Stepping out of your comfort zone is never easy, especially if it means moving halfway across the globe. From budgeting, adulting, to homesickness, there are several problems you’ll face while you study abroad.
This is why we’ve got you covered with five life hacks for the five common problems you may encounter while studying in another country!
Struggle #1: Budgeting
In high school, budgeting may have been more manageable with your weekly allowance. College is different. College abroad? Much more challenging! You’ll be paying not only for food, but also for transportation, cleaning supplies, books, and other materials.
Adulting tip: Track your expenses
This is when a system of budget tracking comes in handy. Taking note of your expenses and how much you spend on each item or category will help you understand your spending habits. This practice will allow you to find the right balance between spending on your “needs” vs. “wants.” Aside from tracking your expenses, check out which student discounts you can avail!
Struggle #2: Too cold? Too hot?
West coast weather is definitely cooler than sunny Manila, but you don’t need to bundle up with scarves and sweaters! The east coast, however, is a different story.
Adulting tip: Pack the right clothes
Whether it’s too hot or too cold, layering is the way to go! Make sure to pack pieces you can layer instead of only packing your thick jackets. Stock up on undershirts and fuzzy socks, too!
Adulting tip: Beat the hot or cold weather with some handy dorm essentials
For your dorm room, go to your nearby Target or Walmart and buy a small fan for when it’s too hot and a big blanket for when it’s too cold.
Struggle #3: Living Alone
One of the big adjustments when you’re studying abroad is learning how to live alone. In short, adulting! Though you may have a lot of free time in college, it’s easy to get caught up in various extracurricular activities and hanging out with friends.
Adulting tip: Set a routine to do chores
Schedule a day for chores! Take a morning or afternoon off to tidy up your dorm, do laundry, and even prepare your meals. You’ll definitely be thanking your future self as you come home to a clean dorm after a long busy day.
Struggle #4: Culture shock
Everyone tells you that you will experience culture shock as you step foot into a new environment, but no one really tells you how to move past it. One way to do this is to embrace the fact that you are new to the neighborhood!
Adulting tip: Find a haven in your home away from home
Go around like a tourist until you find your favorite coffee shop. Try the different ice cream places nearby. Or simply try walking around your neighborhood. It also helps to find a great support system wherever you study abroad. Most universities have clubs and organizations tailor-fit to one’s interests. One great organization you can take part in would be your school’s Filipino organization. Cultural clubs offer a variety of events such as salu-salos, dance festivals, and even field trips! Nothing feels like home more than people who share the same values, interests, and experiences as you.
Struggle #5: Staying in touch with friends and family back home
Living far from home means being far away from friends and family. If you feel some #FOMO with your friends, don’t worry; chances are, they feel the same way, too!
Adulting tip: Send short and sweet messages to your loved ones even on ordinary days
Staying in touch doesn’t have to entail constantly messaging your loved ones every day. It can mean randomly updating your friends about your new classes or organizations, or even just simply sending photo updates! Instagram and Facebook are also great avenues to update friends and family on how you are doing. Your mom will definitely love a photo of you at your first game day!
It’s not going to be easy, but the lessons you will learn along the way will definitely make your study abroad experience worth it.