Studying Abroad: The 6 Do’s and Don’ts
Are you thinking of studying abroad? Learning abroad can be one of the best ways to broaden your horizons and gain the experience you need to find an awesome job when you graduate. You’ll meet new people, connect with new industries, find different ways of tacking learning and so much more.
Depending on where you are in the world, school and university might be closed for the summer, but that doesn’t mean you have to put off your year abroad planning until you return to study. It’s especially important to keep on planning through your study breaks if you are jetting off later in the year, as you won’t have much time once you go back to university, college or study. Plan ahead and give yourself the best chance of learning in another country.
6 Do’s and don’ts of studying abroad
So, have you decided where you’d like to go for your time abroad? Once you’ve decided, here are some great dos and don’ts you should keep in mind to help you stay safe and enjoy your time in a different country.
#1: Do work on your language skills
There is a big chance you will be heading off to a country whose main language isn’t English. Actually, this is one of the main attractions of studying abroad for a few months – it gives people the chance to learn a language alongside their studies. But even if you aren’t going with the purpose to learn a second language, you should still be prepared to use this new language from time to time. It will help you settle in and make your time in your new destination a lot easier. So, consider taking some language classes before you leave.
#2: Don’t get stuck without a work visa
If you are planning on travelling far, you might need to get a visa and other travel documents to enter the country. Once you know that you will need a visa, it is important that you start the application process as soon as possible. These applications can take a long time, and you don’t want that holding up your travel plans! Don’t get stuck without the proper identification and paperwork or you could be on the first plane back home, potentially with a fine.
#3: Do move in with the locals
You will have a few different accommodation options for your time abroad. But I really recommend that you book a homestay so that you can live with some locals. This will be a much better option than staying in a hotel or college accommodation as you won’t be around so many tourists. Locals will be able to give you some great insider tips about the destination, such as the best bars and restaurants away from the usual tourist haunts. Plus, they can help you practice your language!
#4: Do keep in touch with your network at home
It’s important to think beyond study and into the time when you will eventually be moving back home to commence your career. For this reason, keep track of what’s happening at home via professional social networks such as LinkedIn. Make a conscious effort to network with people both in your home country and your host country to keep up with what’s happening in your chosen field of interest and industry. As you meet people in your host country, be sure to add them to your social networks.
#5: Don’t be too much of a tourist
During the first couple of weeks of being abroad, it is perfectly natural to be like a tourist and visit all of the main sights and attractions. However, you shouldn’t continue to do all the touristy things for too long. After all, you are here to live and study like a local, so you should put your efforts into settling in and getting on with your studies. It’s fine to explore on your days off, but make sure it doesn’t start to have a negative impact on your studies. Everything within moderation!
#6: Do try new things that are out of your comfort zone
This is your time to shine. In many ways, you can cast of the person you once were and be someone else, not in an inauthentic way, but travelling overseas is a great time to experiment with ideas, politics, new horizons and new study and job opportunities. Cast off the shackles of the “old you” and embrace new ideologies. Make a determined effort to try new things all the time; make new friends and seek out new horizons.
When you study abroad, great opportunities can come to you
Studying abroad is a great way to widen your horizons and have a great life experience. You will certainly make some friends for life and will come back with memories that you’ll never forget.
Have a great time no matter where you go!