Leaving home can be difficult, especially if you are in a new country for the first time, the biggest problem you may face is how to adjust to the new country.
If you are preparing to study in another country, it is essential to clean up your languages and learn more about the culture you are going to enter. There are also many practical skills that you need to know before you leave.
The life of an international student is certainly a big learning curve. However, it is also a unique experience that will determine your future. Below are some tips that will help you get the most out of your stay abroad.
1. Get Organized Before Leaving
Leaving paperwork until the last minute is equivalent to a big headache! Before you go, check with your research supervisor, professors, or former students studying abroad to see what is required of you during the preparatory phase.
Other important things to consider are health insurance, budget planning, family living arrangements, weather, and airport pickup.
2. Set Goals For Yourself
Whether you want to learn a language, immerse yourself in a new profession, or work for a degree you dream of, do not take the “study” from “study abroad.”
That does not mean that you can’t have fun abroad. There will inevitably be plenty of fun. However, remember that your program is primarily a chance to gain essential skills that will serve you in your future career.
3. Plan Your Budget
Living away from home, you’ll be responsible for your finances. Moving costs a lot more than you’d think.
So before you choose a moving company, make sure you do your research and look at international moving company reviews.
It’s important to know your budget before you start your travels to avoid huge debts. In addition to financing your course and paying for your student visa, you will also need to consider your living expenses.
Here are a few expenses you can expect:
- Cost of living
- Transport/travel tickets
- Food and toiletries
- Textbooks and Accessories
- Health and medicine
Remember that students from EU countries can receive free NHS treatment in Northern Europe with the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). However, students from non-EU countries may have to take out private health insurance.
4. Research Your Accommodation
Finding the right accommodation is very important when you study abroad. Moving away from home may mean not having your usual comforts. Therefore, make sure that your apartment, shared house, or student lounges are suitable for your needs.
By staying on campus, you will be able to access the student community and get to your lecture venue quickly. However, other options may be more relaxing or in an area that is more suitable for your lifestyle.
Also, consider whether you want to live in a mixed or single-sex room, with partial or self-catering meals, or with a separate or shared bathroom.
5. Make a note of The Student Support Services
A student support committee is established in most universities. Usually, it is a team of people who are willing to help in everything from administrative support, guidance counseling to support students with disabilities, and mental health.
If you have difficulty learning or living, or if you face stress away from home, talk to someone who can help you.
Go to your university’s website for information. And don’t forget that you can ask your tutors for help when you are a freshman. They can provide you with contact numbers or email addresses for a range of support services.
6. Learn The Language
Language is mandatory. It is also essential to learn the local language while studying in Northern Europe. Learning a language improves not only communication but also your quality of learning.
That is the key to your success. It will help you to achieve your learning as well as your social goals.
When you study abroad, you will have the opportunity to learn and then practice the language of the country. Language courses can be beneficial, but the fastest way to learn is to communicate with others.
7. Create A Social Circle And Expand It
If you want to make friends with like-minded people, join as many groups or societies as possible. You’ll have many opportunities to interact with students in your course, but clubs are the best way to expand your social circle.
When living away from home for the first time, it is crucial to building a support network. Your family cannot advise you, so making meaningful connections with others is key to success.
Don’t be shy. Most people are in the same position as you when they join a new club!
After class, don’t just run straight to other students studying abroad, but also try to make friends with the locals. Having at least one friend will open the door to you, which will not only give you a better understanding of the culture around you but also lead to invitations to special events, sports games, and cultural festivals.
8. Immerse In The Local Culture
In addition to learning the local languages, successful students studying abroad absorb all they can think about their future culture before boarding the plane.
Find books, movies, food, and music that will inspire you. Explore outstanding writers, singers, athletes, or actors from this culture, as well as follow a few current events.
In this way, you will already feel that you have a connection to your new home and are well versed in several topics of conversation.
9. Keep Your Mind Open And Learn Things
This advice is often given, and for a good reason. It is necessary! Do not come to your new country with a head full of stereotypes.
Instead, be open-minded, relax, and breathe in the culture. You will probably see that many of your ideas about life abroad were wrong. Resist the urge to say, “Well, in my country, we do things differently.”
Whenever you don’t know how to behave in a new situation, look around. The locals are your best examples! When you come for the first time, it is worth asking your host family or teachers about their cultural customs and unspoken rules, and make sure you continue to do so throughout your stay.
10. Deal With (Possible) Homesickness
Hiding or ignoring these feelings will only make them worse. Instead, avoid the onset of homesickness by maintaining regular contact with family and friends. Call, write, chat, blog, and share what’s new in your world.
However, don’t forget about your new friends and new surroundings. There’s so much to discover, and regular activity is an excellent way to deal with your homesickness.
Missing the comfort of home will not usually last forever, and ever, you may even start to feel “homesick” for the country you’ve now accepted!
11. Watch Your Pockets
Resist the original desire to inflate your budget for luxurious decorations, food, and traditional crafts.
Remember that you’ll be in your new home for a few months and your money should last. To keep your budget reasonable, use this time to learn how locals eat and shop.
Don’t pay any more for services and transportation. Make sure you ask teachers or host families what the local prices are. If possible under your visa conditions – find a part-time job to increase your income, but your language skills will also quadruple!
Last But Not Least!
Do not lose sight of why you are abroad in the first place. There will be times when your workload will be high; you will be homesick or do not want to learn at all.
However, put your head down and dive right into the water! Even though it seems to be a cliché, this experience abroad is a truly unique opportunity, and if you take advantage of it, you will enjoy its benefits for years to come.