I went to Tokyo, Japan, to study abroad during the fall semester of my junior year. I was so happy to get out of the small liberal arts bubble I had lived in for the past two years. I was ready to have adventures and make memories in a city that was nothing like Los Angeles.
Don’t get me wrong, my last two years at my home college weren’t bad, but I have been eager to study abroad since I started applying to colleges. Before I went to Japan, I researched what to pack, what to expect from the people there, and how to brush up on my Japanese so I would feel ready to start my program.
Even though I didn’t think the semester would be perfect, I made it sound that way because I was excited and wanted to travel. While studying abroad, students might feel homesick or forget that they are supposed to be studying. Even if your semester abroad isn’t perfect, there are always things you can do to make it better.
Missing your home
About half of the people who took part in a study about how studying abroad affects mental health said they felt homesick at some point, even though feeling homesick might make you want to call home more often or look online to see what your family and friends are doing.
This will ruin your time with your new group and make you want to stay away from them. Try doing new things and only call home once a week or every other week to stop feeling homesick. It would be best if you also didn’t spend too much time on social media.
Not fast learning up the local language.
When people go abroad to study, they often learn a foreign language for the first time. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and like you’re not learning the language as fast as you had hoped.
You could speed it up by being patient and sure of yourself, among other things. First, too much English can make it hard to learn a new language. Because of this, students should try to use as little English as possible, even when not in class.
Identifying foods one like
One participant in my program had such trouble finding food that would satisfy his stomach that he had to move in with another family. Because everyone reacts differently to food, it’s best to learn about the food ahead of time and talk to your study program if you’re worried about your diet.
Choosing the nearest McDonald’s or American-style restaurant is your best bet if you’re a picky eater, but you should also try the local fare. But if you’re worried that the food might make you sick, don’t be afraid to ask what’s in it.
Making friends with a group
Even though it can be fun to explore yourself, it can be just as fun to make memories with a group of people you know well. People in my program were interested in different things, making it hard for me to find a big group to hang out with.
I get to know people better one-on-one than in a group, so I tried to hang out with them one-on-one. I also met people outside of the group I was with when I studied abroad. It would be easier to make friends if you didn’t have to stick to your study abroad program. Just use common sense and think about safety like you would at home.
Dry on the spiritual front
You might feel lost or like your emotional needs aren’t being met when you move to a new place. During these times, asking a trusted friend or family member for help is important. If they think it will help, students should also talk to a counselor.
Poor time management
When you study abroad and get into a routine, it’s easy to feel like time is running out. The time and energy you have to go to new places, go to school, and attend club meetings might not seem sufficient. A weekly schedule can help you balance by showing you everything you must do.
If you think something is causing you too much stress and you need to get rid of it, get rid of it! Also, remember that you shouldn’t be proud of being busy. Even though you’re having fun in a new place, you can still take some time for yourself and unwind.
When we go abroad to study, we often forget that we are students first, so we put our classes and grades at the end of our list of things to do. Classes were a lot easier for me than they were at my home campus, so I was tempted to put off my work so I could go sightseeing instead.
I could do it at the last minute, and my grades wouldn’t go down because it was easier. Some people were so busy that they forgot to go to class because they were too busy. Please do your homework as soon as you can after you get it. This will help you get good grades without giving up having fun (or starting them). Also, if you can help, don’t miss class. Missing a lot of classes can hurt your grade.
Souvenirs, tickets to events, and shipping There are many things to buy when traveling! Most students can’t get a part-time job in their new city, so they often run out of money.
Don’t bring your debit card with you when you go out; only bring a small amount of cash. This will help you not spend too much money. You can also get apps that help you keep track of your money and see where it goes on your phone.
Unable to pack your suitcase full of your items
This happened to me because I usually travel in a too heavy suitcase. You could leave the things you can’t bring with a friend, send them home, or buy a new “can’t case.” Students should find out how much it costs to ship a package and how much their airline will charge for a bag that is too heavy so they can choose the cheapest option.
I don’t want to go back home.
Even if things go wrong, most students don’t want to go home at the end of their time studying abroad. Even though it’s hard to leave your new friends behind, this gives you a reason to work even harder on the language or stay in touch with the people you met so you can come back and have an even better time