So, you are considering studying abroad? Congratulations, you can look forward to exciting times filled with intellectual learning, seeing new places, building an international network, and becoming a global citizen! Like all exciting opportunities, studying abroad will transform you and challenge you with new knowledge and unfamiliar cultures. Over the years, I have mentored and interacted with hundreds of international students overseas. Based on that experience I have a list of “10 Important Things Indian Students Should Know When Planning to Study Abroad”. As an Indian student, you can expect the study abroad journey to be:
This Blog Includes:
Study Abroad is an adventure at many levels. You will gain new knowledge and the method of teaching will be more innovative than what you may have experienced. The content will be more interdisciplinary. You will meet classmates from all over the world and can build a network of friends from multiple nationalities. All of this can be fascinating.
The learning aspect of studying abroad will happen as a combination of what is taught in the classroom and the exposure you get through campus life. Outside the classroom, your learning continues as you meet people, see places and have new experiences in a different culture. This is highly rewarding because it leads to an overall education, global awareness, and a sharp sense of critical thinking.
When you learn new perspectives and build a network of friends, you will automatically become a better communicator. The curriculum will train you in team projects as well as giving presentations. These activities lead to stronger communication skills, clarity of thought and expression. This results in high confidence levels. At a personal level, living abroad trains a student to be more independent, manage their finances, and handle the paperwork and any difficult situations that may arise in everyday life in a foreign country. All these experiences build soft skills and have a positive impact on how empowered you feel.
The above process of confidence-building and independent living has a transformative effect on a student. Learning new perspectives from other international students transforms our approach to problem-solving and decision-making. Those are top qualities for future jobs as well as for entrepreneurs. Thus, studying abroad carries the potential to be transformative.
However, like all amazing opportunities in life, studying abroad will also require some special qualities from an aspirant. These are:
High Levels of Enthusiasm
Study Abroad will place you in a different system of education and learning. The assignments will require huge amounts of reading. Examinations will not be memory-based. Competing with others in your class will not matter. You will be judged by your achievement. If a student is not motivated, this may cause anxiety. But if you are an enthusiastic learner, you will overcome this easily and succeed in your study program.
Studying abroad means dislocation. Leaving home, family and friends can be disturbing emotionally. It’s normal to be homesick (see my Blog on ‘How to Overcome Homesickness’). A study abroad student needs to be emotionally ready to live in a new culture and think of this as an opportunity rather than an emotional challenge.
Financial planning is required before and during studying abroad. Before undertaking study abroad, you can consider education loans and search for scholarships. However, even during the study abroad program a student needs to plan their monthly expenses carefully to avoid feeling burdened.
To a new culture is critical. Social and cultural values will be different, and so will the climate, food and environment. Be open-minded. Don’t just expect differences but ACCEPT differences and ADAPT yourself. Do not let the differences upset you. Enjoy the wonderful new experiences and opportunities that are waiting to be explored.
Also Read: What Qualities Does an International University Want in a Student?
In my list, a strong determination is the most important thing to remember about studying abroad. If you are dreaming of new opportunities, or a career change through study abroad or you plan to get an advanced degree in your subject, you must be strongly committed to making the best of the study abroad experience. Where there is a Will, there is a Way!
To be Well-Informed, Is to be Well-Armed!
The last thing to know about studying abroad is that you need to do good research when selecting your destination country and program. The college and program need to be the best fit for you. You need a good coach and mentor to support you through the process.
To sum up, a study abroad student must be open-minded and adaptable to learn at new campuses in new cultures. With strong determination, you can optimize all your opportunities. Think of the cultural and academic challenges as steps on a ladder which you are climbing to reach new heights!
We will be back next Friday with another amazing blog from Dr Maina Chawla Singh. Till then, if you have any questions or suggestions, just drop us a comment and we will get back to you.