During the fall semester of my junior year, I studied abroad in Tokyo, Japan. I was so excited to get out of the small liberal arts bubble I had lived in for the past two years. I was ready to have my adventures and make my memories in a city that was nothing like Los Angeles.
Don’t get me wrong, the last two years at my home college weren’t terrible, but I had been looking forward to studying abroad ever since I started applying to colleges. Before I left for Japan, I researched what to pack, what to expect from the people there, and how to brush up on my Japanese so I would feel ready to start my program.
Even though I didn’t expect the semester to be perfect, I romanticized it because I was excited and wanted to see the world. Students may have a few problems while abroad, such as feeling homesick or forgetting that they are supposed to be studying. Even though no semester abroad is perfect, there are always ways to improve things.
In a study about how studying abroad affects mental health, about half of the people who took part said they felt homesick at some point, even though homesickness might make you want to call home more often or check online to see what your family and friends are doing.
This will only ruin your experience and make you want to stay away from your new group. To stop feeling homesick, try to do new things and only call home once a week or every other week. You should also limit how much time you spend on social media.
It was not quickly picking up the local language.
Many people learn a foreign language for the first time when they go abroad to study. It’s regular to feel overcome and like you do not know the language as rapidly as you hoped.
You could do a few things to speed it up besides being patient and sure of yourself. First of all, relying too much on English is a significant learning barrier. Because of this, students should try to use as little English as possible, even when they’re not in class.
Finding foods that you like
During my program, one person had such a hard time finding food that his stomach could handle that he had to move in with a different family who could meet his dietary needs. Because everyone has different food sensitivities, it’s best to learn about the food ahead of time and talk to your study program if you’re worried about your diet.
If you’re a picky eater, it may be tempting to find the closest McDonald’s or American-style restaurant, but you should try as much local food as possible. But don’t be afraid to ask what’s in the food if you’re worried it might make you sick.
Finding a group of friends
Even though it can be fun to explore by yourself, it can be just as fun to make memories with a group of people you feel comfortable with. Many people in my program were interested in very different things, making it hard for me to find a big group to hang out with.
I get to know people better one-on-one than in a group, so I tried to hang out with people one-on-one. I also met people outside of my study abroad group through other things I did. It would help if you didn’t have to stick to your study abroad program to find people to hang out with. Just be smart and keep safety in mind, just like you would at home.
Feeling spiritually dry
When you move to the latest place, you might feel lost, or your emotional needs aren’t being met. It’s essential to reach out to a trusted friend or family member for help during these times. Students should also talk to a counselor if they think it will help.
Poor time management
When you study abroad, it’s easy to feel like time is running out once you get into a routine. Between going to new places, school, and club meetings, you might feel like you don’t have sufficient time or energy to complete everything. Making a weekly schedule can help you find balance because it shows you all the things you have to do.
If you need to get rid of something because you think it’s causing you too much stress, get rid of it! Also, remember that being busy isn’t something to be proud of. Just because you’re having fun in the new place doesn’t mean you can’t take some time for yourself and relax.
We often forget that we’re students first when we go abroad to study, so we put our classes and grades at the end of our to-do list. Classes were a lot easier for me than they were at my home campus, so I was tempted to put off my work so I could go exploring instead.
I could do it at the last minute, and my grades wouldn’t suffer because it was easier. Some people were so busy with things that they forgot to go to class. Try to do your homework as soon as you get it. This will help you get good grades without giving up fun (or at least start them). Also, don’t miss class if you can help with it. Missed classes add up and can hurt your grade.
RuEditer’st of money
Souvenirs, shipping, event tickets When traveling, there are many things to buy! Most students won’t be able to get a part-time job in their new city, so they often run out of money.
Leave your debit card at home but only bring a small amount of cash with you when you go out. This will assist you in avoiding spending too much. You can also get apps for your phone that help you keep track of your money to see where it goes.
Unable to fit all of your purchases in your suitcase.
As someone who usually travels with a suitcase that is too heavy, I ran into this problem. You could leave the things you can’t bring with a friend, ship them home, or buy a new can’tcase. Students should find out how much it costs to ship a package and how much their airline will charge for a bag that is too heavy so they can choose the most affordable option.
I do not wish to go home.
Even if you have trouble, it’s common for students not to want to go home at the end of their study abroad experience. Even though it’s hard to leave your new friends behind, this gives you a reason to work even harder on the language or keep in touch with the people you met during your time abroad to come back someday and have an even better time.