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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

Freelance writer, editor and social media manager.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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