All foreign students are on the verge of exploring a wonderful adventure. Studying abroad may come with many amazing benefits, but there will be an unexpected course of events also. While they may seem thrilling, they will also provide a formidable school of life. Foreign students will learn faster than their peers how to adapt to a new country, which is basically an exercise for adulthood. So, let’s see what you should mentally prepare for when you entrust another country with your education.
1. Lack of Academic Support
There is a phenomenon that affects all universities around the globe. Despite students being accustomed to having a closer bond with their teachers during high school, higher education institutions are making it more about studying and less about connection. And that’s normal, given the circumstances. Professors no longer have tens of students, but hundreds every year. This makes it difficult for them to pay attention to each one of their pupils. Instead, they are promoting a self-educated culture that will facilitate a better transition to adulthood.
However, the lack of academic support can have a higher impact on foreign students than local ones. They are in a new cultural environment, so they need a different kind of attention.
This is why it is important for them to gather as much information as they can before moving abroad. Fortunately, the age of cyberspace gave way to many online resources for students. Through these portals and platforms, they can access course materials and stay updated to their assignments. Foreign students can also find out how professors structure their courses. This way, they can be prepared for an academic medium that functions more on public speaking than noting the teacher’s monolog.
2. Environment Changes
The environment is a key factor that influences our way of living and, ultimately, the entire culture of a nation. Hot climate often leads to a relaxed lifestyle. You can enjoy outdoor activities more and connect with nature more thoroughly. Swimming and other water activities are common in warm countries. You can surf, row or swim in what seems to be an eternal summer.
Cold climates have their own qualities that make them precious for some. Due to being chilly all the time, your brain is always active and runs at high capacity. This is why fans of cold countries believe they are more productive and thoughtful than others. The harsh conditions pushed them beyond their limits. This is how they ended up turning a hostile environment into an enjoyable habitat. Here, people have many ways to connect with nature as well. Winter sports like skiing or snowboarding are offering enough adrenaline to make people love them to bits.
So, both types of environments come with their own set of advantages but also challenges. Once you choose to become a foreign student, you need to prepare yourself for a different kind of climate. This doesn’t imply only a change of wardrobe, but also a grasp of local traditions and culture. The good news is that we are adaptable beings. You need the right mindset to conquer the culture clash.
3. Learning the Local Language
While every modern country in the world seems to have adopted English as a universal language, it is still preferable to start learning the native tongue. The advantages of this kind of effort are gigantic.
First of all, you will need basic language notions to get you through everyday tasks. This includes grocery shopping, asking for directions, or understanding warnings and notifications you can find throughout a city. The chances are that the local TV channels will only offer content in their own language. The inability to understand someone is one of the most frustrating feeling we can have. You can hear the words, but you can’t make any sense of them.
On the other hand, learning the native tongue of the country will help you make new friends faster. While your generation is likely to master English, there are some countries where national pride is flourishing. This means that youngsters could look up to any foreign person who is learning their language.
Moreover, unwritten rules require you to adapt to the new environment, not expect it to happen the other way around. You should be the one willing to embrace a new culture because you decided to move to a different country, and this decision comes with the obligation to adapt to it.
The good news is that one of the best ways to learn a foreign language is to be among native speakers. Listening, reading, and speaking new words on a daily basis will force you out of your comfort zone. One of the best tricks to master a new language is to find a partner. This is how you will make quicker improvements than students who learn foreign languages through school books.
So, the takeaway of these cultural challenges is that foreign students should not let the unexpected take them by surprise. They can spend that last period of time in their hometown researching and learning all they can about their future University and country. It is better to come prepared than letting the natural cultural shock run its course freely.
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By MARC MENDELMAN