I guess everyone’s experience studying abroad will be different, but personally, I loved it. I’ve studied abroad in the UK back in 2013 with Immerse Education, and then again in 2016 when I attended University in Japan. I’ll try to answer this question based on my own experiences. Here are some of the main things I felt when I studied abroad:
Naturally, one of the first things I felt when I studied abroad was a sense of excitement. You’re thrown into a completely new culture. There are new surroundings to explore, new foods to eat, new kinds of people to meet – it’s an adventure, to say the least.
But with all those changes comes culture shock. If you’re studying in a country that’s not so different from your own, this might not be too much of a big deal. But if you’re studying somewhere with a totally different culture, prepare for culture shock in your first few weeks. It’s scary, but you’ve just got to suck it up and get through it, you get past it eventually.
One of the hardest parts about studying abroad is the academic side of things. While you’re getting used to your new home, you have to keep up your academic performance, which can be difficult. It’s even more difficult if you’re trying to learn a new language while you’re there. That being said, if you work hard, it’s not a problem. In fact, I’ve noticed that a lot of international students who are studying abroad get better grades than local students as they work harder.
When you study abroad, you lose your existing social network. Most of your friends and family will be back home, so you have to make brand new friends. This is so important. If you don’t make an effort to make friends, it can be lonely. Join in events, speak to your classmates and roommates, and join clubs if you can.
All that being said, I think it really depends on where you study, the academic institution you study with, and how you approach it. If you’re resilient, you plan ahead carefully, choose the right school, and make an effort to integrate into the country you study in, I’m sure you’ll have a whale of a time!