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The 4 challenges international students face abroad

Studying abroad is an incredible experience that brings both personal and professional growth. Living in another country and immersing yourself in a different culture is very rewarding but may come with some challenges. Here are some tips on common issues to help make your experience stress free:

1. Feeling Homesick

Getting out of your comfort zone might be fun at first, but after a few weeks of fun, you might start to miss your family and friends. The people who know you the best, are not with you to share the incredible experience you are going through. Bringing your pet along to study abroad is one way to stay less homesick, but here are a few other ideas:

  • Make new friends that will become your family abroad. 
  • Stay in touch with everyone back home by downloading apps such as: Facebook, Skype, Watssap, Viber and more.
  • Find your local community. 
It is always good to share your new adventures with someone familiar and to also stay up to date with news from back home.

2. Finding a job 

Studying abroad might seem like the most expensive thing in the world. Getting a scholarship is one way to fund the experience, but you might also need to find a job, which will allow you to keep swiping your credit cards.

After sending your student visa application and proving that that you meet the study permit requirements, you need to find out how many hours (if at all), you can work yearly.

In the USA, international students are not allowed to work, except in jobs on campus. It is recommended to either ask the faculty members or career centers in your university about opening jobs, or just search their website for job opportunities.

A campus job can be anything like: becoming a library assistant, tutor, lifeguard, teacher's assistant, doing research and more. Keep in mind that these are part time jobs and are usually also temporary jobs, to allow students to stay focused on their studies.

3. Losing your passport abroad

Your passport is your most valuable document and it is very important to take extra care of it when you are abroad. Many places only accept passports as a form of identification for foreigners so you often have to carry it around.

Losing your passport may seem very scary and is definitely something you want to avoid but in case it happens, here is what you should do:

  • File a police report at the nearest police station.  
  • Find and contact the closest embassy or consulate of your home country.  
  • If you have a flight waiting for you, and you need to travel right away, you can ask for an emergency passport, if not, you will have to wait a bit for the new one to be ready. 
  • Keep in mind that you might need to pay a fee for the passport renewal. 
It is also extremely important to have both a document and an electronic copy of the document for reference to prove your citizenship.

4. Overcoming language barriers 

Studying abroad is an excellent opportunity to learn a new language, whether the language spoken in your new home is Spanish, French, English, Italian, Russian or Chinese.

Taking a language course is one way to get familiarized with the local slang words or to ordering food at a restaurant.
Being surrounded by native speakers is also a huge help in learning a language.

A nice nice way to practice “social language” while making new friends is finding a tandem. A tandem is someone who wants to learn the language you speak and is native in the language you want to learn, it’s a win-win for everyone – and it's like a free course! Remember that practice makes perfect, so don’t be shy, talk, talk and talk a little more!

Facing challenges is an important part of life that makes your grow. Your journey abroad will be so rewarding you will be wondering why you didn’t go earlier. No one said it's going to be an easy journey, but at the end of the day, it will be worth it. 


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