Studying in a different country is exciting. It’s been the best period of my life and can be yours too as you meet people from all over the world, get experiences unlike any other, and make new memories. Moving away from home can be a big challenge, especially if you need more time to prepare.
Luckily was on my side because I received a lot of help from my family, the university’s admissions office, and other sources. If only they had known some facts ahead of time or thought up contingency plans for any unforeseen accidents. I know how challenging studying abroad can be, and I hope to ease your transition.
Here are seven considerations before embarking on overseas education.
1. Pick a research location
None of the world’s countries are identical, just as no two persons are. Making friends is easier when you locate others who share your interests and values. It would help if you did the same thing, but in the form of research, while deciding on a country or other location to spend an extended period living and learning.
Before arriving, familiarize yourself with the local language, culture, religion, manners, food, and more. It’s acceptable if you want to enter the experience completely cold. Whatever the case, it’s preferable to have all the facts before making a final choice.
2. The climate and wardrobe
The weather is a feature that you should take into account. Find out how hot or cold the weather often is at the location you’ve settled on. As a native of Malaysia, where the average annual temperature is 37 degrees Celsius, I grew up wearing lightweight shirts and shorts.
I spent a year at EF Academy Torbay, where the climate is…unusual. Torbay hadn’t seen snow like that in almost nine years, but it fell two weekends earlier. We anticipate heavy precipitation beginning tomorrow and continuing for the following two days. It’s essential to research the local climate so you may bring appropriate attire from your native nation.
3. A mobile phone service package
When attending school in another country, this is crucial. In an unexpected situation at the airport, you may need to make a call, use Google Maps, or look up information like a cab service. Ensure that your mobile phone service provider has international plans with the country you are relocating to and that the rates are still reasonable before you leave.
If you still need a cell plan, you should sign up for one at the airport when you land. If you can afford it, bring a cheap backup phone just in case your primary one breaks. Never let your guard down.
4. Planning and managing one’s financial resources
While this may not be top of mind at home, it is essential to be conscious of your financial situation and budget while studying abroad. If you don’t want your bank to deny your payments when you buy a cup of coffee, you should inform them beforehand about the situation with your cell service provider.
Here are things you need to know if you don’t already:
The foreign transaction fee levied by your bank, the current exchange rate between your home country and the country you are relocating to, and the monetary system of your new home.
I needed help to become used to the American coin system, and it was occasionally embarrassing to go through my wallet to find the correct coins. To prevent becoming “that person,” familiarize yourself with the system.
5. For Emergencies
Of course, I’m not referring to the many national emergency numbers that are common knowledge. (Note: If you aren’t already familiar with the emergency hotline in the country you are moving to, you should become familiar with it.) What I mean is the school’s or university’s emergency contact number in case you need help finding your way or reporting an emergency upon arrival.
If your phone is lost or stolen, it will help if you have the emergency number written down and hidden in your luggage.
6. Technological tools
The flip side is that smartphones and laptops are must-haves due to the widespread use of Google and other electronic learning systems by schools and universities nowadays. It would only be possible to draft a 1,000-word essay on a phone screen or present it on a tablet if you had a laptop.
Acquire the necessary electronic tools for your course and ensure you know what they are.
7. Homesickness & Culture Shock
My friends who have studied abroad have suffered from culture shock, and I know many who suffer from homesickness throughout the school year. The first piece of advice helps you avoid cultural shock. There will be occasions when you must be prepared for the unexpected and act accordingly.
Keep an optimistic and open perspective on the world around you, and don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance in your quest to achieve your goals. Don’t hole yourself in a corner and wait for love to find you. Young adulthood comes with the responsibility of making your own decisions.
I’ve never felt the pangs of separation from home. So, from what I’ve seen other people do, I’d recommend bringing some food from home and being in regular contact with your family back home. Enjoy your time away because you will miss it when it is over, no matter how much you may long to return home.