Sitting in the airport, waiting for the airplane boarding call, holding on to the passport, and carefully watching the suitcases. A new journey is about to begin. What could one year abroad change in the life of international students and can they ever be ready for what’s coming next?
Throughout childhood and early adult years, we’re conditioned to think we need to be “ready” to take the next big step in life, and whether it’s one year abroad or more, no one can ever be ready, so it’s better to stop waiting and just go for it. So dear international students, for what it’s worth, things are going to be just fine with all the highs and the lows, but to make things slightly easier, here are some tips to survive one year abroad.
No matter the country, if it’s the first time travelling for such a long period of time, it’s a golden rule to have a certain amount of cash as backup. While the majority of the cities have ATM machines at every step, cash is the best safety net for the first couple of days before opening a local bank account. Likely to have quite a few start-up costs in your first days abroad, including food, a SIM card or other incidentals, it might be best to exchange about a week’s worth of money.
Considering the fact that the accomodation was already handled prior to travelling, the next step is to unpack and settle in little by little by making the new house more of a home, it will help feel more comfortable. Living out of a suitcase will add to the stress of having to deal with big changes and it’s amazing what something as simple as unpacking can do to make first time international students feel more at home. It’s not just about organizing but maybe putting up a couple pictures and pieces from home.
Exploring campus and being social
After resting and texting the family and friends back home it’s time to explore the little pleasures and enjoy the perks of studying abroad. A first step that will help becoming more familiar is visiting the campus, mixing and mingling with other students from the same program or others joining the campus. The activities can range from attending welcoming events, orientation week, or outings organized by the campus. And for anyone who wants to discover the city in a way that is outside of the box, there are plenty of websites on the internet and mobile apps that will make both transportation and feeling like a local much easier.
Walking with confidence
An important tip that helps surviving the first period of living abroad is to walk confidently and never looking lost. Yes, there’s no doubt that exploring like a tourist is fun and adventurous, but looking like one is not a good idea as it sometimes grabs unwanted attention. Even when lost, it’s important to look straight shoulders open, with eyes that are exploring the surroundings not out of fear but out of curiosity.
Learning the language
This is a big bonus point. Learning the basics of the local language will make life easier, destinations more accessible, and the experience much more authentic and enjoyable. It can be as basic as the directions, conversation starters, colors, commonly asked questions, and grocery items. Locals mostly love to hear their language and will probably help out anyone who wants to get better at it.
One year abroad or?
Being open to extending the stay can be scary but very normal. Considering new options in the future is very healthy and gives plently of room for personal growth. Experiencing a new culture will help a person take an inward journey. The various difficulties encountered abroad will also help equip international students with skill sets that will make them better individuals as well as better professionals.
Interested in studying abroad? Check out EMLV business school’s 1 year programmes for international students.