Going to school or university in another country can be exciting, but it can also be daunting. Once you’ve been accepted to an educational institution abroad, you have to start thinking about how you’re going to manage the day-to-day logistics of living and studying in another country. Here are some tips to make the transition easier.
1. Study the culture of the country in which you’re going to study extensively before you go. Talk to people from that country by joining a MeetUp group or asking your friends if they know anyone from there. When you know the holidays, worldviews, religion, history, values, and other information about a country’s people, you can better understand and appreciate your time there.
2. Plan your trip to the country before you start school as carefully as possible. Give yourself enough time to secure a visa, finances to live there, find accommodations, etc. Arrive in the country at least a week or two early to get your bearings. You’ll want to know where to purchase food and other daily necessities, where the nearest public transportation point is, how to find your classes when they start, get your class schedule, purchase textbooks, etc.
3. Relax. You want to enjoy your time in the country. Take trips around to check out the local scenery and historical points. Make friends from that country. Don’t get so worked up about school and your work that you miss out on the experience of living in another nation. Remember to actually live. Studying shouldn’t be your whole life.
4. Learn as much of the local language as possible. If your classes are in your native language, but the locals speak another language, it definitely makes the process of learning easier; however, daily conversations with people outside of the classroom can be difficult. Immersion is the best way to learn a language, so take advantage of your time there, and learn the local lingo.
5. Get a job if your visa allows you to. You’ll earn some extra cash for expenses, and you’ll also be able to get a better idea of what life is really like for local residents.
In the end, it’s important to fully experience life outside of your textbooks. Talk to local people, and learn what makes their country so great.