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?”
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.
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.
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!
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!