Challenges and obstacles

Challenges and obstacles when studying abroad

When studying abroad, there are many benefits and things to look forward to such as learning a new language, better learning opportunities and creating social networks around the world. However, there are challenges you will face and it is important to know about them.

Studying abroad is a difficult thing, but in a good way! You need to come out of your comfort zone in order to achieve your goals.

-Fitting in-
Being in a new area, with new people who already have friends and know their way around things can make you feel a bit of an outsider. Wether you are confident or not there will be times you feel like you don’t fit in. It might be a joke that everyone is laughing at and you didn’t get or maybe everyone seems to know what they are going and you feel stuck. Remember that they were all at that stage at some point and now its your turn.

Don’t let this discourage you in any way, it is very unlikely that they are intentionally trying to make you feel uncomfortable. Instead try and find people with similar interests as you and if someone approaches you being friendly and welcoming then take that chance too. Things are a lot easier to go through when you aren’t alone. You can make friends by attending as many events as you can and just being brave! Joining a society or community group will help you bond with a bunch out of the thousands of international students.

-The language barrier-
One of the main differences and difficulties when travelling to a new country is the language that is spoken. Going out in public, you will be lucky if someone understands the language that you speak but that will not always be the case. There will be times when you need directions, it could simply be to find a local supermarket or even being asked questions.

Before travelling abroad, we advise you to learn the basics, which include greetings, manners, directions and knowing how to introduce yourself. This will be really helpful. In addition, you will pick up more words and phrases from others as you go on but independence plays a big part in travelling abroad.

-Money issues and currency difference-

Getting used to the currency difference is another difficult process. It is not too much of a problem if you are staying for a short period of time but it will have a big impact if you are staying for over a semester. Different currencies are worth different amounts. Money in general becomes a problem. Being sent money by your family and friends continuously is not going to cut it. You need to pay for food, transport, stationary, sanitary items etc. That money you started off with is not going to last.

Finding a part time job is very useful. Communication and social skills will be improved, your earnings will pay for essentials and more and when you start a part time job, you will have first hand experience and understanding of the work culture in that particular country. Look for places that are hiring online or perhaps have a stroll through shopping centres. Leaflets, that will contain the answers to your questions, places to visit and details, will definitely be displayed wherever you are staying.