The prospect of flying halfway around the world, leaving your family, friends, and country for some time to study in a foreign land and culture can feel daunting, and adjusting to life in a new country and university is a challenge. Whether it is a masters degree abroad or a college foundation program there are certain skills that will bring you success in these foreign lands. Following are 10 tips for international students.
Have an open mind
Stay open-minded for anything you are not familiar with. Try not to take ‘stereotypes’ seriously and try not to judge others in advance.
If you’re still working on improving your English skills, don’t be hesitant to ask other students – or the person teaching the class – for help with things you haven’t understood so that you don’t miss any important points.
Absorbing information when reading in English can be a challenge. It can be helpful to break each chapter into smaller sections, review what you’ve learned at the end of each section, and jot down a few summary notes before moving on.
Start early and plan ahead
It would be most beneficial to develop a study routine as soon as your course starts and a good way to keep yourself on track is to schedule a realistic amount of time for study and revision each day. This way you’ll be in a strong position when it’s time for exams. It’s always good to be prepared beforehand than to feel burdened later on.
The involvement process starts even before you take your first step towards foreign higher education. Involve yourself with embassies, overseas education consultants and university alumni’s. Get outside your comfort zone. Attend seminars outside your department and say “yes” to new opportunities. Join as many societies as possible, this will help build connections. Get to know your classmates and other people on campus. Take a look at your school’s student associations and join a club or group that shares your interests. Sign up for excursions and get involved in on-campus activities.
Switch on the subtitles
Watching films and television may not seem like the most obvious way to advance your studies, but if your aim is to improve your English, then watching TV with the subtitles switched on can be very helpful. You can read the words as you listen and get a deeper understanding of pronunciation and meaning.
Make time to relax
Studying abroad comes with an increased sense of responsibility – after all you have invested a lot of time, money and effort in your course. Naturally, it can be tempting to spend all of your time studying. It is important to remember that you need to set aside time to unwind, which you could do simply by going out to enjoy a walk alone.
Eat Healthy food on a budget
Eating local can help save money and also help you stay healthy. Burgers and sweets or the go-to college foods (noodles and frozen pizza) might seem easy, but your waistline and your health will take the toll eventually. Before you even leave home, take some time to learn a few basic and healthy dishes.
Become a Local-Transport Expert
It’s tempting to hop into cabs when you’re in a new place but if you can master the train, underground, or bus system, you’ll save yourself a bundle of money and time. Or better yet, start walking, this way you’ll see lots of interesting sights and get good exercise along the way.
Studying abroad – and in a foreign language – can be challenging at times. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed but remember you’re not alone. College staff are there to help, as well as your fellow peers, so don’t be afraid to reach out in times of need.