Studying abroad is a dream of many, no doubt. It is one of the most eye-opening, life-changing experiences a person can have. Yet, the process of studying abroad is not as easy as said. With thorough research, proper knowledge, a culture shock, travel ideas, and overall cost, it is safe to say that studying abroad is a difficult process if not done right. Let’s be honest; not everyone tells you the real picture of study abroad. But worry not, as in this article we will cover 10 things that you must know before going to a foreign country to study.
1 . Study Is Mandatory: Girls dancing on beaches, a bicycle ride to the streets of Amsterdam and enjoying the tropical haven of Southeast Asia might be what you have in your mind when thinking about study abroad. Of course, the TVD dramas and pictures do not make things any clearer. While the idea of enjoyment is not false, the real truth is that you have to study. Just because you are in a different and exciting location doesn’t mean you won’t still have to spend hours cramming for tests, writing papers and completing group projects. Studying abroad isn’t a semester-long vacation. You’re still going to have to work.
2. Becoming Fluent In Second Language: If your desired location is somewhere in the USA, US and UK, you shall be fine as English is the mode of communication. But if you choose places like Russia, Ukraine, Belgium, Germany and others, you might face a native language barrier. If you’re serious about improving your language skills, you will need to put in a lot of time studying, practising and making mistakes just as you would in a classroom. A unique location may make it easier for you to find opportunities to practice, but you will still need to put in the work.
3. It’s Party In The USA: This one is not bad, as American culture can be seen in most parts of the world. You might think that visiting a different country apart from the US will bring some different party themes, while it may be true to some extent, but you will find the tone of America in every country. Entertainment from the United States is more popular than ever, and you might find someone that may share the same interests in ‘FRIENDS’ as you.
4. Get Ready For Culture Shock: Even though the traces of the US culture can be seen in most regions of the world, you will face culture shock. Even if you are in a country with a very similar tone of English culture, each student will still have moments of culture shock. The moments may be big or small, they may last a few hours or a week, but they will still be there. Just remember, these moments are completely natural, and everyone experiences them. The difficult moments will help you appreciate the perfect ones and will help mould you into a stronger person.
5. Stereotype Is A Real Deal: There is a belief that Italians eat pasta all day, or in France, days pass drinking wine. See, this is what we call stereotype thinking. People will have a typecast for you as we have for people, especially if we live on another continent. Sometimes stereotypes may be silly; sometimes, they can be hurtful. It is up to you not to feel offended by those thoughts and better use them as a conversation starter to share your own culture with others.
6. Dating Can Be Overrated: Legit saying, dating in a foreign country can be an intoxicating fantasy. Walking along the beaches of California, watching the Eiffel Tower when the sunsets, and finding your knight in shining armour. Well, let’s be real, people are people, and just because your location may feel more romantic, there is no guarantee that the people also are. We are not saying dating is wrong, but instead of investing all your energy and free time in dating, spend your time travelling, making lasting friendships or having cultural experiences you will never forget.
7. Being Fully Prepared Is A Hoax: No matter how much time you spend researching, there will always be some details you leave out or can’t anticipate. Enjoy the surprises as they come and find a way to persevere through trying circumstances.
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8. Low Expectations, Richer Experience: While researching your destination is a good thing. There is no way possible that you might be aware of everything. But being honest, it is always a good thing to keep your expectations low. You can’t plan memories before they happen. Take the experience as it comes and appreciates your foreign locale for what it truly is versus what you would like it to be.
9. Memories Are Unexpected: You can plan many things, but the real memories always come unannounced. When you don’t predict anything, and it happens, that makes your journey magical. Watch for these moments and enjoy them as they come! Take lots of photos, keep a journal, start a blog or send lots of postcards to help you remember these times in the future.
10. Your Experience Is Up To You: Lastly, your experience of studying abroad always depends on you, people might help make it better or worse, but the real happiness depends on you. You alone control your destiny abroad. Studying abroad is your time and no one else’s, so it is up to you to decide what will make the experience most meaningful to you, step outside your comfort zone and live your adventure to its fullest potential.
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