One of the many amazing things about college life is getting to experience a lot of opportunities. Some students find leadership opportunities in joining organizations while others go beyond their comfort zone by studying abroad. And why shouldn’t they? Traveling to a whole different place with a unique culture and people sounds exciting to most people. But, at the same time, the idea can get really intimidating considering different factors: the cost, fear of missing out and the unknown, culture shock, and even convincing parents to let their child study abroad.
These factors may be some of the reasons why some students don’t want to take their college life to a different level. But if there’s a will, there’s a way. Let’s take a look at the common fears students have that’s stopping them from studying abroad and how to overcome these worries.
One of the immediate problems students fear about when studying abroad is how much money they’re going to shell out. From admission fees to daily allowances, one might think that it’s almost financially impossible to study abroad.
Although there are many expenses to consider, studying abroad can be financially viable through proper planning, self-discipline, and resourcefulness. Several scholarships from different countries are available for international students. Some schools even offer discounts, services, and on-campus job opportunities to students. Considering these cost-cutting options, it’s also important to stretch your allowance as much as you can and budget accordingly to your means.
Studying abroad may cost a lot, but think of it more as self-investment than a costly trip. In fact, some countries (like Hong Kong and Australia) give ample opportunities to non-local students to stay and work in the country after graduating!
Fear of the unknown
Living in another country can get daunting for most people. Students will have to adjust to different cultures, subcultures, weather, and food. Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out whether you actually qualify or the school you’re eyeing on is the best one for you.
Having a study abroad counselor (like UKEAS) can really help drive off these fears. UKEAS provides free and comprehensive consultations to students seeking to study abroad. Counselors can provide the appropriate recommendations for students in order for them to have the best experience. Once you understand and know your fears, the fear disappears.
For a lot of people, studying abroad also means leaving behind your main support system back home. Hanging out with friends and family won’t be as easy as it used to before leaving your home country. Despite this, technology has made it more accessible to keep in touch with your loved ones while you live the life of an international student.
Talking to people on-screen can never really replicate the warmth of physical presence. Thus, looking for a community that fits your ideals and interests can somehow make your journey feel less lonely. Connect with the Filipino community in your campus and share your troubles with them. Being around people who knows exactly what you feel can help lessen the feeling of being homesick.
For parents, it can get nerve-wracking to let their kids go on their own in another part of the world. With volatile protests and political unrest in the headlines, it’s difficult for parents to be convinced to send their children overseas. For students, embarking on a solo journey might mean that no one has your back when an unfortunate incident happens. It’s not surprising that safety is the utmost concern of both parents and the student.
It’s understandable to have these concerns. But the probability of being a victim of an attack shouldn’t be what scares us. Knowing this, it’s still important to learn about the local laws, customs, and embassies that could make the experience more safe and comfortable. In any case, students should stay vigilant of common crimes like pickpocketing since this kind of crime virtually happens anywhere in the world. Students should also consider living with a host family so parents can have a clear contact in case something goes awry.
In terms of health, it’s highly advisable to get an international travel insurance for your (and your parents’) peace of mind. Pack enough medication that can last throughout your study abroad journey to save up on medical expenses abroad.
Getting started to study abroad can feel overwhelming at first, but it’s guaranteed that the journey will be worth it. Still unsure about studying abroad? UKEAS Philippines can answer more of your questions at the Study World Education Fair on September 27 at UP Visayas Campus, Iloilo City, September 29 at Cebu Parklane Hotel, and September 30 at Shangri-La Makati. Get the chance to gather all the insights you need from experts abroad.