International Student: A Guide to Study Abroad

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Hello fellow travel lovers!

If you’re an International Student, or you just can’t wait to start packing for your study abroad, this post is for you!

As an international student, you’ve got a lot to soak in within a limited amount of time. Here are a few tips on how to make the most out of your experience studying abroad!

1. Opportunities at University

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Make full use of what your University has to offer. Join clubs and activities that will allow you to experience things you never have!

~Join a Traveling society! You’ll not only make new friends and experience new places, you’ll be able to travel on the cheap!
Most importantly, you’ll be on University organised trips and that means safe travels!
~Join a Cultural Club! Do you like watching foreign TV shows and movies? Korean Society, anyone? Or maybe you’re way into anime and manga! Japanese Society!
You’ll meet people who have the same interests as you, and making friends will be a lot easier.
~Join a club that will look really good on your Resume. Join a Peer Mentoring society or an Academic Society. Maybe you’re good at sports or music, use your talents!
Start preparing for that bright future now and have fun while doing it!

Attention! Do you know that your University could be affiliated with foreign Universities? Which means that you could get scholarships to go for summer exchange programs! I was able to go for a month long Japanese exchange program and it was the best experience of my life!

The Bottom line is, you’re paying a lot for University. Take advantage of every opportunity they have. Do not be afraid to ask!

2. Expenses
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Do some research on student benefits that are provided in the country you’re going to be studying in. You need to know what health benefits you have and what discounts you can get.

Places like U.K. have student discount cards and point cards that help you get good deals and save some precious money!

Get a part time job, if your visa permits it. You’ll have some extra cash, and you’ll have work experience to put down on your Resume. Your University is sure to have on-campus jobs. Talk to your adviser and apply as soon as possible!

Try to look for a paid internship over the summer. Some companies even take on interns as full time staff once they graduate!

3. Travel and Culture

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You’re in a new place, there’s new sights to see, new food to eat, new people to meet! Do it all!
Do not shy away and hide in your room, burst out of your comfort zone and try new things!

Travel to nearby places with a group of people. You can go on a road trip, or camping. It will help you bond with other people and discover a new place!
Look for safe and affordable ‘Bed and Breakfasts’ that you can stay at.
They are usually run by sweet old ladies and don’t cost much.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, try staying at a Hostel with your friends. You’ll definitely have a lot of stories to tell!

If the country you travel to has a different language from your own, then why not try to learn it? Knowing a foreign language is an amazing skill to have, especially for your Resume.
Take some classes and make some foreign friends. Conversation is the best way to learn a language!

P.S. Please for the love of all that is holy, do not only stick with people from your own country/culture. You’ve travelled all this way! Make foreign friends and let them show you around!

4. Independence
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Hold up.. I’m gonna have to cook and clean?? That’s a Yes.

‘Freshman 15’ is a thing. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, University freshmen usually end up gaining 15 pounds (7 kg aprox) in their first year!
Late night study sessions and snacking, parties and eating out with friends is all a part of the University experience.

However, I’m sure you want to maintain your weight and remain acne free.
So learn how to cook a couple of healthy meals you can refrigerate.
Do some physical activity, you can use the University gym, go swimming, run around the tracks or even do some Zumba in your dorm room.
Make sure to get some fruit and veg in that belly. Potato chips don’t count!
Remaining active and eating healthy will improve your focus, boost your stamina and you’ll look and feel much better!

Keep your surroundings neat and clean. If you’re gonna study in your dorm room, your desk should be spotless. A messy environment leads to an unfocussed mind. Keep that laptop away, so that you don’t keep taking breaks to watch ‘Orange Is The New Black’! (I wouldn’t blame you though, who can resist?)

Living away from home will definitely be a bit of a shock, but it will help you grow and learn how to take care of yourself! Mom will be proud!

5. Homesickness
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Being away from your family, friends and your little dog Pluto can take a toll on you.
Homesickness is very real, and it can derail you from your studies and make you feel like you’re trapped in an unknown hostile environment.

So start with your room. Your room is where you spend most of your day, make sure it has a homely and comforting feeling. Decorate your room by putting up your favourite posters and pictures of your loved ones.
Make sure to get bedding in colours that make you feel happy. Perhaps you have a sentimental blanket that your grandma knitted you, bring it along!
Turn that boring dorm room into a room that screams ‘you’. Your room needs to be your happy place!

Make an active effort to keep in contact with the friends and family you left behind. Skype, Line and Kakaotalk are great apps that will keep you all connected wherever you are.
Share your experiences with them, and send pictures back and forth. Texting is not very time consuming, so you shouldn’t have any excuses!
Plan to meet your friends over the holidays. They could come over to visit you, so offer to have them stay with you.
And most importantly, bring back loads of goodies for your pals! Share the love! ^_~

If you’re currently an International Student or are planning to be one, tell us where! How’s it going? and what’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you?

(✿◠‿◠)

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7 thoughts on “International Student: A Guide to Study Abroad

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