Studying abroad is a life-changing experience that can add value to your career substantially and give you a better quality of life. It brings along some good exposure to the world. Getting an opportunity to study abroad means getting a quality education, learning about a new culture, meeting new people, and, most importantly, becoming independent, which will build the foundation of your career. Also, enrolling in a prestigious institute and gaining an international degree can help you excel in your career.
In other words, the benefits of going to foreign universities for higher studies are endless. But unfortunately, some challenges like living away from family, doing your tasks alone, being exposed to an unknown environment, etc., trigger fear in any student abroad. So, if you are wondering whether you should opt for an abroad course or have applied to an international university yet are overwhelmed about overcoming the fear of studying abroad, then keep reading. Here we will share some effective ways to overcome your study abroad fears.
The Feeling of Alienation and Loneliness
Feeling alienated or lonely is the biggest fear of a student living abroad. But it is also most likely because you are going to a completely new place and living with people you are unfamiliar with and have a huge sociocultural difference. Every student attending a course abroad initially faces loneliness and a sense of alienation from others. But there is nothing to be overwhelmed about as you can use this opportunity to grow your communication skills, learn about yourself, become independent, and nurture your soul.
Ways to Overcome the Feeling of Alienation
- Try attending a cultural event, university socials, and other activities to meet new people.
- Explore the area you live and join clubs and other social groups.
- Encourage extracurricular activities like yoga, art class, or something else to stay occupied and meet new people.
- Use social media to meet students with similar backgrounds.
- Find a part-time job to stay occupied.
- Brush your creativity and do things you love, like crafting, painting, creative writing, etc.
Another major fear that can give you a tough time is homesickness. Getting away from home can make you homesick, especially if it is the first time you are staying away from your family or home. It is natural to miss your family, friends, and hometown where you grow up. But there is nothing to feel guilty about regarding your decision to leave everything behind. It would help if you remember that is going to be a huge opportunity and is your long-awaited dream. So, instead of being negative about your decision, try to enjoy the journey and seize every opportunity you come across during your stay.
Ways to Overcome Homesickness
- Try to talk to your family and friends whenever you can.
- Try to be creative and send your family and friends thoughtful gratitude letters instead of depending on video chats.
- Try to spend quality time with yourself and do things that can bring you back to your home mentally (but of course, in a positive manner and not to make it heavy for you).
- Try to utilize your time and indulge in fun activities like museums, cultural events, and occasions.
- Make food you love to have back at home.
- Make plans in advance and visit your family whenever you can.
- Distract yourself; distracting can be great at times to overcome your homesickness. You can read a new book and watch your favorite show when you miss your home or friends.
Language barrier and communication gap is also great fear that can give any student abroad nightmare. Visiting a foreign country can bring a language barrier, and you can face a lot of trouble communicating with the natives. Going to a foreign land can be thrilling, but you must understand the local language to live and communicate properly. You can have a lot of doubts and curiosities, but you need to learn the local language to communicate and connect with people fully. So, even if your course curriculum is in English, you must try to learn the language.
Ways to Overcome the Language Barrier
- Learn the local language and take a language course in advance.
- Even if you have yet to learn the language before you visit the country, you can start learning during your stay.
- Never feel embarrassed or shy about speaking in the language. As the language is new, making small mistakes is not a big deal.
- Try to practice speaking the language whenever you can, like during shopping, greeting your neighbors, talking to friends, etc.
- Another great way to polish your language is to watch shows and movies in that language.
- Learning a new language is a great accomplishment, and you try to use correct facial expiration and gestures to meet the goal.
Cultural shock is also common fear in a student abroad. Going to a foreign land can bring a cultural shock.
Every country has a different culture and different communication styles. And when you visit a foreign land, you will witness a completely new culture than yours. It can cause cultural shock.
Ways to Overcome Cultural Shock
- Try to learn as much as possible about the country and culture you will visit; it will help you prepare.
- Ask your university adviser to help you understand the cultural differences and ways to cope.
- The best way to cope with culture shock is to be flexible and open-minded. It will help you adapt positively to different cultures.
- You can join a voluntary work which will help you mix with the local culture and learn new things about it.
Financial crunch or shortage can be a fear factor for a student abroad. When you go abroad for your higher studies, you need to have good savings or funds to maintain all the upcoming expenses you must face during and for your study. Thus, it is natural to worry about your finances, but you can overcome it if you take the proper steps.
Ways to Overcome a Financial Crunch
- You can apply for community-based or governmental scholarships to fund your study abroad.
- You can also apply for part-time or in-campus work to get additional financial support.
- You can also apply for college hostels and find ways to save on your food and living expenses.
- You can get an international debit card which will help you avoid extra charges in making payments in a foreign currency and make your transactions hassle-free.
Fear of Safety and Health
It is not something unnatural to fear for your safety and health, especially when you decide to live in an unknown country. There can be a lot of reasons, from internal and external political tension to the climate and environment of the country. But instead of procrastinating, doing good research and taking safety measures will help you to overcome the fear.
Ways to Overcome the Fear of Safety and Health
- Always buy international health insurance to cover loss or damage during your stay abroad.
- If you have any illness or ailment, carry medicines with you.
- Save emergency contacts like ambulances, police, fire, etc.
- Follow local authority protocols about any recent incident or climate issues and take the safety measures they suggest.
- Try to know safe shortcuts to return to your place in cases of emergency.
- Try to carry cash and be aware of theft or pickpocketing.
Fear of Missing Out
Fear of missing out or FOMO is a common fear among students abroad. It can occur as you live far away from your friends and family. You can constantly fear missing the most interesting and joyful events because you are absent from the events happening in your home or country. But that is different; if you shift the focus, you will understand there are many interesting things around you to explore and enjoy.
Ways to Overcome a Fear of Missing Out
- Try to see the positive side of the situation and take it as a golden opportunity to create a lifetime experience.
- Learn new things that you cannot learn back in your home.
- Explore new places around you and cherish every moment as if it will never come again.
- Make new friends and learn new things about their culture and perspectives.
Amidst all these fears, there may also be a fear of running out of cash in a foreign land. Well that you can avoid easily. You must choose a Global card, that allows as many ATM money withdrawals as many you need hassle-free. Such international travel cards for students charge no conversion fee. Moreover, they help you lock the conversion rate, making it feasible for students to manage their expenses there, without succumbing to sudden fluctuations in currency difference.
Studying in a foreign country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you can learn many new things that will help shape your thinking and perception and become independent and mature. But staying away from home and facing a completely new world can create fear in a student abroad. So, you must prepare and learn different ways to overcome every challenge. Here we have shared some easy and useful ways to overcome your fears of studying abroad.
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