What Are The Challenges Of Studying Abroad?

In this article we are going to talk about the What are the challenges of studying abroad? Being students and having always been around our families in a comfortable and sheltered environment, we somehow dread the independence and freedom of decision making. We are grown up, we are 17, we are 18 and we want to have control over us. Studying abroad brings with it numerous experiences and opportunities. It is fun to explore the word on our own.

Get highly employable skills through some of the renowned universities of the world. To be able to stand out in a crowd. To be able to take pride in the university we go to. We want to self actualize, learn and grow and become our best selves. As a result, studying abroad is seen by the student and the families as the best possible way to have opportunities to explore and do what fits best to us.

What are the challenges of studying abroad?

Maybe what we want to study or our career vision and goals do not align with the vision of our future or do not fit the life we want for ourselves. A university overseas on the other end of the world may have to offer what we exactly need in terms of our education and it may seem like our shot at the vision we see for you. As a result, we are more than determined to work hard and get in.

One gets exposed to so many challenges and experiences while studying abroad, knowing another language, becoming increasingly aware of their cultures and overcoming challenges of living in a place completely unknown to us. It all seems formidable and empting at the same time. However, for some students, studying abroad might not be as easy as it is projected. It comes with its own set of challenges which we would discuss in this article.

1. Feeling of estrangement

Feeling of estrangement

Being an outsider, getting acquainted with the new country comes with its own set of challenges and hardships. It is nothing but natural to feel spiritually dry due to the lack of feeling of belongingness in a foreign land. Seeing new faces all around, lack of a sense of community would certain fly duce a sense of estrangement leading you to feel like an outsider. Everything is new, new city, new people, new way of life. It is not like something you have experienced before and it takes acceptance of the new norms and culture which is then followed by getting used to it all. It is a slow and steady process. It almost feels like the air is different when one is in a foreign land. It can take time to get accustomed to the general milieu of the foreign land before one gets to enjoying it all.

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2. Language barrier

 Language barrier

Everything is new and language too. It might get extremely difficult to get accustomed to the native language if you do not know it already. Communication barriers are bound to rise when there is a language barrier.  Communication is the key tool to exchange information, express it or convey it. A smooth course of action cannot take place without communicating. Communication is almost like an ongoing stream within a social setting through which individuals connect and be an effective member of the society. Lack of communication would lead to an inability and inefficiency to communicate. Due to this, the person might not be able to get their point across and that could cause problems. It could reduce a person’s morale and enthusiasm. Over time though, people get accustomed to common phrases and effective ways by learning the new language by active learning or through osmosis.

3. Currency difficulties

Currency difficulties

Getting used to a new currency can be a little difficult with the fluctuating values of currencies. Besides, people tend to overcharge foreigners because they are less aware.  I this case, ask local how much they would pay and get a general idea of how much things cost so that no one overcharges you. If the currency is different from that of your homeland, try to figure out a quick conversion method in your head while making purchases to not spend lot more than what is needed. Initially, this calculation work would take time but once you get a hang of it, it won’t be as difficult and you will get used to the new currency of the new county.

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4. Acculturation

A sudden cultural shock is expected moving to a new country. It could be a lot to take in but is a compulsory step in adapting to the new ways of life. Fundamentally, there are four acculturation strategies. Integration is where there is a positive attitude towards one’s native culture and the new culture. It results in maintaining one’s cultural identity while staying in contact with members of other cultural groups. Assimilation is when one does not wish to maintain the native cultural identity and adapt to the new culture. Separation is when people wish to adapt their own culture and wish to avoid interaction with members of their cultural groups. Marginalization is when people have negligible interest in maintaining their own culture or staying in contact with members of the other culture. One needs to find the most adaptable strategy to be able to flourish in foreign land.

5. Being away from family

This one could be possibly one of the toughest hardships. Family is something you have been around for your entire life. The emotional warmth, the comfort and sense of belongingness in family is unmatched. Being away from your core, the people who are the closest to you can really test one’s willpower. Thanks to technology we are able to chat and video call and talk in real time with our dearest ones. It comes with a part of the deal but is somehow for the greater good of the betterment of you and as a result your family in the long run. Homesickness is natural no matter how tough one is.

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6. Finding a suitable accommodation

Finding a right accommodation in terms of the location, accessibility, safety and security, facilities can be really difficult. It could take several accommodations to find your ideal accommodation that is close to campus and provides all the necessities needed. Bad accommodation settings can affect the student in numerous ways. It could lead to a longer commute time, lack of safety and could adversely affect mental health. Finding the permanent apartment to live in can get really challenging and it is like a hit or miss. Budget also certainly plays a significant role in the kind of accommodation.

7. Managing finances

Managing finances

Adding to the currency difficulties, managing finances and budgeting can get quite difficult because literally anything comes up anytime and micromanagement of funds is a soft skill that gets developed over time. Try to budget your expenditure and spend accordingly. Have fun but only if you can afford to! The struggle isn’t forever and much of it can be eliminated through planning and being mindful of what you are spending on and look around if the product you want to purchase is available at a lesser price at a different outlet then go for it. Strike a balance and analytically isolate between your needs and wants.

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8. Laundry struggles

Laundry struggles

It used to be so easy back at home dumping clothes into your washing machine and boom they somehow magically appear in your wardrobe gracefully ironed and displayed in a sophisticated manner. But none of this is going to happen when you are away from family. One needs to do their work on their own and be independent in that aspect too. Plan out laundry days and effectively work out what time of the week suits and fits best in our schedule to do the laundry. No one has the time to wash clothes every day, take out some time a week for laundry and make sure you have enough clothes to last year for a week and save yourself from a lot of last minute stress and ruckus.

9. Meeting academic expectations

College system is not like the school system at all. Students have more autonomy and are free to do as they please. However, the catch is that with more freedom comes more responsibilities. Getting accustomed to new ways of learning and acquiring new techniques of studying can get really challenging in the start. With adequate persistence, patience and hard work this challenge can be overcome. One has to be very regular with class work submissions and assignments. Tending classes regularly and taking out tie food self study can really test someone’s time management skills. It can get really challenging but not impossible to shine academically!

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10. Uncertainty of  finding right work opportunities

 Uncertainty of  finding right work opportunities

Chances are likely that you may not find your dream job because finding a job in foreign land ces with an additional dose of documentation and certain companies require that you are citizens of the country to be able to work in it.  Make sure to do research and contact the university regarding placement before even applying at the university to truly weigh if it is worth it. You need to really be sure whether the university truly aligns with your academic and life vision.

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