Studying abroad comes with its own share of challenges, but it should not prevent aspiring individuals to put off the thought of achieving higher education. There are several countries in the world which are known for the quality of education and research. It takes a lot of hard work to gain admission to these prestigious institutions, but the thought of living in a foreign country does make some students skeptical.
It is important to mention that after setting foot on a foreign country, students often realize that what they read on travel guides is completely different from what they are experiencing. This can cause the students to feel alienated, and experience what is commonly known as the "culture shock". This is a challenge for many students, but the benefits of studying abroad outweigh the challenges, so rather than being debilitated by this, one should look forward to ways for countering it.
Studying Abroad: Some Challenges
Prejudice & Stereotyping
The first thing that students should try to do is to avoid forming a prejudice or a conceived notion about the country and its people. Stereotypes are hard to shed off, and may be deep-rooted in your sub-conscious mind. If you put off the thought of being friends with an Englishman just because you have heard that they are snobbish and reserved, you never know, you might be denying yourself an opportunity to have a good friend. Instead of relying too much on stereotypes, it would be better if you just discover a person as he is, by putting an effort to know him in a better way.
Similarly, students from developing countries may immediately develop a sense of low self-esteem while studying with their counterparts from developed countries. People may perceive you differently because of the way you look, or because of the way you speak, but you have to understand that this is just an initial reaction, and after some time when they know you better, you would be liked and adored for your uniqueness.
Monetary constraints are one of the most serious challenges when studying abroad, but there are ways in which you can help yourself. If you are not successful in getting a scholarship, then you can take the help of educational loans to bail you out. Once you complete your education and gain employment, you can pay off the loan on your own. There is an increasing trend among students to work on a part-time basis, which not only helps them to look after their expenses, but also helps them to socialize with the people of that country in a better way.
Students often complain of homesickness, which is usually triggered by the feeling of cultural alienation. But before you think about packing your bags and heading home, understand that this is a normal reaction of your body to adjust to a different milieu, and over the course of time, you will feel better. It is important that you do not lose sight of your ambition and the opportunities that await you. In your initial days, staying in touch with your family members will definitely help, but it is important that you make some real friends, so that you can act as a support system for each other.
Some Other Challenges
Some other things that may prove to be challenging are food, weather, transportation, language barriers etc. But you can see these challenges as opportunities, and contribute to your self-improvement by learning more about the country's culture, its language, its traditions etc. You never know, what you think was inedible might prove to be a tasty delicacy; the chap who looked so intimidating might be as gentle as a bee, the girl who seemed to be indifferent, was always interested in you! To know all of this, you need to explore, and to explore you need to shed your inhibitions. Rather than looking at your stay as "years in exile", you can make them the best days of your life.
This was some information on the challenges that students can face while studying abroad. These challenges should not act as a deterrent to your dreams and you should aim to counter these rather than taking the escape route. We hope that this article would have introduced you to some challenges of studying abroad while also providing you some information on how to tackle them. Wishing you the best of luck.