6 Tips for Dealing with the Obstacles of Studying Abroad
When you choose to study abroad you will face obstacles. This is inevitable but if you are prepared to deal with resistance you are far more likely to enjoy the experience of traveling overseas and pursuing your major. Do your due diligence to shorten your learning curve and deal with obstacles in a graceful manner.
Learn the Culture to Better Acclimate Yourself to Your New Surroundings
Taking the time to learn a new culture can make your transition quite easy. Just be prepared to think and act differently than you ever would back home and you will be all set. You might shake with a particular hand, or eat a bite of some food offered to you without hesitating. Or maybe you will need to accept waiting in short lines, without complaining, even though it is just the snail’s pace of the workers which holds everything up.
Laugh Off Otherwise Silly Situations
While traveling in Vietnam I remember a funny thing happening on two separate occasions at the same restaurant. When I showed up, excited to chow down on one of my favorite meals, two women working at the restaurant were asleep. Yep, the chef and waitress were out cold, and it annoyed me on some level although I found it funny too. I wanted to eat, and in my culture, it would be deemed rude and ridiculously unprofessional, but in this culture it was totally normal. So I laughed on each occasion and let it go. Take the same attitude as a traveling student to ease your transition.
Pick the Right School for Your Major
This sounds obvious but many students create academic obstacles for themselves by choosing a school based on aspects other than its reputation, or the availability of your major. You might want to spend a semester in the hills but if you are taking electives only you just added a semester or more to your college education. This is not a vacation; it is a studying experience, a college semester spent in an overseas location. Remember why you are going to school before you purchase your plane tickets.
Learn Some of the Language to Ease Your Transition
This one makes your life so much easier when you travel out of town or at least off university grounds. No need to become fluent in the native tongue but getting basic words or questions, or statements, down can make your life more fun when you study in a foreign land. Learn the basics and you will live a new experience, both on and off campus, as you will be able to connect with people and travel outside English-speaking locales with greater ease.
Expect the Unexpected
OK here is the irony. No matter how much knowledge you accumulate you will never be fully prepared for studying overseas. Accept this fact and you will embrace your experience with greater ease. This is part of living in a new location. Some things need to be learned on the run. Embrace this idea and you will deal with resistance quite effortlessly.
About the Author:
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about all things travel, especially studying abroad; if you are looking to advance your education with distance learning programs, there are a range of programs available, such as the one year mba online and the master of arts in teaching online.