If you are preparing to pack your bags and do some studying abroad, you’re about to make the same mistakes that numerous other people do when they embark on a similar journey. Or you could end up having a great time and learning a lot, but you have to have the right mindset and adhere to some important guidelines concerning your adventure.
Study About Where You Are Studying
Before you set off to a new country to do some studying, you should learn about where you are going. They may not all speak your language there, so it will behoove you to try to learn some of theirs. At least learn how to greet people and make an effort to learn as much of the language as you can. Not only will people appreciate your efforts to assimilate, but you will find life is much easier if you know the local lingo.
Also learn about customs in the area and what will be expected of you. In Russia, it is not very common for people to be friendly to strangers or to smile to each other in the streets. And in France, a number of table manners and etiquette guidelines exist that don’t really appear anywhere else in the world. You will want to find out about these before you head over there and embarrass yourself or start to receive some odd looks from people.
And one of the most important things you will want to do before traveling abroad is to study how people get around learn what the most common form of transportation is. If you have a car sitting behind your garage doors in Melbourne, then you may be more inclined to leave it there if you see that public transportation is more popular in the area you live in. But if you’re in Perth you can just open those garage doors, and take out your car for a spin as it’s quite common for people to use vehicles in this part of Australia. Otherwise, learn the ins and outs of the public transportation systems, if there are any. Some public transportation will accept local currency, while others will offer no change and others still require special passes to be purchased ahead of time.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
You will likely want to experience much of what you are used to while you are abroad, but that may not be possible. Your favorite sports may be all but inaccessible, and your favorite foods may be very difficult to come by. You are going to have to accept that you’re not at home anymore, and that it’s okay to branch out a little.
Try the local cuisine and you will likely find some new favorites. Every country, and even the areas within those countries, has dishes it is famous for. They are famous for a reason, so you may want to try them out. You won’t like everything you try, but you’ll be much happier if you can learn to live with what is available.
Get comfortable dressing like the locals as well. If you get tired of being stared at by the natives of the country you are studying in, the best thing you can do is to change your clothes to local articles. In most places, you are only an outsider because you choose to be.
Don’t Forget Where You Came From
People are going to know that you aren’t from the local area. If it’s obvious when you travel to a new area of your own country, how apparent will it be when you move to a new country entirely? Get ready to answer a ton of questions about where you come from and also be ready to handle some negative comments. There are likely some unpleasant stereotypes about your country, and while it is not your personal responsibility to dispel each and every one of them, you can at least set a good example and show that your country produces decent people.
You may want to have some prepared answers to the questions you are bound to get. People will want to know what your country is like. If you say it is “nice” every time, then you’re not really putting your country’s best face forward. Talk about where you are from and what makes that place special. You also don’t have to pretend to know everything about your country.
Just be honest with people, but keep in mind that they probably want to hear something nice about where you came from. Also understand that they don’t all want to know your life story; they may just be being polite. Don’t talk their ears off unless they just keep asking more and more questions.
These are the kinds of things you will learn as you go, but it’s best to prepared for them ahead of time. Remember to enjoy yourself while you are abroad. If all you do is study while you are there, and you never get to see what the area is like, then you will end up regretting it later.