How to Survive Studying Abroad

by Alice Jones

This is an era of globalisation where people move across the world on a regular basis. The moment may be for various reasons like education, work, or even leisure. Traveling to a foreign country is especially difficult for the first timers or uninitiated, as people will be following different cultures, food, and language. English is one of the popular languages across the world with more than 1.5 billion capable of conversing in the language. Yet, it is completely feasible to land in a place where there are little signs of English.

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Often, the first experience of traveling abroad comes in the form of education, as more and more students from around the world criss-cross the globe in order to find the best possible education. The journey may even take those students into a far-flung region with a completely alien language. Adapting to the culture or food is not the toughest elements an individual faces in the fight to survive in new surroundings, but the same cannot be said about language; an individual will struggle in a place with an unfamiliar language.

The struggles are especially profound in the case of a student, who will also help to use language for academic purposes. However, it is advisable not to give up an educational opportunity course due to language problems, as there are numerous benefits of traveling abroad and getting education. Here are some of the tips an individual can use to understand language when trying to pursue education in a foreign destination.

Keeping Notes

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It is extremely important for an individual to take a note and a pen to almost every location. Being in a new environment where almost everything is alien is certainly not easy, but life can be made so much easier with the assistance of note taking solutions. They can come in handy to remember the smaller details, which we often tend to forget quite easily; this could be a direction or a place where to get a favourite grocery. Even if you don’t understand the language, it is possible to take note of sign gestures.

Today, there are several hundred note taking apps available for smartphones. While they are all feature rich and capable of delivering an outstanding experience, they will not be able to replace the good-old method of taking notes using a pen and paper.

Hiring a Local Guide

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The first aspect that a student in a completely foreign scenario can do to get accustomed with the way of life is to get on a local tour. Almost every destination in the world has facilities in order to increase tourism, and one of those facilities happens to be the tourist guide.

The local guide will not only provide an insight into the various sightseeing opportunities in the place, but they would also provide an insight into the world of languages, culture, and tradition. The guides will also be eager to teach an individual some of the basic information about the language.

Even though modern times have witnessed a substantial number of travel apps cropping up almost every day, the good-old local guide are fast disappearing from the scenario. Yet, they hold a huge amount of information and knowledge.

Being Open Minded

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It is extremely important to remain open minded at all times – whether it is at a local destination or in a foreign place. The open minded people often tend to win an applause wherever they go. It is certainly admirable that an individual can take the decision to move to a destination where communication can be a huge problem. Even though communication is one of the important parts of the student life, embracing the change is a sign that the individual is being flexible and open minded.

Depending on the mode of stay, it is possible to enhance the language by interaction with the locals. Developing new language skills certainly does not happen overnight, and it also does not happen if the individual is too worried about change.

Understanding Local Etiquette

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A key part of getting in touch with the locals and enjoying the stay during the term of education – or even beyond – is heavily dependent on the individual understanding and adopting the local etiquette. Each culture will have different meanings for the same representation, and lack of knowledge about this element could even end up landing an individual into trouble. It is important to be aware about the various etiquettes at a new place before even thinking about trying them.

Certain hand gestures may be popular in certain parts of the world, but the same can be deemed as offensive in a different part of the world. It is important to be aware of these differences. For example, there are cultures where hugging a person and kissing them on the cheek is seen as a friendly gesture. However, it can be hugely offensive in conservative parts of the world.

Befriend Locals

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The biggest interaction for students in a foreign destination will be with their compatriots in the class. However, more interaction is essential for an individual looking to survive in a place that may have a completely alien language. One of the best steps towards learning the language and facets of the place is by interacting with the locals.

Forming a friendship with locals – it could be the neighbour or a street vendor – could be key towards quickly getting into the groove. At the same time, care should also be taken so as to ensure that the individual does not land in trouble with some unwanted friendship.

Grabbing a Vocabulary Book

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A great way to quickly adjust with the local language is by getting a vocabulary book. It will be of great assistance to teaching everything from a pronunciation to the correct colloquialisms. Merely buying the book and reading it for a short period of time will not be enough to achieve some kind of master over the foreign language.

It is advisable to read and refer it often in order to keep it fresh in the memory. There are numerous options for an individual to get hold of a vocabulary dictionary, and the availability of a huge number of online editions mean that the individual need not even buy it physically from a bookstore.

Learn the Local Language

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‘Learn the local language’ – This may seem like a simple statement, but it could be one of the hardest to achieve. Some individuals find it extremely easy to master a new language, but it can be a whole lot difficult for most offers. Hopefully, there are a long list of online options that enable an individual to learn the language. One can even take classes on the Internet in order to learn the language, and this is advisable even before stepping into the new environment.

Exploring the Place

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Rather than just to be concentrated on the education, a student can quickly immerse himself in the foreign environment by exploring the place. The growth of technology with the availability of maps makes it possible for a student to explore the region on his own.

However, it is advisable to engage with the locals as much as possible so as to increase the language skills. Almost every region in the world is worth visiting for a unique feature. These can be found out using the plethora of travel apps available today.


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