International students are oftentimes riddled with equal parts excitement and worry. As someone who’s about to embark on the journey of a lifetime, you’re no doubt expected to face problems and challenges overseas.
Any sudden change in lifestyle will always result in a significant transitionary period. You simply cannot upend your way of life and expect to become accustomed to it overnight.
However, you can effectively work to prepare yourself for these inevitable challenges overseas. By knowing what lies ahead, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge necessary to begin overcoming these problems right away!
International College Student Problems and Solutions
This a thoroughly compiled list of some of the most commonplace problems that you, as an international student, will encounter. Again, you must be able to anticipate the challenges of studying abroad to effectively deal with them before they persist too long.
Acknowledging these ahead of time will help you to face problems head-on before they even happen.
1. Dealing With the Language Barrier
Unless you’ve chosen to study in a place where you already have a grasp of the local language, you’re going to need to brace yourself for dealing with a language barrier.
Naturally, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Presumably, you’ve chosen this country to catalyze learning a new language anyway. And that’s all fine and good over time, but it doesn’t lend much help in the interim.
You need to pick some of the basics NOW — before you even step foot in your country of choice. To do that, you’ll have to focus on learning languages (at least casually) before you leave for your trip. This way you’ll have enough of an understanding of the language to somewhat get by in day-to-day life and, ultimately, begin overcoming the language barrier.
2. Getting Used to New Surroundings
Getting used to a brand new city is nothing to scoff at. It takes some diligent effort on your part to face the problems of properly orienting yourself in a completely new environment.
But the power of the internet has largely helped to do away with the concerns of getting lost in a new city. Google Maps does a great job of proving you with accurate information regarding directions, transit, as well as gauging time and distance.
Some cities (like Tokyo, for instance) have relatively poor Google Maps integration. But even in the case of places like that, there are usually other equally effective resources for maps and directions.
In either case, just be sure to do your research and find all the necessary resources to keep you on track in whichever city you plan on staying in.
3. Running Out of Money
One of the biggest challenges overseas is making sure that you don’t run out of money. Money is, by far, your greatest asset and you’ll need it for practically everything you do.
So, how do you prevent yourself from running out? By saving as much as you can before you leave.
You’ve more than likely considered this problem. With any luck, you’ve already devised a budget to live off and maybe even have plans for ways to earn money while there. These are both extremely commendable steps, but they don’t take into account that life has a way of taking you by surprise.
You need to include some kind of contingency plan for the unlikely, but possible, scenario that you run out of money. One way to do this is to set aside a substantial amount of money that you won’t have access to unless you absolutely need it.
Perhaps, you can entrust your parents or other loved ones with this sum of money in case it ever comes to a point where you’ll need access to it.
The second way to prevent running out of money is to plan ahead! There are many scholarships around the world that are available for international students. We highly recommend that you look for information about these scholarships and apply! Getting a substantial scholarships will help you not face this problem. If you are interested, check out Open Scholarships for International Students!
4. Getting Used to a Brand New Currency
In the interest of continuing the subject of money for a little bit longer, it might be important to discuss currencies and exchanges.
Every country will have its unique currency, and unless their economy is similar to the one you’ve grown accustomed to, it’s quite likely that you’ll see prices and sums that you’re not used to at all!
This becomes a serious problem when you’re so unaccustomed to the new prices that you can’t even gauge value properly. Allowing this to happen means that your finances are bound for disaster.
Make sure to avoid this by completely acclimating to the currency of the land. You need to have a precise way of correlating one sum of money to another. For instance, if you’re used to USD, you should use $1 as a point of reference to begin gauging how much the new currency is worth compared to the other.
You can round things out by using 5-dollar increments, but then your calculations won’t be as accurate and you’ll begin to lose a sense of how much you’re spending. It’s better to save that strategy for larger purchases.
5. Staying Committed to Academics
One of the most prominent challenges of studying abroad is ensuring that you stay committed to the thing you are purportedly there.
Sure, the argument can be made that the whole experience is what brought you there. Nonetheless, you are spending an awful lot of money on the academic component of this voyage, so don’t let it slip away and go to waste.
Naturally, you should do everything in your power to soak up as many new and exciting experiences as you can — that’s a large part of why you came. But don’t let that temptation completely overshadow an otherwise great opportunity to learn something new.
As an international student, you must face the problems of having unbridled freedom and temptation. Remember, all things in moderation!
Hopefully, this article has helped to illuminate some of the various challenges of studying abroad. The first step towards facing and, ultimately, overcoming any obstacle is to become aware of it. Once you know what challenges lie ahead, you can plan accordingly and be sure to avoid any of the common issues that befall international students.
If you are interested in studying abroad, we recommend checking out Global Scholarships Page to view different countries where you can study abroad.