When you’re making the decision of studying in a different country for the first time, every piece of information counts. There are many great reasons for you to consider earning your undergraduate degree overseas, but the experience has its downsides as well.
Yes, you will be able to explore a foreign country and immerse yourself in new cultures but you will also be far from the comfort of your own home. Are you ready to face these potential setbacks when you study abroad?
Since it’s easier to make decisions when you’re better informed, here are some things you can expect to experience no matter where you choose to study abroad. Qummar Hayat, an international student from Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, came up with this list believing that it can help anyone decide whether or not studying abroad is for them.
How do you feel about independence?
Studying in a different country means honing some very important life skills. Get ready to brush up on — or even develop, let’s be honest — everyday skills like cooking, cleaning, and doing the laundry. You should be prepared to do these things for yourself — odds are no one else will.
Living far from family might also mean that you’ll be able to make decisions without their advice. Depending on how involved your family is with your decisions, this might either feel like unfamiliar territory or a welcome relief. Regardless, you can rest assured that this experience will teach you to be more independent. It will encourage you to make decisions by yourself and stand by them.
Qummar himself dreaded the idea of living alone in a new country. However, he knew that the opportunity to study abroad was too good to pass up. Thinking of how an education from a prestigious university overseas could set him up for a better future, he decided to leave home and proceed with his studies in Vietnam.
How prepared are you to adapt to new environments?
Be prepared to explore different kinds of culture if you’re thinking about studying in a different country. Sometimes, even familiar things will be done differently. The way classes are taught and graded may differ from what you’re used to as well.
Expect culture shock and be prepared to learn how to cope with it so that you can enjoy the study abroad experience fully. Having an open mind will definitely allow you to adapt to the differences in environment faster. Embrace every opportunity you get to expand your horizons!
“It’s a small country but even in 2 years, I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface.”
When he was still considering studying in a different country, Qummar searched for videos of places he wanted to go to. Seeing videos of Vietnam intrigued him and eventually led him to enroll at HCMUT. However, those videos he watched were just the beginning of his growing appreciation for the culture, food, and hospitality shown to him by the Vietnamese locals.
Are you prepared to build an international network of friends?
You might find it difficult to shake off homesickness while you’re studying abroad. If you experience this, consider getting into extracurricular activities at your university. This way, you get to meet and befriend people with similar interests to yours. Find people who can share your study abroad experiences with you as they unfold! Who knows, they could even widen your professional network internationally.
Qummar is grateful that HCMUT classes are 100% taught in English because it allowed him to have a common means of communication with his classmates. The university also hosts various extracurricular activities and Qummar was able to meet his international friends through them.
So is studying in a different country the right decision for you?
Only you can answer that. We hope this article was able to help, even just a bit! In the meantime, Qummar has one final tip for those interested in becoming an international student: find something that personally interests you and enroll in it. You can read more about Qummar’s study abroad experience in this blog.