Nervous About Studying Abroad? Know These Seven Essential Things

While there are difficulties, some solutions can help students maintain their emotional well-being before and after they move to pursue their study abroad aspirations.

Sayantan BiswasUpdated: Saturday, November 26, 2022, 03:30 PM IST
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Pursuing higher education overseas can be exciting and daunting at the same time for many young students around the world. Students have the chance to develop new skills as an individual and take advantage of unique opportunities that may be in store for them. However, it’s also likely that it may be the first time they are moving away from their home, which is their comfort zone and stepping out to carve a niche for themselves. In addition to this, planning for one’s study abroad journey can also be stressful due to various factors like lack of counselling, managing funds, and finding the right accommodation facility as per their preference, among others.

As per information received from the Bureau of Immigration (BoI), the number of Indian students, who departed India for higher education in the current year, is 1,33,135 so far. India is second only to China when it comes to students pursuing international courses. This shows the sheer popularity of overseas education highlights the number of students be at risk of mental health issues as they may face difficulties in coping with maintaining emotional well-being in a foreign country. Moreover, the pandemic has added to this stress with alterations in the application procedures, process, and deadlines post-application process and in-person classes as well. Some challenges that students might face are homesickness, overall transitional stress, and the regular stress that comes along with attending classes.

While there are difficulties, some solutions can help students maintain their emotional well-being before and after they move to pursue their study abroad aspirations.

Sayantan Biswas

While making the decision to study abroad:

Welcome opinions selectively - When a student decides to plunge into studying abroad, every friend and family member will have their opinion and suggestions. It is important to segregate which advice is relevant to you and which you can cautiously ignore. Remember everyone has different experiences while studying abroad and their experiences should not mold your expectation from the entire journey. Listen to all negative experiences but don’t let that make you hasty decisions.

Seek professional guidance- While your friends and family can guide you initially in your study abroad journey, seeking professional help can take a lot of unwanted stress off your plate. Things like which is the best university for a particular course, hunting for available scholarships, how to manage finances, visa assistance, choosing the right accommodation, etc., everything can be taken care of by a professional. Finding an end-to-end solution provider who can help in managing all your study abroad needs can be immensely helpful. This will help you focus on clearing the entrance formalities and reducing the stress of managing other secondary requirements.

Know your financing options- As a student, there might be a lot of ambiguity on how to go about planning your finances. You need to look at interest rates on education loans, repayment options, and borrowing options in terms of what kind of institution you should borrow from (Banks or NBFCs), etc. All of this can help you in making informed decisions while planning your finances.

Plan your accommodation in advance- Finding quality student accommodation in a foreign country can be incredibly concerning, especially post-COVID with a renewed consideration of health and hygiene factors. Hence, it is advised that students plan their accommodation well as this will ensure they get access to locations close to the universities in their budget. Some providers also include the cost of utility expenses like Wi-Fi, room cleaning service, and other amenities like a gym, swimming pool, free laundry, etc.

Preparing your mind to adapt - Moving to another country alone can be very thrilling and unnerving at the same time. Students need to be aware that there will be good days and bad days. Mental preparedness to deal with the bad ones is important as the good days will hopefully outnumber the bad ones. Working on building a never say die attitude is important as it motivates you to keep going on the not-so-pleasant days.

After you reach the country:

Blend with locals - Moving to another country to pursue your dreams is a very courageous thing to do. You must build a local support system for yourself. Being a part of the local community will help in strengthening your mental health for the long term. In most cases, many destination countries and local communities are very welcoming and with many having international student-specific clubs this becomes easy. Additionally, students should look for support from sources other than their peer groups, such as teachers, mentors, and co-workers at their part-time employment. Community support can genuinely help you maintain emotional wellness. Also, frequent trips around to get to know the city can help make new friends and increase familiarisation.

Ask for help: Students may sometimes feel misconstrued or overwhelmed, particularly in a high-stress environment. Asking for help is the first and certainly the most important step on the path to discovering relief. In today’s world where everything is available at the tip of the finger, reaching out to mental health experts becomes easy for students who may be going through such feelings. Speaking to a professional can help ease your mental health by indulging in new practices that can help release stress.

While there can be many stressors, moving to another country can be quite exhilarating if students manage things well. The ultimate advice to students is to enjoy the process and maximise learning as this time will only come once, and if nurtured to the fullest once is enough for you to make a mark professionally and personally.

The author is the Co-Founder, UniScholarz.

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