Top 10 Challenges of Studying Abroad and How to overcome them
Table of Contents[Show]
- List of Top 10 challenges of Studying Abroad
- Studying abroad enriches you with lifetime benefits, at the cost of minute challenges
Are you planning to study abroad but are worried about the possible challenges you might face? Are you aware that approximately 6.5 lakh students have taken steps to study overseas in 2022? If they can, then there is no way you cannot.
A very common and prominent proverb, “No pain, No Gain,” could be the best energy booster you require to push yourself to overcome the challenges of studying abroad.
It is not justifiable to only highlight the benefits of studying abroad, but it is equally important to realize the possible difficulties and challenges and conquer your biggest fears of studying abroad.
A recent report by RedSeer(Higher Education Abroad Market) highlights the number of Indian students opting to study abroad witnessed a significant increase from 440,000 in the year 2016 to 770,000 in the year 2019, which is further estimated to go up to 1.8 million by 2024.
List of Top 10 challenges of Studying Abroad
1. Language Barrier
Every country has its local languages. Communicating, however, could be a challenge initially if you are not familiar with the language (at least the basics), as you cannot find people speaking in English everywhere.
But the probable best part is that education would majorly be in English; hence, at least here, you don’t need to work on facing the challenge or the hindrance.
The situation can be simple concerning the terms or the locals’ slang. The synonyms of the words can bring differences in understanding the language (English itself), but this problem is only for the initial days and goes away with time.
How to overcome
- Speak slowly and clearly, avoid the usage of slang
- Interacting with peer
- Try to learn at least the basics
- Videos or movies are also the best sources of learning (or understanding) new languages, along with entertainment.
- Listen to Podcast with English speakers as that might help in communicating
One of the biggest fears of studying abroad is leaving the comfort of your home. Leaving friends and family to move to a new country can be quite an overwhelming experience.
One of the reports by HSBC (sounds of home - 2019) highlights more than 90% of international students experience homesickness, while 74% of them state that they miss the sounds of their hometown the most.
How to overcome
- Be optimistic about embracing new surroundings
- Be in the mindset that you need to explore the benefits and direct your attention to those horizons
- Stay engaged throughout the day, ensuring you are not bound to lots of free time to ponder the homesickness aspects.
3. Climate Uncertainty
This challenge is totally at the discretion of nature. No amount of research could help you completely predict or avoid the circumstances. However, knowing what in general are the weather conditions in the chosen country could aid in difficulty in making the decision
As we recently read about the Arctic storm that has affected many countries and nations like the USA, Austria, Japan, Mexico, and Canada, though compared to other countries in the list, the hit has been very severe in the USA. As a result, people have been asked to stay in the confinements of their homes.
How to overcome
- Plan your clothing essentials (minimum requirement) and try purchasing the main ones in the foreign (destination or chosen) country – you can find more right climate-fit clothes
- You can even buy it from a second-hand clothing store if cost or price is a concern
- Indoor climate control could be of great help.
4. Feeling like an outsider
Stepping into new places can certainly rope in fear of new people and associating with them, yet simultaneously, it builds excitement to meet new faces. As a foreigner, this is on a whole other level, as there may be days when you feel left out because you cannot meet and greet your friends or feel isolated because you are outside your comfort zone.
Initially, you may wonder if your fellow students are talking about you. Or, why they are laughing without a joke while you pass by? You are conscious of every moment, but this goes invisible over time.
The report by Quartz highlights one of the reports by the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, stating that about 40% of the total international students have no friends (American Classmates), a trait highly prevalent in students of East Asian Countries
How to overcome
- Please do not rush into making new friends or relations with whoever you pass by. It is understandable to take time, but ensure you have one.
- Being friends with students from other cultures would give you something to talk about and learn from, except for academics.
- Joining clubs or organizations on campus and making an effort to meet new people can help combat feelings of isolation
- Try exploring nearby places or neighborhoods, you never know when you find a friend.
5. Managing academics and personal responsibilities
This is one of the common yet considered one of the biggest challenges of studying abroad for new students. The biggest benefit of living in hostels or at home might be not having to do your own chores, but when starting your journey in a foreign country this certainly would be referred to as a non benefit at least in the initial days or months.
You will need to put in a lot of effort from planning your day so that you can fill in space for all your daily chores starting from cooking, laundry, cleaning, college, part time work, college assignments, study, and everything to successfully completing all the tasks.
How to overcome
- Ensure to maintain a systematized daily route and do not slump off from completing the day’s tasks.
- Make sticky notes of next-day requirements and paste them in the most viewed place so you do not forget or rush at the last minute.
- Learn to prioritize – lectures are not adjustable as they have their slots fixed for the remaining time, so try to utilize them wisely.
6. New learning pedagogy and structure
In India, where most colleges and schools have been restricted to the standard or primitive method of learning, the new country might need you to push yourself harder. Mostly it is witnessed that the learning experience abroad is not just about classroom lectures but has many other factors like research, live projects, long hours to spend in the library to search for references, on-the-ground projects, internships, and many more.
Irrespective of the requirement to adapt to the different education structure or pedagogy abroad, accounting for the benefits of the facilities provided and future score, 94% of Indian students are willing to plan or study abroad this year (A report by India today)
How to Overcome
- Try implementing self-learning practice from the very first day (better if you start within your bachelor’s degree days itself)
- Do not shy away from seeking advice from friends or lecturers as and when required
- Try to understand what is the expected output, as this would help figure out your investment in it
- Learn to prioritize and not keep things holding on till the last moment as that would create stress and anxiety to wrap it up in some way or other.
7. Self-management of Financials
Though we have the habit of managing or handling pocket money (the amount may vary) since a young age, the difference now is that you not only need to manage your leisure expenses but rather plan your entire monthly budget. Most countries accept part-time work but it is also restricted to the number of hours per week (which cannot be overdone), hence don’t get to think that if I work more, I earn more and I can spend more.
How to overcome
- Plan your budget and allocations at the start of every month or weekly (if you are paid on a week's terms).
- Do not shy away from taking advice from your parents to learn how they have budgeted the household – this will help your planning and allocation.
- Learn where you can get an affordable cost of living rather than choosing expensive areas – as this would ensure a few extra savings.
- Be sure to take advantage of every possible student discount, whether it be in travel passes, entertainment, or anything else - this will also help you save money
8. Finding accommodation might be difficult
It is a known fact that universities have limited slots for hostels, and it is also understandable that the waiting list would be longer due to the limited spaces. Hence you might have to manage a place for yourself. If not appropriately researched, chances of being cheated by fraud or falling prey to misleading accommodation ads are certain.
Indian Express also highlights that post covid (July - September 2022), the inquiry for accommodation in the UK had surged five times than generally witnessed.
The report also highlights that more than 60% of international students take about a semester or even more to find accommodation, while around 24% have it figured at max in a month.
How To Overcome:
- Ensure to only sign up for the property from reliable trustworthy sources
- If having a consultant assist your visa process, check with them for alumni referrals or suggestions
- Be a little early during registration or enrollment so that you have a chance to get an on-campus room
- Prepare well in advance and have your research done as soon as universities open application acceptance
9. Fighting Psychological Instabilities
Though you might have stayed in hostels before or had your fair share of days away from home, the noted fact here is that it's nowhere near to the experience you would have when moving abroad to study, where you are away from home but very far away from your loved ones.
Among all these experiences as a whole, it is common to feel Anxiety, loneliness or being depressed, as everything is new – place, people, and food.
How to overcome
- One of the best ways to keep your mind healthy is by indulging your body to be active and healthy – ensure a healthy lifestyle
- Do not force yourself to blend in, in just one day, things do take time. It's OK to take small steps.
- Try utilizing the benefit of having in-house counselors in universities
- Try making friends. Embrace the new place and don't become introverted.
Safety need not necessarily mean respect for big aspects or uncertainties in a country. This even supports the basic friendliness and welcoming aspects of the residents. While living in a new country you need to be careful with the basic safety measures for yourself to avoid difficulties associated with fraudulent people.
Safety is also with respect to the efforts taken by the foreign country to ensure the well-being of the residents in the country. It is reported that 71% of the Indian students wanting to study abroad made their decision of destination country based on the health care infrastructure (highest priority factor)
How to overcome
- Try learning the local language (at least the basics)
- Do not carry hefty cash when going out
- Avoid going into unfamiliar or scheduled surroundings
- Keep Emergency contacts handy
Studying abroad enriches you with lifetime benefits, at the cost of minute challenges
As we come to the wrap of the major challenges of studying abroad, it is essential to understand that hesitations or difficulty is only temporary. Yet, what is more, important is to keep the larger picture in mind (the value and benefits you get to gain). Studying in India or in your surroundings does bring the comfort of home but outweighs the long-term benefits that could be gained.
Studying abroad brings in a lot of opportunities like better education, job opportunities, more earnings and salary, international exposure, networking, permanent residency, and a lot more. So, weigh the facts wisely and have your decisions made. If you need further guidance, we are always more than happy to help you around the year, ensuring you the brightest future is secured.