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What Nobody Tells You About Studying Abroad

What Nobody Tells You About Studying Abroad

Studying abroad is a thrilling idea. When you started to tell people about your year abroad, everyone told you that you would have an amazing time. They were right, but they neglected to mention the less than amazing things that happen when you study abroad, too. If you can relate, check out 8 things that no-one told you about studying abroad.

1. The first night panic

The journey to your new home is exciting, and it is great meeting all of your new housemates for the first time. However, once you have unpacked, total panic sets in. You can’t stop thinking “Why did I do this again?”

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Home can feel very far away during the first few nights in an unfamiliar location. If you are feeling scared, consider going out to meet new people. It can feel very scary to start off with, but remind yourself that lots of other students are probably going through the same thing. If you want to meet other students, try visiting your University’s café or library.

2. Being bewildered by new currency

Who knew foreign currency could be so confusing? It took you weeks to get the grip with the exchange rate – you regularly held up long queues while you figured out the currency in your hand. If you are still struggling with the currency, there are lots of apps available that help to make currency conversion more understandable. This will help you to figure out prices no matter where you are.

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3. The difficulties of the language barrier

You thought you were pretty clued-up on the language you would be using, but you regularly find yourself in scenarios where there is a miscommunication. On particularly tough days it can feel like no-one understands you, even though you know they aren’t used to your accent.

If you are frustrated by the language barrier, remember that every miscommunication teaches you something new; after a few months you will feel like a natural. If you want to learn quicker, consider taking a night class or asking your housemates to help you learn colloquial phrases.

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4. Missing the strangest things

You expected to miss your friends and family, but not your make-up remover. Lots of products are not sold abroad, which can leave you missing your favorite snacks or brands. Your new friends showed you alternatives, but they just don’t compare to the brands that you know and love.

Next time you go home, stock up on all of your favorite products that you can’t buy abroad. You can also bulk order products online – no-one should have to go without their essentials!

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5. Random feelings of homesickness

You are now fully settled into your new life; you have started your classes, befriended the people you live with and you even own a blender. Despite this, every so often you find yourself feeling incredibly lonely.

Don’t worry if you feel this way. It can take a long time to fully settle into your new life. Try talking to another international student about your feelings, as it is very likely that they will know what you are going through.

6. Repeatedly answering the same questions

Every time you meet new people, you go through the same motions. Everyone asks the same questions about where you come from, and often they will throw in a few incorrect myths too.

If this is starting to bother you, realize that there are advantages to the conversation. People are genuinely interested in the subject, and you will feel more confident because you know what you are talking about. Take the chance to tell strangers about all of the little-known, awesome things about your country!

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

1. Create a Daily Plan

Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

3. Use a Calendar

Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

4. Use an Organizer

An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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5. Know Your Deadlines

When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

6. Learn to Say “No”

Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

7. Target to Be Early

When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

8. Time Box Your Activities

This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

11. Focus

Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

12. Block out Distractions

What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

13. Track Your Time Spent

When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

15. Prioritize

Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

16. Delegate

If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

For related work, batch them together.

For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

  1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
  2. coaching
  3. workshop development
  4. business development
  5. administrative

I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

19. Cut off When You Need To

The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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