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Survival Guide, Independent Living When Studying Abroad
Studying abroad is a great opportunity to learn about new cultures, see sights, and experience living life independently. There are plenty of exciting things to look forward to, on top of learning and earning a degree, when you get to study abroad. However, there will be a few challenges and a lot of adjustment to do as you begin to settle in a new place, with unfamiliar people and environment.
Despite the anticipation, all that time reading and preparing yourself for this new journey in your life brings you to unfamiliar grounds. Learning the language, getting around the city and adjusting to the food and climate are just a few of the challenges studying abroad may bring. The newness that surrounds you may be overwhelming. Having said that, it is essential that you prepare.
Top Tips for Exchange Students While Studying Abroad
Here are some tips on how to conquer your first months in a new land and how to survive independently while studying abroad.
Connect with a Local Expert
If this is your time studying abroad, it would be best to have a company or a go-to person that you can connect with to help you get around the newness of this experience. This can be the head of your student exchange program, a fellow student, or a teacher. Most schools assign a local student to help you get around the school for the first few days.
If you are studying abroad, you can arrange a request to connect with a local in advance. Ask your family and friends if they personally know someone in that country that may help you get familiar with the new place. It gives you peace of mind and someone you could ask questions or contact in case of emergencies.
Have Local Currency in Hand
When travelling, or in this case, being in an unfamiliar place for the first time, it pays to have local cash readily available on hand. Although there are plenty of places where you can get money from ATMs, it’s practical to have local currency available before your flight or the moment you arrive at the airport.
Avoid high commissions or low exchange rates inside or outside the airport by having local currency ready beforehand.
Set a Budget and Stick to It
Living independently in a new country can challenge your budgeting skills. If you do not have a lot of money to spare, it is ideal to set aside a budget to follow. Do not get too excited with the places to see, the food to eat or the experiences you’ll want to get into. You have plenty of time to do all of these throughout your stay in the country.
Create a plan on how to enjoy new experiences in the area, without having to compromise your budget. You can enjoy these experiences, one at a time, and aligned with your budget. It would be difficult to run out of cash in an unfamiliar place. It is also good to save, while enjoying what the new place offers, and be able to spend it on something more significant.
Call Home and be on the Loop
Studying abroad can be lonely. Call home as much as possible to avoid feeling homesick and to let them know that you are doing fine. Luckily, technology makes it easier and cheaper to communicate with your loved ones. You can easily send a message, picture or do video calls with the people at home whenever you feel lonely or when you feel like sharing a new story or experience about your adventures as an independent student living abroad.
Studying and living independently in a foreign place is always exciting. It is a time for new experiences, and this is a chance to improve your skills and grow as a person. The first few days might be difficult, with unexpected changes and challenges that will make you feel uneasy. However, the newness is bound to fade over time as you learn more about the people, the culture, the places and the experiences that will help you feel at home, in a new home. In time, you will feel more confident, even in a foreign place as you make new friends and as you discover a new culture. Embrace the change and challenges of living overseas.
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