Moving abroad is a severe and challenging step in any person’s life. Unfortunately, for many, it involves stress and a long process of adaptation, which prevents you from immediately enjoying new experiences. Most people, having found themselves in an unfamiliar environment, face psychological problems that can be difficult to overcome. What can we say about students who often find themselves abroad without sufficient life experience and willpower? Let’s analyze the most pressing problems in the “question and answer” section.
Q: For many students, moving abroad and adjusting to another country is stressful and involves a number of psychological problems. Is this the case?
A: Usually, we come to a new country with our problems. Just in an unfamiliar environment, they can become more visible. Another common scenario is people who go to another country, hoping that it will make them happier. Usually, one move is not enough for that. So the questions that immigrants need to see a psychologist are enough, but they rarely differ from “normal” ones.
Q: How long does it take the immigrant, on average, to adapt to a foreign country, and what does it usually depend on?
A: It depends on what we mean by adaptation. I’d put it this way: a person adapts in a new environment when he finds his own zone of comfort and coziness in it. Someone learns the language, gets to know a new culture and people, and someone joins their own communities. Timing is unpredictable and individual. But if we talk about the average, I would say a year or two. It depends on age, reasons for moving, openness to new experiences, work, and study in a new place, financial comfort, and much more.
Q: What kind of psychological problems do young people and students most often face when they move abroad?
A: Except for the questions brought from home, young people are more likely to experience difficulties in communication. We are used to calculating “ours” based on the cultural code and behaving according to unwritten rules of friendly etiquette. In a new country, it turns out that people of a different culture communicate with each other in a different way. This can cause the experience of loneliness, alienation, inadequacy. Many people need time to make friends among foreigners.
Q: Is the fact that many students have constant or temporary psychological difficulties a sign that life and study abroad are not suitable for everyone? Or is it something else?
A: I think for almost everyone, the experience of living abroad can be very useful. The difficulties you face are an integral part of the experience, but your studies may be easier, just click here. Of course, there are people for whom going beyond the normal environment can be devastating, but they are, in my opinion, a minority.
Q: Can you identify indicative psychological types of students who are more and less suited to living and studying abroad, rather than in their own country?
A: If you’re interested in exploring the world and are not afraid to try new things, studying abroad will benefit you.
Among the “contraindications”, I could mention intolerance and arrogance. Coming to a strange country, people who have these qualities begin to disrespect the local population from the threshold.
Some people should pay special attention to planning their move. If you’re having a hard time making changes in the world around you, it’s a good idea to soften up the transition from one setting to another as much as possible: find similar accommodation, bring in important things, come in advance and “practice”, etc.
Instead of a conclusion, I would like to give you some practical pieces of advice. I recommend to keep them or to write out theses in a notebook or diary. They may seem simple, but believe that even these simple guidelines will help you at least not feel alone in a foreign country. What’s more, you’ll quickly become “local.”
Communicate with your family in moderate mode
Remember that you always came to another country and entered a foreign university to share your unique cultural experience and acquire a new one. Thus, if you will always talk on Skype with your relatives and chat on social networks with your friends, you will deprive yourself of the chance to meet interesting people and will remain an “alien” at a foreign university, and your longing for your home country will only increase.
Always ask if there’s anything you don’t understand
International students are usually very confused by the fact that the language of the country they have come to study in is not their native language, so they try to speak quickly and rarely ask back if they do not understand what their interlocutor says. This behavior can hurt your new friends (they may think you are not listening to them).
Remember the traditions and customs of your country
Some students are embarrassed to talk about their country to new friends, but it is wrong that you are from another country, making you unique. If you talk about your culture, values, and customs, your new friends will love you for it.
Talk to a lot of people regularly
Very often, international students join in groups and stay separate from the rest. Try to make as many friends as possible – residents of the country you have come to. They will make you feel at home in another country. They will also introduce you to the customs and traditions of the country, city, and university. These tips may help you avoid any embarrassing situations:
- On top of that, your foreign language skills will improve enormously.
- Become a member of any club or organization
- One of the most efficient and quickest ways to make new acquaintances at a foreign university is to make friends.
Each college and university has many interest clubs and organizations where new members are always welcome. The main thing is not to be afraid to leave the “comfort zone” and enjoy life at a foreign university.