It can be both exhilarating and intimidating to relocate to an entirely different country for college. Such a milestone provides an opportunity to experience a new culture, make new friends, and earn a degree in academics. However, it can also be stressful since you’d be challenging yourself out of your comfort zone and exposed to stimuli you’re not used to dealing with. Not to worry, though! Here are six suggestions gathered from Ascend Now’s alumni to make your move for higher education more secure and comfortable.
1. Book your first-year accommodation in advance: A place to call home is one of life’s most fundamental needs. Several institutions offer housing to students, but they only have a certain number of spots accessible on a first-come, first-served basis. As a result, it’s critical to start looking for housing early and to explore all options. You can reserve accommodation for college in advance using a variety of internet booking services such as Student.com. Although the reservation period for hostels might vary, some accept bookings up to three years in advance. It is advised to make reservations for individual rentals at least a few days in advance to give the owner time to arrange schedules and make the space ready.
2. Become acquainted with the way of life: Relocating means coming into contact with a new culture, new way of life, and, possibly, a new language. It can be beneficial to explore museums and other tourist hotspots that interest you to learn more about the local way of life. Early on, educate yourself about student life, pastimes, and transportation options. Know the maps and routes from your address to your destinations. You can also get to know your neighbors: invite them over for dinner, express any concerns you have about the move, take their advice…etc.
3. Familiarize yourself with the local language: You can converse with natives, establish connections, and gain a deeper understanding of the culture by learning the native tongue. To learn the language, you can use apps or enroll in language programs. For example, Duolingo, a free language-learning platform, provides listening exercises, flashcards, and multiple choice questions to help millions of individuals learn any language they desire to master. If you want to speed-up the process, you can audit a language class! In reality, it will be very appreciated by the natives that you are trying to engage with them and aren’t just a foreigner who assumes that they will bend over backwards to help you.
4. Connect with other students: Making friends and feeling less lonely can result from connecting with other students. Here are ways to interact and get to know your peers:
- Participating in clubs or organizations
- Reaching out to people with shared interests
- Going to the school job center
- Creating an online presence
5. Take charge of your finances: Tuition, housing, food, and transportation costs can be burdening when studying abroad. Thus, good money management is crucial. To sustain yourself, track your spending and set up a budget spreadsheet. Then, break down your income and expenses to make an effective budget. To make things easier, you can look up available apps in the country you’ve moved to through which you can link your bank account information and view your transactions. As a last tip, you can apply for scholarships and take up part-time work to ease the process.
6. Take good care of your health: This applies to both your physical and mental well-being. As stated earlier, it can be intimidating and difficult to relocate to a new nation. As a result, maintaining your mental health is critical. Here are a few ways to do so:
- Keep in touch with loved ones and friends. Regularly video-chatting with them ultimately lessens the intensity of any homesickness you are prone to experiencing.
- Engage in regular exercise. You can rent a bike! This would be a big plus if you’re staying at a place that’s close to your university.
- Ask for assistance if necessary: there is no shame in asking others for guidance given that you’re probably experiencing full-independence for the first time in your life. So ask for help until you get the hang of it!
In essence, having to relocate for school might drastically be life-altering. You can make the shift easier and more comfortable by taking note of these suggestions, having a good attitude, maintaining an open mind, and of course making the best out of this phenomenal experience!