How to mentally prepare to study abroad?

Studying abroad can be one of the most exciting experiences of your life! New culture, new friends, and new memories! It is important to remember that though there may be challenges along the way, with the right strategies and mindset, there will be nothing you can not overcome. 

Explore these 5 tips for overcoming any obstacles that might come your way!

Goal Setting

Make a list of objectives that you hope to accomplish whilst you are abroad. Time flies and when you want to notice and look back, you want to feel like you have made the most of your Uni days. 

Your goals can go from the academic aspects, like what subjects you want to study, get good grades, learning the language, internship opportunities or related to more social ones, such as travel, hobbies, making local friends from the host country, in order to make it easier to settle into the new culture and environment.

Goals are also helpful to make us think in advance and consider all the preparatory paperwork or actions you need to get done. This way you will avoid some unexpected outcomes.

Writing down your goals and crossing off what you have accomplished can help keep you on your path to success

Time management & Personal Development

One of the first things international students realize is that it takes a long time to do everything by yourself when you start living on your own. From getting groceries to preparing meals and keeping the house clean to budgeting your monthly expenses, organizing your studies, socializing, and much more. So, studying abroad would actually teach you to act independently and you will definitely gain maturity. 

Personal development has always been to learn more about yourself. Throwing yourself into a completely new environment will help you to figure out what you’re good at, as well as what you’re not so good at. Studying in another country tests your ability to adapt to diverse situations while being able to solve problems and help shape you into an independent and adventurous adult,  ready to succeed in your future career. 

There is a significant need to develop an art of time management!

Expectations vs. reality

Choosing to study abroad is one of the most important and bravest decisions students can make during their college career and also in their lives. The experience is surrounded by all kinds of assumptions, many are correct, but others couldn’t be further from the truth. 

A tactic to avoid disappointment while studying abroad (and in life, generally) is to have realistic expectations about the adventure ahead. For this, a good planification and thorough investigation of the area you will be moving to is vital. The more you know about the place, customs, language… less probabilities of suffering what is commonly known as, cultural shock.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone – Stay active & connected 

Even though studying abroad isn’t necessarily easy, it comes with its unique challenges, which is part of the overall unique experience that directly relates to the benefits of studying abroad.

You may have some concerns about leaving your home country, however, be assured that’s completely natural. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is one of the things that makes the whole experience so valuable and worthwhile.

No matter where you end up, you will more than likely be out of your comfort zone as you face obstacles like homesickness, spending, and budgeting foreign currency and simply living in a new, unfamiliar place. These may seem like small issues now, but you will be proud of the accomplishments you have overcome. You’ll most likely return home a wiser individual and ready to face any future challenges head-on. After all, if you can travel overseas to study, you can achieve anything!

It’s important to maintain yourself active and connected. You should know that studying in a different country offers many new activities and interests that you may never have discovered if you’d stayed at home. There is nothing worse than feeling lonely and having too much free time to think doesn’t help. For this reason, it is important you find activities or hobbies that help you connect with other students with your same interests.

Learn to ask for help

Even if you haven’t struggled with mental health before going abroad, you may experience a variety of new feelings and emotions. After all, you are moving to another continent, surrounding yourself in an entirely new cultural context, sometimes speaking a different language, homesick, and trying to form fast bonds with strangers. It’s stressful but beyond worth it.

If you suffer from mental health issues, it’s essential you address them immediately with your program staff and have no fear of asking for help. Professional counseling and coaching services will help with your process of adaptation and general well-being whilst abroad, why not make use of those resources if they are there for you!