It is a good and adventurous feeling to experience a new environment and culture. This is why it is exciting when the opportunity to study abroad suffices. Meanwhile, some countries have made it a point of duty to offer a “conducive” learning environment for international students. According to Times Higher Education, the countries with the most international students are; Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia. Getting admission to study abroad in any of these countries is what we would call “GOOD NEWS!” That is not all wrong. It just has its cons.
Here are some of the inevitable challenges you would face as an international student:
You are in an entirely different country with different culture, people, food and maybe even language. No matter what, it will always be different; so fitting in is going to be a challenge, maybe for the first few months. Know that you are not obligated to adopt all their ways of life entirely. There is no crime in doing things your own way. So, if they drink XYZ and you prefer to chew it, then do that but in a polite and civilized way. Your difference makes you unique and with time, you would make you outstanding.
So, you are from an English speaking country and you are going to school in a French-speaking country. Even if the lectures are taken in English, you may have issues understanding your lecturers because they may have an accent. More so, you are not only going to be in class throughout your education. You would need to interact with others. Due to the language barrier, you may not be able to interact conveniently with people on the bus, in the market or the park. People may even take advantage of the fact that you don’t speak their language. You might feel that you don’t belong. But that shouldn’t bother you, okay? I would advise that you take language lessons and know at least the basics of the language. Get the translator app and you’d be fine eventually.
Now, you are in an entirely new area where you barely know your way around. You would have some issues moving around. Expect to miss your stop or maybe even get lost few times. That is totally okay. Though, I would advise you to leverage technology when moving around. Whenever you want to get somewhere:
Okay, I just had to say it. Let us be honest here. If you are not on a full/partial scholarship or you do not have a job or sponsor of some sort, you are going to have serious financial problems. You may not be able to pay tuition fees and these might lead to other mishaps that frankly, are too many to mention here. We would cover that in a subsequent article. So before going ahead to study abroad, weigh your options. You need to draw up a blueprint of how you intend to sustain yourself while you are studying in a foreign country.
Even though this issue has greatly reduced over the years, it is still an issue. Many people do not value differences and as such, they tend to discriminate based on the colour of your skin. Some people will do this openly and others will be less obvious about it. Understand that this is not something that you can control. You are in another man’s land. They may want to bully you or treat you less than who you are but you have to resist. Always be at your best behavour and surround yourself with friends that appreciate who you are; and you’ll be fine.
To wrap it up, as exciting as getting a degree in another country may be, it comes with a few challenges. Do not panic, it is nothing you can’t handle. Your expectations may not always be met but you have to adapt. Get that degree and get it in flying colours!