Going to a foreign place, away from home, especially for the first time and at a young age, incites a million different emotions. Excitement and anxiety would invariably top the list, if anybody were to make one. Rohit Sethi, Director, ESS Global-Study Abroad Consultant tells Zee Business Online, “Most of the early days are spent oscillating between exploring the new city and strolling meaninglessly as a means of distracting oneself from homesickness,” he says. Sethi shares 10 things no one will tell you about but you will wish you knew them beforehand when you go to study abroad:
1. Of money and other fiscal matters
Familiarize yourself with the denominations of the foreign currency in advance if you don’t want to devote your initial weeks in figuring out what amount will fetch you your bread, milk, and books. You should also learn about the currency exchange rate to make the transition and subsequent transactions less confusing.
Sethi says it is advisable to open a local bank account as soon as possible. Further, don’t forget to carry a sufficient amount of cash with you as locating ATMs in the new place will take you some time.
Also, always carry your international debit cards with you.
2. Complement your mother tongue with an aunty tongue
As part of research before setting out for your international study destination, ensure to become familiar, if not fluent, with the local language spoken there. Even in countries where English is the primary language of communication, there will be cities and places where people speak in local, regional languages. Learning a few necessary phrases is a good start.
3. Weather this or that?
Despite your best efforts, nothing can inform your degree of preparation when it comes to foreign weathers. While people will always try to share suggestions and tips on how to prepare for the weather, it won’t be until you enter the fray yourself that you can truly begin to appreciate all the major and minor differences in the weather of your hometown and your adopted city. Experience is the greatest teacher in this regard.
4. Be well-informed in advance
Make sure you collect some basic information regarding your study abroad destination. Gaining knowledge about the history and the current political scenario of the country and the city you will be spending your next few years in will help you settle in better with the natives. Also make sure that you contact the university personnel to receive relevant information like accommodation arrangement, study pattern, academic schedule, and so on.
5. On-arrival registration
The first thing you are supposed to do once you reach your study abroad destination is to register yourself with the internal affairs ministry within 24 to 48 hours. Registration will help you to legalise your stay in that country and may also help you later in getting temporary residency. However, there are different rules for different countries which you will have to understand thoroughly. The next important thing is to register yourself at the local Indian embassy. It is extremely important because there you will find people with whom you can hold conversations in your mother tongue which will soothe your homesickness to some extent.
6. Prepare yourself for 20,000 Kilowatts of culture shock
Expect surprises and prepare yourself beforehand to take them in good stead. There are a lot of factors that separate people from different places, such as their upbringing, their culture, and so on. What might be acceptable in one place might not be in another, and vice versa. Case in point: the legal drinking age in places like Paris and London is 18 years while in India it is 25 years.
7. Lasagne or No?
You might find that the food you find nearby is not to your liking. Therefore, it is always advisable to have a few recipes up your sleeve, something you can cook for yourself when you wish for something familiar.
8. Be aware of the country’s laws
It is indispensable that you familiarize yourself with the laws, code of conduct, and the etiquette that you are expected to follow in the place of your stay.
9. You will get lost – a lot
Carrying a map will help when you’re out exploring new cities, crowded tourist spots, or simply grocery shopping.
10. Homesickness will kick in
There will be times when you will miss your home, your friends, and even your favourite café. Whether you’re about to go to sleep or just randomly strolling through a park, homesickness can take a hold of you at any point. Social media will be your best friend to tackle this. Never hesitate to video call your parents or your best friends.