There are some things you do, and some things you do not expect to learn when studying abroad. If you have been following us, then you know the standard things that studying abroad will teach you. Apart from the obvious, such as gaining knowledge in the field you have chosen to study, you can be sure that studying abroad will teach you about budgeting, making friends, dealing with difficult emotions, and the like. However, international students also report learning things that they did not expect to learn whatsoever!
We have decided to write this article for those of you looking to study abroad and give you more of an idea of what lessons await you. The sometimes unexpected nature of these new findings can take people by surprise, so we want to prepare you a little bit and give you an idea of what to expect. We hope that it makes you even more excited about your prospective studies and future life in a foreign country!
One of the things you do not expect to learn when studying abroad is all about different kinds of public transport. The thing with public transport is that it varies from place to place, so one is often forced to learn how to use new forms of it, and do so quickly. Whether we are talking about buses, trams, the subway, or even public bicycles, figuring out the local way of easily getting around will be essential to having a good time at your new home.
Learning about these different types of public transport is quite useful because it can help you expand your ideas of what is possible as well as give you reference points for further travel. This is quite useful for those of you who are trying to learn as much about the world as possible.
One of the biggest problems that international students face is finance management. Being away from one’s home country, having to budget and think in a foreign currency is far from easy. We even have an entire blog article dedicated to it, and one of the things we mention is that cooking for oneself is a great way to save money.
Therefore, one of the things you do not expect to learn when studying abroad is cooking, but not just any cooking. Being half-forced to come up with creative and delicious ways to satiate your cravings while living on a budget will really flex your culinary abilities, so much so that many international students return home with an in-depth understanding of what makes food delicious and how to achieve that. This is an incredibly useful life skill that will most likely never cease being relevant.
If there is one thing that studying abroad will probably teach you without you even trying, it is how much stronger you are than you thought. Studying abroad can place a lot of stress on you. On top of dealing with your university courses, you need to learn how to navigate life in a foreign country, from finding the right accommodation to learning where the main locations around you are. All of this can challenge your sense of confidence and really shake up everything you know.
However, should you surmount these challenges successfully, you will discover a new strength within yourself. Compared to this experience, other life issues will seem smaller to you than to some other people. With this wind blowing in your sails, you will go through life knowing that you can face difficulties and come out on the other end.
Especially for those of us who like organization and order, this is one of the most unpleasant things you do not expect to learn when studying abroad. This lesson is closely tied to the last one in that it is born out of the chaos that often comes with trying to figure things out when you first move to a new country. For the first couple of weeks, it can be difficult to find your footing. Things may continuously shift and change.
All of this has the effect of teaching you how to be comfortable with uncertainty. You learn to go with the flow and appreciate the more spontaneous side of life. This can also have the more valuable function of teaching about impermanence and appreciating life in the moment. Perhaps the best way to put it is that studying abroad ends up making you wiser.
Finally, a lot of us drift through life passively and accept the things that are offered to us without considering what we truly want. One of the things you do not expect to learn when studying abroad is just how much more proactive certain situations demand us to be. Studying abroad will quickly teach you the art of going for what you want and making yourself heard. It is sometimes even necessary if you want to succeed academically.
This has great effects on our ability to stand up for ourselves. We stop being a pushover and learn to establish firm, clear boundaries with people, an invaluable soft skill that will help us in our future careers. To some of your old friends back home, you might even seem like a completely different person!
When it comes to studying abroad, it is not always easy to know what kind of lessons you might learn. After reading this blog article, you will hopefully be a little more prepared for what awaits you. If you are feeling a little intimidated by all of this—do not be!
All of these lessons will, in one way or another, help you lead a better life.
And, if you are still feeling like you might need some extra help, then take a look at some of our other articles and pages that focus on specific topics!