Studying abroad in a different country can be intimidating, especially for someone who has never traveled alone or been in a place that's so far away from friends and family. It will, however, provide you amazing opportunities, whether it's being exposed to different cultures or getting a better education. With this in mind, here are seven pieces of advice to smooth into your studying abroad journey that will get you adjusted well and help you fit right in!
1. Have small things that remind you of home.
It's mind-blowing how just the smallest object can bring up beautiful memories that remind you of your home, family and friends. My advice to you is to collect as many pictures as you can and hang them on the wall above your desk. This way, whenever you feel stressed out about something or isolated from everyone else you can look up and smile at the wonderful memories you created when you were home. As simple as it sounds, it will give you a warm feeling and in a way make you feel as though you are with your family or friends.
2. Always keep in touch with your family.
As we all know, your family consists of the most important people in your life. They are the ones who you should turn to when you're troubled or in a messy situation. Keeping in touch with them while you're overseas is extremely important, and that way, you and your family members will feel a sense of relief knowing that both sides are safe. Call them and tell them about your day, and tell them about the little details that made you smile or upset you. Either way, they will want to know.
3. Find friends from your cultural background.
Mixing with people who share the same cultures as you could help you settle more. As you speak with them, it can make you feel at home because you'll be conversing with someone who would most likely share the same feelings and it might be easier to make a connection with them. Finding friends who are from the same country as you can also erase feelings of loneliness. Try to join clubs and maybe you'll meet someone there from your country! It is a small world after all.
4. Blend in.
Get used to the ways and cultures of your college city and learn and observe the way people make their way around. Pick up on the little details when students converse and try it for yourself. This way, you'll be focused on being a part of the culture and blend in well!
5. Get to know different people.
Finding friends who are from your country is a good thing, but try to expand your options. Walk up to someone who you think is completely different from you and start a conversation with them, because who knows? You might get along well. Opposites attract, right? By doing this, you could learn about different backgrounds of different people, and you can share yours, too!
6. Decorate your room/dorm.
The most important thing when you're in a different country is to feel at home! As strange as it sounds, decorating your room/dorm could help you do so. Decorate your place as much as you can, and do it as though you would your room at home. Put up pictures, hang fairy lights, place candles around – do whatever looks good to you. When you're all done, it'll completely transform the image of your room and make you feel more comfortable.
7. Explore your university town.
Staying in the dorm might be relaxing, but it shouldn't be your daily activity. Get out of your room and enjoy the view. Walk around and explore as much as you can! Get to know the different streets and buildings, take some pictures while you're at it and then save them for future memories. Once you get used to it, it'll be your new home and who knows, maybe you'll love it.
Being at a new college surrounded by different people with very different cultures might be intimidating, but embrace this incredible opportunity you've been blessed with. Go out, meet as many people as you can and have the greatest time. After all, college could be some of the best years of your life. Study hard, but also don't forget to have fun! If you start to miss home, hang in there, be strong and know that holidays are just around the corner.
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