Looking forward to study overseas? While to some it seems exciting opportunity, others are scared due to homesickness, language issues or even financial crisis at times. Studying overseas lets you get an internationally recognised degree, get acquainted to diverse cultures and bag your dream job. From a holistic point of view, studying overseas comes with its own set of challenges as well as advantages. Let us have a look at it in detail-
#1 Finding the right accommodation isn’t easy!
Very often on-campus accommodation gets filled up faster and students have to resort to other means of accommodation outside the university campus. This can often make you pay a huge amount to avail your preferred accommodation. Often it has been seen that certain Facebook groups run online scams by showing fake photos of houses and end up asking for a lot of money as a security deposit in that process. Students fall victim to these kinds of scams and lose money in the process. They eventually figure out that these kind of property never even existed. So, to sum up it is very important to look for accommodation from reliable trustworthy sources.
#2 Struggling with the time zone factor!
Trying to travel and stay between two time zones on opposite ends of the planet can be really frustrating. Especially, when you are in touch with your loved ones from India. You need to double check which time is suitable for which time zone, and also get a habit of making phone calls very early in the morning or may be very late in the evenings.
Add all the relevant time zones in your time keeping applications. Try to remember the time difference by memory. The earlier you can do this, the better it is for you to cope up with the time zone differences.
#3 Managing finances is difficult!
Irrespective of all your efforts to plan your finances, budget, and also track your expenses throughout your stay, sometimes it really gets tough to manage the expenses. Even if you’re managing your money perfectly well, you can still end up broke or having less than you need. Before you opt for a job, you need to double check the rules around your student visa. Based on the country you’re studying, you may be limited to the type and location of work that you can take. Always check your campus classifieds and different job boards for new opportunities. You can also go for different freelance gigs or part-time work opportunities to manage your finances a bit better.
#4 Language barriers are challenging!
If you are visiting countries like UK, US, Australia, where English is spoken as the first language, it may be difficult to overcome the language barrier. You may find it difficult to speak fluently in English. Also, often you may find it hard to clearly understand what the natives are saying. The use of certain English words and phrases may differ in different countries overseas. There are standard exams like TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS, GRE, GMAT that you have to clear before getting enrolled in a foreign university. Matching the pace, accent and tone of the foreign countries may also be a bit more challenging.
#5 The feeling of being homesick:
Homesickness is something very common when you are away from your loved ones. It’ll affect you immensely when you’re bored, so it is always advised to stay active. You need to connect with people, especially fellow students who are feeling the same and embrace as much of your new surrounding as possible. The more engaged you are in your day to dat activities, the less time you’ll have to worry about what you have left behind.
#6 Feeling lonely, anxious, depressed:
It is not always easy to make friends in a new city especially if you are a shy or an introvert person. You need to start it with the social and activity clubs at your university.
At times, your mood may fluctuate during your stay abroad. Assignments can be stressful at times. Treat your psychological state of mind the way you will take care of your body. Try to keep yourself calm, be with good friends and keep yourself busy in interesting activities. If required ask for help from a counselor or psychologist to talk about things leading you toward your anxiety and depression.
#7 Getting lost in a foreign land:
Irrespective of how many maps you have a look at, you might end up losing your way in a crowded market or deserted lane. Do not panic in these scenarios.
You need to be prepared for any sort of adventure across the city with handy maps. Have helpful phrases written down in the local language concerning your situation. For example, “Help me, I am lost” or “Can you please direct me to the nearest hotel/ university/bus stop might help?” Travel guidebooks are particularly helpful and normally contain a section dedicated to this very problem.
If you love travelling, keep a stash of emergency cash and some helpline numbers of locals to get rid of this kind of situation.
#8 Fear of missing out:
The fear of missing out takes a drastic turn for the worse when you are thousands of miles away from all your close ones. You feel you are missing out all the important actions that is happening all around you. Spend less time browsing the internet. Spend lesser time in social media profiles and focus on a particular hobby.
This is surely not to lower the exciting things happening to your friends back home or to say your life is relatively more interesting.
#9 Feeling like an outsider:
There are times when u suddenly feel out of the place. Unknown faces, different. Never before you might feel so out of place or separated. Make friends with at least one local person. Try to establish meaningful relationships especially across cross cultural boundaries. This relationship might help you to start feeling safe and relaxed in your new country, instead of separated and awkward.
#10 Climate uncertainties:
Irrespective of how much of online research you do before you study abroad, it is difficult to predict how the weather is like till you reach that particular place. Indoor climate control, the city infrastructure and even regional characteristics can affect what you might wear day to day. Plan to bring only the bare minimum essentials and get the rest when you get there. If finances are your concern, look for secondhand clothing stores to get all the required stuff.
#11 Sudden cultural shock:
You may also find yourself very much affected by the sudden shift in culture. Starting from food and rituals to transport systems, style of dress- all these may differ from those in your home country.
Unfortunately, this culture shock can always led to frustration, anxiety, and homesickness. If you are not prepared to cope with these differences, it can lead to considerable amounts of stress even in scenarios where you’re performing normal day to day tasks.
#12 Laundry struggles are tiring:
Managing your laundry can be really hectic and challenging. If you have not done this before, the struggle of separating light and dark coloured clothes is real. Mind your water temperature, as some fabrics may shrink owing to the heat. Pay attention to the directions mentioned on the dress labels to know about how to wash a particular cloth. If washing machines are tough to fit in your living space, make use of local laundry services which are usually pretty affordable.
#13 Managing academic expectations:
New experiences will always be more interesting. Living away from home, there can be plenty of new things that you may want to try out. All you need to do is to buckle down and work smart. Make use of the calendar, to-do list and planner apps to manage all your academic requirements.
#14 Not able to have your comfort food :
Studies have revealed the fact that drastic changes in cuisine are experienced by university students while they are studying abroad.
Food is a huge part of any culture and there can be massive differences in the tastes and flavors of the different types of food you have. Being distanced from your comfort food can be difficult at times as the food varies vastly different from country to country.
#15 Making friends is difficult:
Making friends is not that easy especially if you are with people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds speaking different languages. Communication becomes a major challenge in certain cases. It is difficult to find out like-minded people as the mindset is more likely to vary for each individual who comes to study with you. So, be prepared to spend time all by yourself, opt for good hobbies till you find people who can actually be your friends.
#16 Lack of charge in electronic devices:
After you have got your accommodation, unpacked your things, you need to tell your family that you’ve arrived safely. None of your devices have charge and you can’t plug them in, owing to the differences in the wall outlets. This nightmare can easily be avoided. Make sure that your devices are fully charged before you get on the flight. Also, you need to see if you’re going to need adapters before you travel.
#17 Less of opportunities:
Lack of opportunities in terms of career growth can be a major setback. It can be a major problem for informational students as there are numerous students across the world competing with you to bag the best offer. You may not get the suitable opportunity and your student visa period might be on the verge of getting over. So , lack of opportunities can be a major problem if you do not excel in what you do.
#18 New learning styles to get acquainted with:
Each country has its own unique style of teaching. Studying abroad can always help you expand your academic boundary and increase the capacity to adapt to various educational backgrounds.
There can be several teaching styles like Authority Style, Facilitator Style, or Delegator Style. Some students may find it difficult to get acquainted with a different style of learning in a country abroad. It is always better to have an idea of the learning style that you are going experience for the course that you have enrolled.
#19 No support from friends and family:
Your usual support network of family and friends will usually be thousands of miles away.
This will be a pretty big challenge, especially for the first few months of studying abroad. But again then, you will eventually build up a new support network and after some time it will be fine.
Safety becomes a big concern when you study overseas. Not following certain safety measures while you are abroad can land you in trouble. You may come across fraudulent people who can trick you to land in trouble. So, it is always better to be on the safe side by doing the following-
- Know the local language
- Buy applicable insurance
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Carry a minimal amount of cash and leave the rest at home
- Stay sober
- Keep emergency contact numbers with you
- If you feel like you are being followed, never go to your own hotel or domicile
#21 Not finding the right work options:
Finding the right work opportunity is not that easy; It is a little difficult to bag your dream job in a foreign country. Also, visa policies can be different in several countries depending on the country where you wish to apply. While some countries have stay back issues others have very strict visa policies that require thorough paperwork. Also, finding the right opportunity isn’t that easy. Though there are ample opportunities sometimes homesickness, loneliness or language issues can make it difficult for you to find suitable work.
Some of the major advantages of studying overseas are as follows-
#1 Student diversity:
One of the most important advantages of studying abroad is that students from diverse academic, cultural and religious background come to study with you. There is so much to learn from each student, share ideas and also exchange valuable knowledge that they have acquired over the years. You can always learn a lot when you talk and share ideas with students. Discussing new ideas with your fellow mates can always help you get to develop new ideas, learn about new opportunities and acquire necessary skills from them.
#2 High quality of education:
The quality of education at the universities abroad is pretty much different, intuitive and skillful. The curriculum is research-oriented and at the same time adheres to industry-oriented applications. The research facilities are high end as the labs are integrated with high-end technological tools. The faculty coming from diverse academic background and makes every class quite interesting. The curriculum equips you with the right skills necessary to establish yourself in this competitive market. International education supports global learning, encourages understanding among groups from diverse backgrounds and prospects, and augments globally-minded individuals. Experiential learning is one of the greatest advantages of studying overseas.
#3 Cultural harmony:
When you arrive to a different country different from your in their new host country, they are influenced by different cultural views. When you study abroad you will find different new customs, traditions, cuisine and social atmospheres.
You will be able to have a better understanding and appreciation for the nation’s people and history. You will also have the opportunity to observe a completely new way of life. Often, our cultural background has a huge impact on how we react with respect to different situations. Gaining varied perspectives can help you look at occurrences in a completely new way. By studying overseas, you’ll meet people with different upbringings, that will help you to broaden your horizon and also your mind.
#4 Personal development:
There is nothing really like being on your own in a different country. You might find that studying abroad brings out your independent self. Students who study abroad become pioneers of their new nation and discover the curiosity and excitement that they have within oneself. One of the major benefits of studying abroad is the opportunity to discover yourself as you gain an understanding of a different culture from your home country. Being in a new place by yourself can be confusing at times, as this will test your ability to adapt to different situations while being able to solve problems all by yourself.
#5 Better job prospects:
After you complete your study abroad program, you will have a new perspective on culture, language skills, a great education, A willingness to learn and a great profile. Needless to say, all of these are very much attractive to future employers. According to a recent survey, 64 percent of employers regard study abroad experience to be very important. Approximately, 92 percent of employers look for interchangeable skills that are typically gained from the experience, such as adaptability to new challenges. Studying abroad can help to give a major boost to your career and make you more competing in the workforce. It gives you the possibility to show future and current employers that you have all the necessary skills to adapt to a different environment.
#6 Course diversity is always an added benefit:
Studying internationally provides a wider variety of courses. This includes different research-oriented career options and also skill-based training for students. The array of courses expand your horizons and also opens up a world of new educational opportunities. There are certain programs overseas that allow you to take different courses at the same time. You can pursue your interest in literature while studying mathematics as your major.
#7 Hone your communication and leadership skills:
Students who study abroad are more likely to become better communicators. Studying abroad takes you away from your comfort zone. When you are out of your comfort zone, this forces you to learn how to efficiently communicate with different people.
These experiences will teach you how to communicate with people from diverse backgrounds. This will eventually instil confidence in yourself and make you a good leader.
As a leader, effective communication is an asset. It is the tool with which you draw people to you and convince them to stay.
#8 Get that international exposure:
The biggest reason you should consider to opt for a study abroad program is the opportunity to see the world . By studying abroad, you will be able to experience a brand-new country with different new outlooks, customs and activities. You will get the international exposure that will help you acquire different skills necessary to sustain in this competitive world.
#9 Wide-cross cultural network:
Your experience with a different culture allows you to increase your worldview. When you study overseas, you’ll learn about new cultural aspects and also develop a cross-cultural awareness.
You may work with people from other countries when you join your job. By studying abroad, you’ll be more comfortable with people from diverse backgrounds, value their unique experiences, and also establish a stronger relationship with them.
Often it has been seen that our cultural background has a huge impact on how we react to different circumstances in our lives. Obtaining a variety of perspectives can help you look at experiences in an entirely new direction.
#10 Higher salary:
With ample job opportunities and tremendous scope of growth makes it easy for students to bag jobs with higher salaries. Most of the renowned MNCs, small and large scale corporations have their headquarters overseas. The job roles involve great responsibilities and calls for higher salaries when compared to your home country. A recent study has come up with the fact that study abroad students have a 25% higher starting salary than those who do not study abroad.The greatest salary is for students with specific majors like sociology, theology, computer science, religious studies,physical geographical science and electrical and electronics engineering.
#11 Living independently:
Studying abroad instils a self-sufficient attitude and also helps you develop an independent lifestyle.For example, if you pursue your education in the hometown you will not get a chance to understand how to live a life independently. Your dependence will also make you feel very comfortable only in your circle. Studying overseas will help you know how to adopt and live independently.
#12 Enhanced Network:
Studying abroad helps you build valuable relationships with people from all over the world. You increase your international connections while having the opportunity to meet people who can be your life-long friends. Some connections may even lead to new career opportunities which include internships, exciting job offers, and business alliances.