Study Abroad: How to Prepare for an Adventure of a LifetimeOctober 21, 2019

You have decided to pursue a degree abroad, which didn't sit well with your family and mates. It's not a hard decision, as what could throw you off balance excites you. Are you ready for an adventure?

Your parents have wondered why you don't want to be closer to home. You gave a sheepish smile, but it wasn't hard to spell it out. And your folks knew it. New-found freedom excites teenagers (or most of them). You can think of many reasons, which has nothing to do with Ivy League universities. Europe is a cheaper option, as the continent is an amusement park for arts and history aficionados. You didn't have enough of the cultural scenes in Sydney and Melbourne, so you have no other choice but to go northwest. The uncertainties of Brexit unfazed you, and you won't have a problem with conversing with a small group of Scottish students with a thick accent. It's time to get serious about your new venture.

You have talked to counsellors about the worth of a degree from a foreign university. Does it weigh more than a degree from an Australian university? The answer depends on your career options. An overseas career is something to brag about, yet you don't really know how your career would turn out in ten years or so. You want to go with the flow, also have a strong desire to expand your networking. It may be too serious for a young mind, but you can't go wrong with planning and preparing. (And it's better safe than sorry.) Having decided on the degree course that you want to pursue, you must tackle the when, where, and how. Are you ready?

10 Ways to Make Your Studies Worth the Trouble

You must be able to have ease on the conversations. In other words, you must have passed the conversational level of a native language. You can study it on your own, even do an online practice. On the other hand, patience is required for English speakers with a thick accent.

Choose what to bring along with you. You don't want to wallow in homesickness during your first week, such that you can't stop from chatting with your family every few hours or so. In this regard, select the things that would make you feel like that you didn't leave home at all. Photos and postcards won't take too much space. Don’t think twice about the pillow that you’ve been using for years.

Ask your family and mates for anyone they know in the new place that you want to be. This is your first opportunity on networking, where you can make new friends. Always keep an open mind, not expecting too much as well. You would get some pleasant surprises, which you wouldn't know until the moment you're into. Don't think too much about it, as the next item is related to this one.

Do yourself a favour by cutting some slack. You will feel that you've been a failure while struggling to make the adjustment to a foreign land. It happens to everyone, so you don’t have to be too hard on yourself. There’s no need to tell your professors about your lack of understanding about (name of foreign country). You will be politely told to look at it yourself, which you must not take personally. It’s another challenge that you would overcome sooner.

Make arrangements with the payment on rent and monthly bills. You will be swamped with paper writing and research, and you must allot some ample time on studying for examinations. Don't forget the rent and other bills, as you don't want your landlord to give you a stern look (and remind you about it). If you're sharing your place with a roomie, you don't want him (or her) to tell you that you're irresponsible. Next item, please.

Are there mature students out there? What a question! It would take an instant to answer that question, but ponder about it for a moment. You could be perceived as a stuck up if you don’t hang out with other teenagers. You would learn a great deal from them, and a small group of foreign students could offer rewarding experiences.

Take those confusions in stride. Some clubs close earlier than you think while your new mates would be amused at your assumption on minced pie. (It's not beefy as you think at first.) There's a first time for everything, so learning could be an awkward experience. Don't get too fixated on it, such that you forget what made you attend the university in the first place.

Social media may not be good at the moment. You post an image of a picturesque hill, which isn't far from where you live. You read your friends' comments, revealing their jealousy. You didn't remark that you need to go out as frequently as possible, so you don't want to be reminded of home. It’s time to take a break and make those real connections.

Keep a book for company. It should improve your paper writing skills. Make sure that it’s your favourite author, if not your favourite genre.

It's about time that you learn how to cook. You can rely on YouTube, but you wouldn't mind your mother to share her secrets in the kitchen.

What About Tuition?

If you haven't discussed tuition with your parents, you must have made numerous inquiries on scholarships and corporate sponsorship. You should have make a rough estimate, such that you have decided on finding a part-time job (or not). On the other hand, consider yourself as one of the privileged few if your folks would pay for everything. Don't waste this opportunity.

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