How to survive your first study abroad week
Going abroad to study is an exciting experience for students but it can be quite daunting for a few days while you settle in. There’s the initial journey, a different culture, language barriers, new people to meet and a new town or city to find your way round. But none of this should deter you from making the exciting decision to study abroad and you will soon settle into your new surroundings.
Here are a few tips to surviving your first week studying abroad in a foreign country.
- Be prepared - We all feel better and more confident when we are prepared. Before you leave home, make sure you have all the correct documentation required for your course and arrival. Know important times such as orientation. Make a note of any contact details you will need for arrival in case you are late or even early. Read about the culture of the country you are visiting and any customs.
- Ask questions - Don’t be shy to ask your team leader or homestay family any questions. They are fully prepped and understand that you will be feeling anxious in your first few days.
- Don’t expect everything to be the same as home - You will find yourself thinking “this isn’t how we do it at home”. Life on the school campus or with your homestay family will likely be very different to what you are used to at home. Embrace the differences and enjoy them. Experiencing a different way of life and learning about a new culture and local customs is all part of a successful study abroad experience
- Meet new people - Remember that most of the other students will be in the same situation as yourself and will be eager to talk to you and get to know their fellow students. Make the effort to socialise with them and attend the get togethers and the activities arranged by the language school.
- Practice the language - When you get the chance, practice the language. The sooner your make a start, the sooner you will feel more confident. Speak with your homestay family, teachers and your new friends in the local language as much as possible.
- Contact home - Yes that is still allowed! Your family and friends will be eager to hear how you are getting on and ‘touching base’ can help you feel settled and secure in your new surroundings. Limit your contact however to once or twice a week as too much contact may increase your feelings of home sickness
Whether you are attending a short study abroad course for just a few weeks or a longer programme for a full term or even a year, there will be an adjustment period while you discover your new surroundings and get to know new people. Just remember that you are not the only one and everyone else is likely feeling exaclty the same way.
If you are interested in attending one our our popular study abroad courses, click here to see our full range of courses in France, Germany and Spain.