Studying Abroad? Here are the few things you should know Part 1
By Evie Harrison
Studying abroad was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. Albeit I was surrounded by an unearthly combination of fear and excitement when I first got my acceptance letter; I'm glad I didn't let my fear ride over me and decided to spend the next four years calling Greece my home.
Now, when I look back I instantly recall all the wonderful life changing experiences I had, however, the truth still remains that my time there wasn't without an array of challenges both welcome and unwelcome and there is so much that I wish I knew beforehand.
So, for all you daring dreamers who've ventured to a new country to unveil the real you; here are a few things you should know about studying abroad:
1. Equip yourself financially:
As you start adjusting to your new home, you must keep track of your weekly and daily expenses such as meals, everyday essentials, cost of commute, laundry and shopping. As you estimate the expenses you incur on a regular basis, be sure to use cost-effective alternatives such as taking bus or train routes instead of using taxis, and utilizing bedding options available near your university. Additionally, keep some money aside for a cell phone (in case you need one), night outs as well as an emergency fund for urgent monetary needs.
There are plenty of online resources available to help you gauge how much the weekend nights out and travelling will cost you, so make sure to go through them rigorously. This is important as you will be presented with plentiful travel options once you reach and therefore a prior understanding will help you utilize your travel allowance in a smart and efficient manner. The last thing you want is to spend months in a new place without exploring new sights.
2. Adjust to your new home:
An ideal way to adjust to your new home and make the lifestyle transition all the more easier is to read-up as much as you can about the location, including online blogs, local history, cuisine, culture, travel books, etc. Get out and take a walk around the block, observe the culture, mannerism and indulge in some sightseeing.
Doing so will not only give you a detailed understanding of the local culture but will also give you a clear idea about the activities, groups and adventures you’d like to take part in.
Also, don't take the need for learning the local language lightly as it will go a long way in enabling you to enjoy your stay. At the very least try to learn to construct basic sentences so that you are able to get along on your own there.
Moreover, take a close look into the societies and clubs available in your university to identify the ones that you would like to join. By doing so you will be able to indulge yourself in constructive and enjoyable activities immediately after you’ve started school.
This will help you develop acquaintances, understand the local environment and university culture and will also provide you with extra/ co-curricular activities to showcase on your portfolio. This is an added advantage as such activities are highly appreciated by universities as well as employers.
In addition to this, you'll be bombarded with an array of unfamiliar dishes to try, however, since you’re not just on a short visit it is important to identify foods that you will not only savor but will offer good nutritional value.
You can do so by visiting a speciality restaurant in your city to test the local cuisine and identify dishes that can serve as your safety net while abroad.
3. Find out about their teaching style:
Learning styles vary significantly across countries so find out how other foreign students have adjusted to this new teaching style in your school. My personal advice is to talk to the international advisor at your new school and ask them about recommendations on adjusting to this new format.
These advisors have ample experience in counseling foreign students. Their advice will help you tremendously in adjusting to the new environment.
However, I should tell you that it is natural for grades of foreign students to dwindle as they try to adapt to a new format. So don't take it to heart if you too feel like a fish out of water in your initial days, just keep your student advisor in the loop and they'll guide you on how catch up with things quickly.
Also, there are measures that you can take to ensure that your grades don't suffer much, such as opting for courses that you find easy so that you give yourself room to adjust. Moreover, you can also find out about your courses in advance and prepare for them before you leave your hometown.
Continued in Part 2
ABOUT Evie Harrison
Evie harrison is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs.
Find her on Twitter:@iamevieharrison
Bogi is a great guide. She was everything you could want in a guide plus more. She was fun, cool, and the best part- knowledgeable. She really made the trip great. We got to the hostel late and she was able to rearrange our schedule so everyone could go caving. After caving we were picked up by Bogi (thank goodness because figuring out Hungarian public transportation is really hard if you don't speak Hungarian). WSA made sure to include super cool things- caving, thermal baths, bus tickets, escape games and the hostel. I would definitely do this trip again. Bogi was fun and flexible, we didn't have to stick to a tight schedule and we were able to do things that we wanted to do like the Liberty Statue. She is great, WSA is lucky to have her.Cheyenne Hodur, Drake University ~ AIFS Richmond, Spring 2015
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