Moving abroad to study may be one of the best experiences for any college student. Many graduates who have studied abroad always say, it is an experience that changed their lives. In fact, according to UNESCO, the number of international students increases every year. This is due to all the opportunities and experiences associated with international education such as a different set of cultures and traditions, independent living, increased employability after graduation, and lifelong friends.
Below are some tips students should follow to ensure that they enjoy their stay abroad, and make the most out of their international study experience.
Take Good Care of Your Health
First things first: take care of your overall health, which means both physical and mental health. Do this by exercising regularly, eating healthily, and sleeping well. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will give you the energy to fully enjoy your stay abroad. Feeling tired and not eating well will affect your studies and grades. Also, although most countries require international students to prepare for their health by purchasing health insurance, getting sick while in a foreign country can still be frightening and even lonely.
Make Friends with the Locals
Expand your social circle and make friends with the local people. Don’t limit yourself to just socializing with other international students or students from your home country. Although befriending other international students is beneficial, especially when it comes to creating a global network, making friends with the locals has its own benefits. When you meet and become friends with local people, you can easily learn a new language, you can have a feel of the local politics, trends, and culture, you can make lifelong friends, and you may get invited to various local events.
If you are having a hard time interacting with the locals, start by signing up in clubs or groups where it is possible to interact more with the local students in your institution.
Try New Things
Be open-minded and try new things, don’t stay cooped up in your room, or keep on doing the same things that you do in your home country. You are in a new country, so make the most out of it. Try new things such as eating a local dish, interacting with people with different views, learning a new language especially if the country where you are staying speaks another language aside from English, attending cultural events, visiting tourist and non-tourist areas. As a safety reminder though, when visiting an area that is not usually for tourists, go there with friends and check safety advisories from your home country and your host country.
Keep a Travel Journal
Some people might cringe at the thought of keeping a journal while studying abroad. However, keeping a journal is a good way to note some daily observations and insights you get while abroad. Also, it can help improve your writing skills and keep you on track with your plans or goals while in another country.
Avoid Overspending and Stick to Your Budget
Traveling around the country, eating in local restaurants, and experiencing local activities are good ways to enjoy your stay abroad. However, do it in moderation, avoid overspending, and spend strategically. The last thing you want to do is worry about how you can stretch your budget until your last day in the country, or until your next allowance if you are getting one.
For many students, their international study experience includes some of the best times of their life.
Check out MSM Unify’s articles on tips about living abroad to learn more and make your stay abroad more fun. To start, check out our article on International Students: Tips for Study Abroad.