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Guide to Studying Abroad: must know things for international students

Updated: May 2, 2022

Study Abroad- a term which needs no explanation. Studying abroad is a dream for millions of students in India. The dream of going to a new city, a new university, meeting new people and experiencing new things. These and many other things about studying abroad which are tempting enough to make students lose their night’s sleep to write that perfect Statement of Purpose, or to make a Resume which stands out during the application process.

Every year many students pursue higher education from foreign universities. The top destinations for Indian students are U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., Europe, and South Asian countries. Students go abroad for undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in various courses and programs in different streams. Studying abroad looks lucrative not just for its high-quality education but also for the exposure it gives to students.

Studying abroad has many benefits such as global exposure, top quality education, participating in international projects, research in best institutes, meeting new people, exploring different cities, etc. As glittering as it may look, studying abroad has its own challenges too. Here is a list of things to keep in mind if you are an international student or plans to study abroad. These tips will help you prepare yourself so that you make the best of your study abroad experience. Going to a new country, new city, where people might speak an altogether different language, shouldn’t scare you. So, get ready to take that next flight to your dream destination with full preparation.

1. Money matters and in a foreign country it matters the most: Airport is the first step to your study abroad journey. And from the airport it’s you and the money in your pocket which will help you the most. Make sure to have converted the Indian currency into the currency of your destination country. Carry some amount of cash currency to survive the initial few weeks until you open a bank account in the new country. Yes, it’s the time of Cards and Digitalization, so carry International and Visa cards issued from your bank. To be on the safer side, carry 2-3 cards issued by different banks. Remember that if you are less than 18 years of age then the cards must be issued in your parent’s name. Learn about the currency differences so that you can spend money wisely.

2. Learn the language in advance:

We never know the importance of language until we are in a foreign country. Yes, in this moment you would realize only if you listened to your counselors and parents and learned the basic language of the destination country. Spend 1-2 hours every day to learn basic conversational language and useful phrases such as where is this place, how much is this for, how to reach there, and many more. This will be very useful when you want to use public transport or go grocery shopping. Also download Google Translator or any other translator app on your phone. This will come handy when you must convey long sentences in any situation.

3. Navigate your way in the new city for a safer experience: Ending up on an unknown deserted street in a new city is a scenario you wouldn’t want to imagine yourself in. So, to avoid any such situations, make sure to download and use Google Maps for the right directions. Trust Google Maps but don’t blindly trust it. So, try to learn the route beforehand from your university officials or native students for a stress-free journey. Since you already have basic knowledge of the new language, use your language skills to ask for directions if you are unsure about the route.

4. Learn about cultural differences for better mingling and acceptance: Feeling like an outsider in a new city is common. But you still must make sure that you do a bit of research in advance about differences and cultural misunderstandings of the destination country so as to avoid hurting anyone or embarrassing yourself. Use your observation skills to see and understand what others are doing and how they do it. Over a period, you will know how to present yourself in a new city without offending anyone. Make sure to learn about their customs and culturally acceptable habits beforehand. If you are addressing them the right way, using the right gestures and tone you will be accepted and welcomed by people. Meeting and connecting with people will make you feel happy.

5. Connect with your friends and family to cope with homesickness:

Being thousands of miles away from your family is enough to make you feel lonely, sad, and homesick. It is a legit feeling. So instead of being in a denial stage, rather address this feeling. Communicate to your family and friends of how you have been feeling. Learn about the difference in time-zones and fix up time to spend with your loved ones virtually. Connect via video calls often, seeing your parents and friends faces will make you feel less lonely. Talking about daily things like how your day was, how the weather is, what you are eating for dinner, will make you feel closer to them.

Studying abroad is a feeling, an experience. Not just for studying, but also for traveling and exploring the beautiful cities and iconic landscapes in different countries. Whether it’s the famous Zurich trip undertaken by Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan in DDLJ, or the La Tomatina Festival in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, the dream of going abroad is a tempting one. Follow these tips and make your dream come true.

Pooja Kaushik

Communication and Outreach

High School Moms

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