken language worldwide but that doesn’t mean you should not learn the native language of the country you will be studying in. There is a very good chance you can ‘get by’ with English, but to be polite and improve your experience it is beneficial to learn some of the new language. I would admit that I am guilty of not doing this and not learning has made interactions such as shopping or ordering food difficult, or at least socially awkward. If you struggle with languages, learn the basics so that you can hold an interaction with someone and appear willing and polite.

How to overcome the language barrier | Chemist+Druggist

Join a club – Making friends can be very difficult, especially for me… I recommend joining a club as you immediately find a bunch of people with a common interest. For me this was Badminton which I was playing twice a week before my University closed due to the pandemic. It felt like a good release of energy whilst engaging with other people in a very social sport, with friendly players. Maybe sport is not your thing, but there are plenty of other clubs and I guarantee there is something for everyone.

Don’t forget your friends back home – It can be an important time to meet new and intriguing people but don’t forget about those who were there for you first. That does not mean that you have to talk to them day in day out as you want to experience this exciting new lifestyle, but to simply catch up with them as often as you think is acceptable. If they are a good friend then they should understand that and encourage you to formulate these amazing experiences. Your friends back home will be one of the first to greet you with open arms and ready to hear all about your amazing experiences. Treat them kindly.

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Give yourself time – It is wishful thinking to get on a plane and expect everything to work out immediately. There are so many new things such as language, place and people, that you are effectively starting a new life (for how ever many months or so you will be studying abroad). There is a good chance you will be nervous and even cry, or wonder what the heck you are doing in this foreign country. These are all normal emotions and ones that I experienced myself. But I can assure you that it gets better and you will start to live the abroad experience you envisioned, and more. For me this was heavily impacted by the pandemic which knocked my confidence, but I strongly believe in a normal year, things would have been much easy. Time is key to allowing ourselves to understand and adapt.

Time and Patience is Vital to Learning | A Nomadic Teacher

4 thoughts on “Study abroad survival tips”

  1. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and tips for studying or working abroad. At some point in my life, I would like the opportunity to study or work away from my home country, so this article has been really helpful to me. Do you enjoy studying abroad and are there any drawbacks in doing so?

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    1. There are of course drawbacks or issues with studying abroad. But this is the same with many things. You have to weigh the negatives against the positives. For me, the positives are far more. As long as you are enjoying yourself and things are working out, you have to go live your dream in my opinion!

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  2. When I went abroad to study for a brief 3 month period, here are what I learned.

    1. The most impressive thing about learning abroad is knowing about their food. Yes, we are going to miss our native cuisine, but its important to ensure that you cultivate a liking to their staple food, whatever that is.

    2. We all tend to befriend people who speak our language when we first go abroad. While this is good, never ever box yourselves and cut yourselves from mingling with foreigners. Everyone has a heart.

    3. Despite the new environment, adapt and learn to cope. Never leave your journey half way.

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    1. These are three excellent points that I enjoyed reading and that I agree with. I specifically like point number two, but I also think you should engage a lot with the native speakers of the country you are in. You will be bunched together with all kinds of foreigners, like me where I lived with no Swedes. So what you should do is go meet some and try to learn the culture and language from them.

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