Making the most of studying abroad

by Klaudia (Student Blogger: BBA Hons International Business Management) 

Deciding about studying abroad undoubtedly may be one of both the most difficult and exciting decisions of your life. As you are going to step out of your comfort zone, there are various challenges you are going to face as well as the best moments of your life right in front of you. The list of amazing things about studying abroad is probably endless, however there are also some challenging aspects which you have to deal with.
University life sounds exciting by itself. New place, new people, new life. At first, as for an international student, it was a big transition for me. Moving out far away from home, leaving my school friends and family, being made to squeeze all my life into suitcase was challenging and a brave step into new chapter of my life. Despite ‘daily basics’ like cooking or doing laundry, I also had to deal with learning differences of studying in foreign country.

Language barrier
One of the most common and obvious issues for international students is the language barrier. For some it may mean struggling to learn new language pretty much from the scratch, or just being forced to face the ‘real’ conversation and strong local accent. The fact that many academic staff are coming from different backgrounds makes it an incredibly diverse place. Don’t be surprised when you meet a lecturer from your own country! Few first lectures may be a huge transition for you, however with every day you will get used to it.

Academic Differences
When you study in a different country the workload may be different to what you were used to. However, the biggest difference I had to deal with was the emphasis on independent studying. You are going to realise that your timetable actually does not have that many classes in comparison to the amount you had in high school. It is because university studying requires from you a lot of independent studying as well as group projects. At first you may feel the freedom of having a lot of free time, but be aware that there are many things to be done outside the class as well. So my biggest advice is to get a small planner and write down all the things you need to do. My university life became easier since I started scheduling my day so I am aware of upcoming deadlines and coursework material.

Adjusting to new ways of learning can be hard, and you realise how much you are probably used to a particular pattern of studying. However, stepping out from your comfort zone will help you to make the most of your life and develop yourself. It will also be beneficial for your future career and will make you a better learner.
If you need help, remember that you can always seek for help from university staff. You will find many academic support services on campus — some specifically for international students — ranging from library workshops to academic writing assistance and tutors.