Written by ESC Admin on 03 Sep 2019 Posted in Blog
When choosing where to study overseas, there are so many places to choose from that can often be an overwhelming decision. It may be best if you first narrow down the sort of place you're most interested in, and then decide. With so many kinds of foreign study programs and destinations at your disposal, it can be hard to decide where to begin.
This is probably the most obvious of the challenges of studying abroad. Overcoming a language barrier may mean you're struggling to learn a new language pretty much from scratch, or it could just be that you thought you were fluent, but find you're unable to understand the strong local accent. Even if you're studying in a country where you speak the same language, there are other hurdles to clear. So the words that students use are going to be difficult to learn, but the language barrier problem also goes away pretty quickly, once you're immersed.
Finding Abroad Programme:
Now that you have decided where and when you want to study abroad, it's time to find a suitable programme. From summer study abroad trips to semester-long and full academic year programs, there are several types of programs to choose from as you decide which is best for you. As you research your options, it's important to talk directly with the program(s) of interest to learn more about what they offer, at what cost, and which amenities are or aren't included such as airport pick-up, onsite orientation, housing, etc.
As a foreigner, you do not know the local culture and all those unwritten rules of your host nation. Let's get accept one thing: you will make mistakes, and many may be awkward. Don't be embarrassed; learn from cultural misunderstanding and don't make them again. An easy way to avoid many cultural misunderstandings is to observe what others do, and how they do it. If in any doubt, just ask! You'll find most people are happy to talk about their customs, and will enjoy sharing their insider knowledge with you. From university applications, to finding a place to stay and identifying the social norms, we have all been unsuccessful in some if not all of these respects. But when you push through the challenges, everything will work out - and if nothing else, you will have lots of stories to tell.
Meet with your academic advisor to ensure you can stay on track to graduate on time, plan the coursework you need to take before you go abroad, the coursework you should save and take while abroad and the coursework that you will need to take after you return. Talk with your parents about why, when and where you want to study abroad. Deciding to study abroad is often a family decision, and having an open conversation with them can help both you and them plan the best study abroad trip for you as possible. It's important to come to the conversation prepared with your points, and be ready with answers to their questions.
Regardless what country you are from, and what country you are going to, it's almost certain that you'll end up feeling like an 'outsider' at least some of the time. You may find yourself wondering why your espresso always seems to cost more than the locals', or why everyone's laughing, when you didn't realize anyone had told a joke. In most countries it's unlikely that you'll be deliberately made to feel uncomfortable or unwanted, but it can still be tiring at first, trying to get to grips with new cultural norms. Don't let this discourage you.
Choose your decisions wisely and you can really begin to look forward to not only studying in a beautiful and vibrant country, but also to a life experience quite like no other.