Moving abroad from the US is a challenging experience, no matter the circumstances. We have the axioms that we take for granted, and it can be a real shock to the system at first. This experience is sometimes even harder on those of us who move abroad for the sake of studying. At the same time, the benefits of studying abroad are clear as day if you take a moment to consider it.
There is simply no denying that international education will stand out on your resume and sets you apart from the herd. An impressive resume is what you need to secure the future of your career, regardless of the path you choose. There are economic reasons that it makes sense as well. However, it is the emotional and psychological toll that presents the only real set back. That said, we have compiled a list, or a survival guide if you like, of overcoming common challenges when studying abroad. If you have decided to move overseas, you should consider these top tips to ensure that the initial transition is as smooth as possible.
Open Yourself To The Local Culture
You may not think that the difference will be quite as jarring, particularly if you are attending a college in ‘the west’, say in the UK or Europe. It is wise to adjust these expectations before setting off. By going into it with an open mind, you will make it a lot easier on yourself to see the positives and enjoy the experience. The best way to become aware of the upcoming cultural challenges is to research the ways of the locals. By delving into the research, you will be able to discover interesting taboos to the general customs o the locals.
Utterly crucial is to be respectful of local tradition, customs and culture. Many foreign communities view travellers as obnoxious and disrespectful when customs and norms are disregarded. By showing openness and respect, you will save yourself from this unfortunate label, making it easier to integrate into your new community.
Tone Down The Show Of Hyper-Confidence
Even though there is no doubt, you will be extremely excited about your voyage; you should avoid hyper-confidence that could be mistaken for boisterous disrespect. This is one of those cultural miscommunications we don’t always realise we propagate. In American culture, it is crucial to show a healthy level of self-confidence. It is frowned upon to be too withdrawn or meek.
Most cultures around the world do not share this virtue. By and considerable modesty and humility are considered well mannered and respectful, whilst overwhelming shows of confidence further incite the perspective that we think we are better than others. It is a challenging mental shift to make, and a difficult thing to adapt to, but practising a moderate disposition will see you more readily accepted into a new culture.
Don’t Be A Tourist
It is undoubtedly essential that one makes the most of the opportunity to study in a foreign country. You should by no means miss out on opportunities to explore and engage with the experience. What you should very carefully avoid is identifying as a tourist. This is another thing that will alienate you from building relationships with your peers.
You may be thinking that a lot of this article emphasises ways to fit in and you are right. This is because pretty much every other aspect of studying abroad is a joy to experience. It beckons one into being curious and eager. It is that which may become an identity-defining you as being a tourist rather, than a visiting student focussed on education and the joy of experiencing a new culture.
Explore As Much As You Can
While you don’t want to be known as the long-term tourists, it is essential to spend the beginning of your trip exploring the local area and enjoying all the region has to offer just as a tourist would. It won’t do you well to shy away from experiencing your host region as you will be able to get the best experience this way truly. Once you have become accustomed to the scenery and general environment, you will likely feel a lot less like a visitor and be able to adapt to your new surroundings.
While studying abroad is an incredibly popular choice for students who are after a stellar education as renowned institutions become optional, adjusting to your host region is vital. In addition to these tips, as mentioned above, you should also invest efforts in maintaining connections with your friends and family back home. Thanks to the internet, relying on your support system is not an impossibility. Your support system will be able to encourage you during times of need during your initial settling in period.