Tag Archives: Homesick

Disadvantages of studying abroad

Yes, studying abroad has not only advantages! It would have been too simple: you go to a  foreign country and everything is wonderful, people are nice, your home is beautiful and so on. Lies!!! Studying abroad is not (always) so nice. You might have to face one or even more problems while living abroad and see some of the disadvantages of studying abroad.

#1 Disadvantage of studying abroad: You are not a genius

Reality is hard, I know. Studying in another country does not mean you will learn English or other languages magically. I remember the father of one of my friends: he was British and uses to live in France for 3 years. But he could not speak French because he never tried to learn it. Of course living abroad will help you to understand the language better, but if you do not talk, you will not improve.  That is why you need to pay attention and study, but be reassured because you live in that country it should make study easier and faster.

#2 Disadvantage of studying abroad: You are alone

Even if our society is more and more communicative and even if you are closer to your family and friends thanks to Skype, msn, Facebook and others, it still does not mean it is any easier to study abroad half way round the world. Are any of these people are with you in that unknown country? Nope. That is why you could feel alone and sad sometimes. At the beginning, culture shock will not help you to feel integrated: you will need an ‘adjustment period’. You should create new habits, discover the place you are going to live, meet people for example. I cannot hide to you that it will be hard sometimes. You could feel excluded in the country where you are and not have the social network yet that can give you support and strength. And if, god forbid, something bad might happen back home, you might not have the chance to be with your family and friends and have to stay in that country with your pain and alone.

#3 Disadvantage of studying abroad: Reality can be treacherous

First step in that new country and everything seems weird. Differences can be huge between Europe and Asia or small between France and Belgium. Standard of living can be different: more poor people in Eastern Europe than in Western Europe or you cannot expect the same way of life in India than in United States. You will have to face other behaviors, and some can make you feel uncomfortable if you are not used to them: in United State people are going to speak easily with you in the bus, whereas in Europe (read Paris) if you talk to a  stranger you will probably get an angry look or might even scare people away. Everyone knows that Chinese people are different from Americans, Americans are different from Germans, some differences are obvious others are more subtle. We can name that cultural obstacle. Moreover the food is different, you will have lot of difficulties to find local French cheese in US, or local Italian wine etc. if the culture is different, the food will be too, certainly. Getting used to these cultural differences can be a real disadvantage for your study abroad experience.

#4 Disadvantage of studying abroad: Nothing is free

Another big disadvantage of studying abroad can be the costs. Studying abroad can be really expensive. First, it will depend on your major and university or school you choose, and then it will depend on the country, the city and the place where you want to live (big house or small room?). Moreover most countries do not allow foreign student to work, so you need to have money before you arrive in the country or have someone from home supporting you. The question you have to ask yourself is: can I afford to study abroad?

#5 Disadvantage of studying abroad: One year lost?

For some countries or universities your study abroad credits might not count towards your degree, which of course means your study time will increase, costs will go up and you might be longer dependent on your parents. These  are major disadvantages of studying abroad. Before you leave and join the next study abroad program, you have to considerate this: are you ok with adding one more year to your studies?  Is it useless? High school students who take part in exchange programs abroad often say that they have already studied what they are taught  abroad or that the class is too difficult because nothing is done to support their special needs. Moreover some say they are excluded, a kind of racism or sometimes they are a star at school. But in both case it can be really hard to live.

# 6 Disadvantage of studying abroad: Hard to come back “home”

When you are going to study abroad you only think about the time you are going to spend away. But you forgot that one day you will have to (well, most of us) come back to your beloved home country. It can be as hard to live in another country as to come back to your own. It is called reverse culture shock. But there might be even more disadvantages of studying abroad: What if you fall in Love and have to leave the love of your life because your visa expires or what if your boyfriend or girlfriend from back home broke up with you while you were gone? It will only really hit you once you are back and see all the places where you used to spend time with him or her.

#7 Disadvantage of studying abroad: Last but not least: Your Mom will nag you

Do not laugh! You know as well as me that moms can be really possessive. Oh my little baby is far away, how is s/he doing? She will nag you: you will receive e-mails with hundreds of question and if you do not answer as fast as she wants, retaliation could be horrible. She will create her own Facebook account in the aim to know everything you don’t  want to share with her. Each time you will be on Skype, she will call you. As if your life was hers. You will need to establish rules.

As far as I am concerned I think study abroad is a great opportunity and experience and I am studying abroad since last September. Of course I have no thought about disadvantages when I left, but I certainly had to face one or the other. But at the end, there are more advantages than disadvantages. That is why if you can study abroad, I will say you: “Go! But be prepared”. Do not think that everything is black or white, that the country you are going in, is the greatest of the world or that your home country is the best. Do not have prejudices or false ideas about things. Have only a children view to be curious and surprised and enjoy.

Advantages of Studying Abroad

If you read through this article and got a bit overwhelmed with all the things that could go wrong, whether you should take the plunge and study abroad or not, check out this book: The Global Student is the perfect book to show you that that living abroad is a great way to spark your career and see how many advantages living and studying abroad really has.

5 Tipps when you miss home

5 Tipps when you miss home

So, you made it. Finally you live all by yourself in a foreign country. Your dream of living abroad has finally come true. After all the research you have done, all the talks to your parents to let you go study abroad, all the savings to pay for your time abroad and now, all you want to do is go back home?

Well, first of all, let me tell you that being homesick in the beginning and sometimes during your stay abroad is perfectly normal. Most people that I know, who went abroad for an extended period of time, have experienced exactly what you are experiencing right now – homesickness. You just arrived at your dream cryingdestination and you were looking for fun, adventure, excitement, new friends and now you are hiding from the world, spending you time crying your face off. But here my promise: IT WILL GET BETTER! Everyday, you will feel less homesick enjoy your time like you had planned. Let me show you how…

1. Get out of your room

Whether you are already living in the dorm, with a host family or by yourself: Get dressed and get out of your room. Explore the university or the city  you now live in. Take in the smells and watch the people. How are they different from your home country? Take your iPod with you and listen to your favorite music and try to take in as many impressions as you can.

2. Write you parents/boyfriend/girlfriend/friends

callinghomeRather than calling, you should consider writing your family, friends or your lover back home, you should consider writing. Tell them about what you have seen during your first trip around your new premises, the people, the food, everything. The reason why I recommend writing over a phone call, is because a phone call lets you be closer to your loved ones back home and especially in the beginning, this will make it harder, not easier. Also think about writing you very personal feelings in a journal.  When you call your parents and can’t barely speak because you are crying so much, you will only worry them and while you feel better every day, they are still thinking it was the biggest mistake to let you go abroad.

3. Organize stuff

Try to keep busy and get all the things done, that need to be taken care of, such as opening a bank account, registering at the university, find out where to buy books and what the fastest way to the library is. As in most cases when you are sad, try to keep busy and try not to think about home and how much you miss your loved ones. Put the thoughts of being homesick out of your head and once you get through the first couple of days, it won’t be as hard.

4. Go out and Party

partyYes, I know, right now, you probably don’t feel like a party-animal, rock star or dancing queen. Try to connect with some other Newbies at your university and explore and have a good time. Force yourself to go out and experience the culture and the country. That is the reason why you came here in the first place, right? And I will promise you one thing: You will regret it for the rest of your life if you don’t make the most of your adventure abroad.

5. Explore, connect, explore together!!!

The more you get out there and get familiar with your new surroundings, the faster you will feel at home and comfortable. Of course, you can do that yourself, but even better, if you can connect with other people and explore together. However, it is important that you connect NOT ONLY with people from your home country or other international students. Especially in the beginning this is very hard, I understand this, but once you have your group of friends and they are all from your home country, it will be very hard to find local friends. You are addicted to coffee? Try to find a nice little coffee shop that lets you endulge your need for it and utilize your language skills to order your coffee. When this goes well, may be it encourages you to strike up a conversation with another coffee lover. Love to surf the net? Try to find a nice internet cafe, even if you have wireless in your new home. It will help you to get out of the house and be among locals.

I hope these 5 tipps help you to get over you homesickness, adjust better and get over the first hard days a little bit better. Most people feel homesick and most people also get over it in a shorter or longer period of time. Good luck for your adventure abroad. Let it begin now!

Did you like this post? Read more on how to make the most of your stay abroad!