Attending university in your own country is quite usual for young (and not so young) people around the world. But being an international student is an entirely different thing. You don’t speak the language the way the locals speak, and you know almost nothing about the reality of local culture, customs, and communication rules.
However, studying abroad is not only a challenge but also an unforgettable adventure. You meet dozens of new friends who want to hang out with a foreigner, and you also get a chance to build a whole new life in a new country.
In this article, we want to provide all the foreign students with tips and hints on how to succeed in college abroad.
We will list typical problems that international students face and offer a bunch of solutions for each one:
I don’t speak the language well
If you pick some kind of science, engineering, or math-related major, you don’t have to speak the language perfectly. But in order to feel comfortable in a foreign country, you’ll have to improve your speaking skills. Besides, the mistakes that you make in your academic papers negatively affect your grades. So what are the best methods to improve the knowledge of language?
1. Watch movies and read books in a foreign language
Of course, it will be hard to switch at first. But this exercise is extremely effective if you want to expand your vocabulary. Start with the movies and books that are already familiar to you and then try the next level – local TV shows.
2. Find a speaking club
As a rule, foreign volunteers organize free speaking clubs for foreigners who are willing to practice the language. We recommend you to join one or two clubs and visit their meetings regularly.
3. Switch all your gadgets and apps to another language
A modern human being can’t live without gadgets – so, make them allies in the struggle for better knowledge of the foreign language.
4. Find new friends among local students
When we move abroad, the desire to find compatriots and hang out with them is understandable. You feel homesick and lost. Of course, you are free to communicate with whomever you want. But we definitely recommend you to look around and build new connections with locals who will help you to assimilate into a new society.
I can’t keep up with my groupmates
That might be trouble not only for foreigners but for any type of student. A person can’t be perfect at everything, and some disciplines will be way out of your comfort zone. And that’s totally fine!
The most important is not to lose hope and look for alternative solutions. There are some of them:
1. Ask your peers for help
This option is as old as time. Just find the smartest kid in the group and ask for assistance. Clever students are usually glad to share their knowledge with others. But don’t be too clingy and offer something in return.
2. Get assistance from professionals
The internet works miracles! You can find an online tutor to improve your academic skills or hire an assistant at one of the academic writing services like SuperiorPapers. Some people might consider that cheating, but hey – some rules are worth breaking.
3. Form a study group
Two heads are better than one. This golden rule works everywhere. Gather three-four students and offer collaborative studies. This way, you can share information and help each other with difficult assignments.
I feel lonely and homesick
For some people, travels bring nothing but excitement and thrill, while for others, homesickness can be overwhelming. When you move abroad, you leave everything behind: you can’t see your family and friends every day, you can’t visit your favorite cafes and shops, and sometimes, you can’t even hear people speaking your native language.
And there is no magic pill that will cure this loneliness. However, we offer you a few methods to soothe it:
1. Surround yourself with comfort and familiar things
When you move abroad, take a few little things that will remind you of your home. That might be your favorite cup, a small plant, or a family photo. We also recommend you to find a restaurant where you can order some national dishes and feel the taste of your homeland.
2. Find a local diaspora from your country
You’re probably not the only immigrant in the country. You can find your compatriots, and they’ll give you valuable recommendations on how to get used to new conditions and feel more like at home.
I don’t like my major
Have you ever been jealous of people who have always known what they’re going to do when they grow up? It’s such a relief to be confident about your purpose in life even before you become a high school student! But the majority of teenagers aren’t that lucky.
We often pick a major having no real sense of what we want and what we are capable of. People aren’t robots. We aren’t programmed for life: our preferences can change, and we shouldn’t force ourselves to build a career in a field that we hate.
Many colleges and universities provide their students with the opportunity to switch majors even after two or three years of studying. Do your research and find out what your opportunities are. It’s always better to change the path than to go towards the goal that you don’t really care about.
I don’t have enough money
Studying abroad is expensive: if you haven’t got a grant, you’ll have to pay rent and tuition fees. Besides, you need food, clothes, books, and other numerous things for household and studies. You’d be surprised by the number of things that you need when you start living independently.
There are a few ways to save and make some money for a foreign student:
1. Use student discounts wherever you can
Students are a privileged category in terms of discounts. You can get better offers for transportation, applications, food, clothes, and many other things.
2. Try a part-time job
That might seem challenging, but you should at least give this option a chance. You might like being a tutor, a trainee in a big company, or a barista. The list of possible job offers for students is quite long.
3. Participate in various competitions
Different educational organizations frequently host various contests in which the winner can claim some valuable prizes. We’re sure that you are capable of anything.
We hope that this guide has given you some valuable hints and that you’re willing to try some of them now. Just remember one thing: many great people in this world are always ready to lend you a helping hand. Don’t be afraid to ask!