Jan 21

Studying Abroad: Expectations vs. Reality

 If you are considering studying abroad for a year or two, you probably have a lot of expectations regarding how it will play out. Meeting new people, seeing new things, learning a new language, getting to know a different culture, just to name a few, are probably on your list of unique opportunities studying abroad offers. It’s easy to get caught up in your fantasy, but it’s also important to give your expectations a reality check before getting on that plane. Although your time abroad as a student will most likely be everything you hoped for and more, it will probably not be exactly what you imagined. Below are some examples of how your actual experience may differ from what you had expected:

Meeting new people

If you are going abroad alone, you are probably hoping to make new friendships, and you will, just not right away. The first several days of your stay in a foreign country will probably be spent alone. Settling in, getting used to your new surroundings, local habits and lifestyle will probably take their toll on you. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, and you should realize that most of the students are going through a similar process. Instead of feeling lonely or lost, use that alone time to get some rest, and as soon as classes start, meeting new people and starting friendships will come naturally, so there is no reason to be anxious about it. Since you will find it much easier to connect with people with a similar background, you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to form friendships with the locals, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone and overcoming a language barrier.

Traveling and exploring the country

Traveling through the country and seeing new places is probably another item on your list of expectations. However, it may not be as simple as you imagined. First of all, once your classes start, you will have a lot of work to do completing assignments and will spend a lot of time at the university, and fulfilling your academic obligations should be your priority. Apart from that, you will probably spend the free time you have socializing with your new acquaintances, exploring local bars and nightlife. However, there will be time for some traveling too, but you will need to plan for it both money and time-wise. Studying abroad, you will be on a budget, so if you intend to go through with your plans of visiting famous places, you will have to balance your expenses and make sure you can afford to travel to the location of your choice. If you are looking to save some money, a good idea would be to ask the locals to recommend some nice places to visit which are not too far away, so you can experience the country without breaking the bank.

Handling legal paperwork

This is one aspect of studying abroad that can easily be overlooked, despite its importance. In order for you to have a good time staying in a foreign country, you need to make sure you meet all the legal requirements, acquire the appropriate VISA, and fill out all relevant applications. If you want this less popular part of studying abroad to go smoothly for you, you should consider contacting migration agents in Sydney, who will help you with all the information and help you need to attain the VISA required for your stay.

Learning the language

Although you will hope to become proficient in speaking the local language or accent, this will probably turn out to be harder than expected. First of all, during your course, you will be surrounded by people speaking English, so the time you spend picking up the local accent or learning the foreign language will be reserved for outside of the classes. Although it may be something you wanted to overcome, don’t be too hard on yourself if you struggle with the language barrier. After all, learning a new language doesn’t come equally easily to all of us, and you don’t have to become a fluent speaker in order to interact with the locals or meet new people.

You will have a great time

If you expect to have one of the most rewarding experiences in your life, you are right. If an opportunity to study abroad is presented to you, you should take it, because it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and nothing can quite measure up to it in terms of combining education with traveling and broadening your horizons. However, you shouldn’t expect to have only good times. Just like studying and living at home, you will have ups and downs, both bad days and hard times when you are going to feel homesick, and some of the best times of your life. So don’t be disappointed if not everything goes as you planned. While you might find yourself struggling at some point, maintain a positive attitude and remember that you decided to study abroad in order to experience something new and different. In the end, you will come back a happier and wiser person with a lot of stories to tell, with the good ones outweighing the bad ones.

Since the expectations and realities of embarking on a studying adventure abroad will not be the same for all students, it’s hard for anyone to know what to expect from such a unique experience, but that is why it is exciting. In order to avoid disappointment, it’s important to try and be realistic when it comes to your expectations, as well as plans on what you want to accomplish while abroad. Finally, don’t be discouraged If not everything turns out quite the way you wanted it to. Studying far from home is just as much about exploring the world as it is about self-exploration. Value all new experiences and learn from them, and you are guaranteed to remember your studying days as the most life changing experience you had.

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