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Key Mistakes to Avoid During Studying Abroad

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The latest government data presented in Parliament of India shows a big jump in the number of Indian students going abroad for higher studies. In just one year, there was a 68% increase, with 7, 50, 365 students heading overseas in 2022 compared to 4, 44,553 in 2021.
In 2023, over 13 lakh Indian students pursued education abroad. 2.5 lakh in the US, 3 lakh in Canada, 1.3 lakh in the UK, and 80 thousand in Australia. This trend is set to surge, with projections nearing 1.8 million students by 2024.
Despite significant financial investments averaging 32 lakhs rupees annually per student, many face challenges with accommodation and settling into new cities, leading to dissatisfaction.
To avoid these scenarios, let’s discuss the key mistakes to avoid while studying abroad.

Underestimating language difference

A Haryanvi student pursuing her MA in Hangul, the Korean language, recently shared her challenges in a candid interview. Although she had a good grasp of Hangul, she faced significant challenges when attending advanced lectures shared with PhD students.
The primary issue was not just the language itself but the academic use of the language, which often included specialized terminology and complex concepts that are not typically covered in general language courses. Her non-native status exacerbated these issues, making it difficult for her to follow lectures and engage fully in discussions.
Solution: To overcome language barriers in academic settings while studying abroad, students should engage in comprehensive pre-arrival preparation, focusing on the academic vocabulary and concepts of their field in the new language through courses or online resources.
Upon arrival, they should utilize university-offered language support services, and actively participate in local academic communities.

Not understanding different cultures

In any new environment, understanding and respecting local customs and social norms is crucial:
For example, in the UK, discussing the weather is a cherished pastime, and ignoring such a conversation can inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings. In North Carolina, wearing masks or hoodies during meetings can lead to legal consequences. In Louisiana, surprising your friend with a pizza could break state law. Recognizing these cultural nuances can prevent misunderstandings and promote harmony.
Solution: To navigate cultural differences smoothly while studying abroad, students should take the time to learn about the local customs and legal quirks of their host country.
This can involve attending cultural orientation sessions provided by their school, connecting with local students or mentors for insights, and getting involved with community groups. It’s helpful to watch how locals interact and to ask questions politely if you’re unsure about something.

Not paying attention to budgeting

Majority of students when they move to cities like London or Paris, get enthralled by the city’s charm and the plethora of cafes, museums, and shopping districts.
They start spending freely without tracking their expenses. Ultimately they find themselves struggling financially halfway through the semester, unable to afford basic necessities like groceries and transportation.
Solution: To avoid financial pitfalls while studying abroad, it’s crucial for students to create a comprehensive budget before departing. This budget should account for all expected expenses, such as rent, food, transportation, and books, as well as a separate contingency fund for unforeseen costs.
Once abroad, students should track their spending regularly to ensure they stay within their budget. Utilizing budgeting apps can help manage finances more effectively.

Not arranging a suitable accommodation

A student decides to arrange housing after arriving in their host country, thinking it will be easy to find a place. However, they soon discover that the affordable options are either too far from campus or not very reliable in terms of safety.
Negotiating accommodation costs and lease durations with landlords can make them frustrated and can also lead to frauds and scams in an unfamiliar country.
Solution: It’s wise to secure housing before heading abroad. Start by checking out different housing options online, focusing on how close they are to your university and what the public transport links are like.
Make use of university resources, like student housing services or online student forums, to get insights and advice.

Not Avoiding Risky Behavior

A student, excited by the newfound freedom of studying abroad, is tempted to explore everything, including risky activities that they would usually avoid at home.
They often neglect local laws about alcohol consumption, participating in unsafe nightlife, or ignoring travel advisories, such activities can lead to serious legal and safety issues, ultimately jeopardizing their educational opportunity.
Solution: It’s important for students to maintain a sense of responsibility and awareness of the local laws and cultural norms in their host country.
Students should attend orientation sessions provided by their study abroad program that typically cover safety and legal guidelines.
Staying in groups during outings, keeping emergency contacts handy, and regularly checking in with friends or family back home are practical measures to stay safe.

Conclusion

Studying abroad opens up a world of possibilities for personal development and cultural exploration. However, avoiding certain key mistakes can significantly enhance the overall experience. By delving into thorough research, embracing diverse cultures, handling finances smartly, and reaching out for help when necessary, students can smoothly sail through their study abroad adventure.
Views of the author are personal and do not necessarily represent the website’s views.

Madhur Gujar, is the Co-Founder and Chief Business Officer at Amber, a global student housing solution provider established in 2016. Armed with a distinguished Mechanical Engineering degree from IIT Kharagpur, Madhur showcases his unwavering entrepreneurial prowess and extraordinary business acumen to propel Amber to unprecedented heights of triumph. Leveraging his extensive expertise in business development, marketing, and strategy, Madhur has played a pivotal role in transforming Amber into an unstoppable force, driving its meteoric rise as one of the most rapidly expanding enterprises in the region.