Adjusting To A Life As A Foreign Student
Being a foreign student by far is not an unusual circumstance. The USA hosts around a million international students in their degree programs annually, while the UK registers a little less than 500,000.
Colleges and universities in these two countries have become international schools where students from China, Nigeria, and the Philippines, among others, come to complete their degree programs.
Other countries in Europe, like France, the Netherlands, and Germany, are also popular destinations for studying abroad.
The prospect of studying in a foreign land is indeed exciting and be highly rewarding. But it doesn’t come without challenges and difficulties. International students might find it hard to adjust.
Foreign Student Profiles
For a country that’s deemed politically closed and with the state controlling most policies, from the use of the internet to the overall economy, China accounts for the highest number of international students in America, with nearly 370,000 taking their spots at various universities.
India, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia round up the top five. The UK shares with the USA, China, and India as part of the top five while adding Hong Kong and Malaysia to the list.
Adjusting to Student Life Abroad
Dealing with the host country’s distinctive ways could be shocking and affect your performance socially and in the classroom. Here are a few things to note when studying in a foreign land:
- Openness. You need to have an open mind. To do this, you might need to set aside your belief system as the basis for judging what is good or what is bad or what is normal or what is not. The key is understanding the ways of your host country. Let locals explain their ideas and gain an understanding of their perspective.
- Turn a shared struggle to a positive collective experience. You won’t be the only foreigner adjusting. You share that shared experience with other students from around the world. Seek them out and make friends with them. Understand their way of coping, and maybe it is something that you can adapt. Universities typically organize freshmen week, where they give a chance for all students to socialize. Join as many of these events as possible.
- Reminders from home. Homesickness can hit you. Now and then, you need to recharge your batteries with something that reminds you of home-a restaurant or a bar. Go there. It’s much easier today to see and hear live over the internet the faces and voices of your loved one. Make those occasional video calls.
- Prepare to be bolder and speak out. People from other cultures are stereotyped as shy. You will find yourself in the mix with American, British, and other western students who have no problems speaking their mind and being aggressive about it in the classroom. Try shedding off a bit of that shyness when in class and talk as much as you can. Don’t be shy to ask questions or ask the professor to explain a topic if the language is a barrier. It’s a different environment than you’re are typically used to. You have to adapt.
Universities also have counselors
or advisors that help students adjust or monitor their situation on campus. Seek their advice whenever you need to. As an international student, you need all the help you can get. Understanding these key ideas will help you adjust.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, UnSplash and Pexels.
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