Studying abroad is still a dream for many and the ones who have accomplished this are still plagued with many challenges, and problems surviving in foreign conditions.
Various thoughts intersect a student’s mind when they start upon their journey to a place which culturally, linguistically, and socially alien to him or her.
Some of the questions which one must consider while studying abroad are:
- What are the best universities to study abroad?
- Why study abroad?
- What are the difficulties faced by students studying abroad?
- How to overcome these challenges turning them into opportunities?
Thus, in this article, we are going to understand in detail what are the top challenges faced by a student if he or she wants to study in some foreign universities and how can these be tackled.
Problems In Studying Abroad & Ways To Tackle Them
1. Feeling Homesick
Longing for home is something which students abroad suffer the most from. We miss those beautiful moments spent with our family.
Apart from just the emotional comforts, the lack of physical and mental comfort as well will start taking a toll on you as you will miss your favorite bed or couch which you had with you back home.
The incommodious environment in your new lodging will increase your desire to return home.
You will ultimately realize the importance of strong moral support and backing up which your family gave you and this will make more and more yearning for your home.
How To Tackle?
Inculcating the “get to work” attitude in order to keep yourself motivated will help you to get rid of homesickness.
Gaining new skills in the spare, being physically involved in various activities, keeping your schedule busy all the time are some potential remedies that will help you tackle the problem of homesickness.
2. Cultural Difference
Well, cultural heritage is something that gives a country its unique identity, and staying in a country where you are not culturally compatible with the peers could make you feel even more aloof from your peers.
Studying in a foreign country would require you to delve deeper into their culture which remains a huge obstacle.
Thus many students find themselves cut apart from peers which gives rise to an inferiority complex in them.
Again cultural differences lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. For example, different countries have their own unique ways of handshakes and greetings.
Some gestures have a particular significance in one country compared to others.
This will often land you in difficult and embarrassing situations.
Ways to Overcome:
Initially, cultural misunderstandings would let you down causing public embarrassment.
However, with constant socializing with your peers, you will get accustomed to these alien norms.
Thus, instead of shying away from your foreign peers because of these cultural differences, try to interact with them to understand their culture enthusiastically.
3. Financial Management
Monetary boundaries and constraints have a huge adverse impact on the students who are studying overseas, especially the ones who are not yet financially independent.
Catering to huge expenses while setting their son or daughter off to foreign countries for studies renders a family financially unstable for a time.
This gets coupled with daily and weekly expenses that the student has to bear and the already existing financial instability could not allow huge spending on these weekly financial requirements for the student.
Thus, students have to be responsible for monitoring their own expenses and optimizing it to ensure that all the mundane requirements such as-
House rents, food, clothing, college fees, textbook rents, etc are fulfilled.
However, inflated prices abroad and fluctuating Forex rates will further add insult to the injury.
Potential Solution to the problem:
Try to be financially independent. There are various measures to gain financial independence.
These include part-timers, freelance, entrepreneurial activities such as setting up a small business to scale constant revenue.
You must look within yourself to identify your skills and weaknesses.
Based on your skills, you will find potential opportunities to earn which will help you mitigate your financial concerns.
4. Food Variation
Just like cultural heritage, every country has a special taste for food.
For some, trying different flavors in a foreign would be exciting but for others, it could be a nightmare, especially the ones who are not metabolically and physically adapted to change in food patterns and meals.
The vegetarians specifically will have a hard time finding meals for them.
How to overcome?
Even in a foreign country, you can find out plenty of options for food and meal. Make sure you are eating healthy and wholesome meals daily to ensure physical fitness.
Little adjustments to taste preference have to be made if you tackle this issue.
5. Time Difference Between Countries
Desynchronosis, flight fatigue, or the jet lag effect is a disorder caused on a temporary basis while traveling across different time zones.
It affects sleep cycles and causes immense fatigue during normal work hours.
The time difference can be annoying when you have to schedule important calls back to your home country and meeting their time requirements as well.
How To Address This Problem?
Time schedules must be adjusted as per the time differences; you must stick various time zones in your memory and make it a habit.
Various information regarding time zones could be stored in your devices as well.
The jet lag effect could be addressed with constant medication and focus.
6. Linguistic Barriers
In most cases, being well-versed with English would not necessarily help as the natives in a foreign country might not be comfortable with the English Language.
In such cases, communication becomes extremely difficult and annoying.
Now, while studying abroad not just the language but also the varying dialect of the locals in the foreign country becomes a barrier.
This might your academic performance as you won’t be able to communicate with your peers or your college professors with fluency.
Solution To This Barrier:
As we all know, nothing is unaccomplished provided constant perseverance and effort have been deployed.
Thus, with constant practice and determination conquering this barrier of learning a foreign language can be tackled.
You must practice speaking the foreign language with your peers as many times as possible to achieve.
Also, frequent interaction with locals and strangers can further help you address this issue.
7. Distraction Caused By The Desire For Touring
As a student who is studying abroad, your prime aim should be to uphold your academic intent and to focus on your goal.
However, the famous tourist locations, malls, restaurants, and various exciting places to visit in a foreign country would eventually steal away your focus from your academic targets.
How To Tackle This Issue?
The fact that our prime aim while studying abroad is actually to “study”.
Keep your schedule tight but do take your time to cater to your traveling desires occasionally.
This way, you can maintain a perfect balance between your career goals and your destination goals .
8. Socially Alienation
As we already discussed how getting along with peers can be difficult for you while you are studying in a foreign country because of cultural and linguistic barriers.
However, even if you are doing your best to make yourself compatible with local languages, customs, and traditions, you might be socially ignored because of your ethnic roots.
People might judge you because of your nationality and might even be disdainful about it.
This might lead to social isolation which can have a serious mental impact on you.
How To Overcome?
In such cases, you must remember that your personality, ethnic background, and your lifestyle define you as a unique identity.
To help yourself with social isolation, consider looking for local support groups or communities belonging from your cultural or national background.
9. Challenging Weather
The weather conditions abroad might be hostile enough for you to crumble down with sickness which is already intensified due to flight sickness.
Frequent sicknesses can cause you to miss important classes and deadlines.
This will certainly harm your academic performance and cause a serious lag in preparation for your career.
How To Conquer This Problem?
We must do thorough background research of the nation which we are going to visit for our fulfilling our future academic goals.
Accordingly, we can arrange our preparations to fight off adverse climatic situations.
To keep ourselves healthy and resistant to challenging weather, daily exercise, and involvement in any other physical activities are recommended.
Every big opportunity comes with serious challenges and threats associated with it.
Studying abroad is a voyage that takes a lot of perseverance, diligence, and self-determination to embark upon it.
Major challenges and obstacles will give rise to further opportunities to succeed only if one is able to identify them.
Thus, we must see these challenges as opportunities to grow and groom ourselves further to be more competent beings.