Many of us spend our teenage years dreaming of going to university in a different country. However, realisation strikes when you enter early adulthood and appreciate that the prospect of leaving your parent’s side to study in a location a few hours away is scary enough. Today, more so than ever, large numbers of students are leaving their motherland to experience studying in another country.
Preparing and adjusting to life as an international student can be daunting and stressful. Below, we outline some of the top topics international-students-to-be are interested in, to allow them to better cope with their move abroad.
Studying Abroad and Visas
Students who are living in an EU country and are moving to another EU country to study do not need to worry about getting their hands on a visa. If this doesn’t describe your situation, you will need to investigate the rules and regulations for studying in the country of your choice. Chances are, your university will go a long way in helping you with this process and guiding you in the right direction.
Some countries have different criteria when it comes to studying in their country. But, most will have a student visa as standard. Simply searching the internet and landing upon a government or student website for the country you are moving to will allow you to see the visa you need and any extra requirements (such as being able to read and write in English).
Moving Your Belongings
Airlines tend to have weight restrictions when it comes to luggage and, frankly, trying to fit even life’s most basic necessities in to one suitcase to potentially last you even a term is a big ask. Packing to move as a student can be demanding and for those students who know they will not be making the trip home until the academic year ends, it can be best to get in touch with a student removals provider to make life substantially easier. Most also offer a discount!
It is just the way that university life plays out, but many international students end up making friends with other international students. Over your time studying abroad, chances are your bedroom will be crammed with books, clothes, road signs. Student digs are often small at the best of times and having a cluttered room can make studying difficult. In this scenario, get together with some of your friends and chip in for affordable student storage.
Adjusting to a New Culture
When you land in your new study abroad country everything is new and exciting. As time goes on and the initial novelty ebbs away you may notice that you find some aspects of life in the country uncomfortable or that you do not agree with some social norms. This is often referred to as culture shock. Even the most open minded and liberal amongst us experience some level of this and it can be hard to overcome.
The best way to cope with culture shock is to read about your new country and interact with locals as much as possible. Learning about a country’s history and culture can give you a new perspective and help you understand why things are a certain way. You can also get in touch with study abroad coordinators at your university or discuss matters with friends. Other great ideas to help with culture shock include:
- Learning the country’s language
- Make friends with locals
- Try to see life from a local person’s standpoint
- Remember why you were drawn to the country
- Talk to family and friends from home
Dealing With Homesickness
There are going to be times as an international student where you crave to be with family, eating homemade food and sleeping in your own bed. Homesickness can be a real problem and many students can spend months feeling miserable and forgetting why they opted for this experience.
Getting involved with societies, extra-curricular activities, and a good old fashioned night out at the Student Union bar are fantastic ways to keep yourself busy. Make sure you don’t isolate yourself in your room and make the most of the communal living spaces in your student accommodation. To make your bedroom feel homelier, you can always put up photographs and pictures that remind you of home. By far the most important is to have regular interaction with family and friends back home. Skype is a great free tool that can allow you to make video calls so schedule in a family meeting every week or so.