Guide To Studying Abroad For Indian Students

The minute you land in a new country, you feel overwhelmed, excited, and confused. Absorbing the newness in the surroundings and anticipation of the future keeps you nervous and sleepless. While you may be captivated by the new chapter of your life, it is essential to work on the foundation. If you’re wondering how to study outside of India, we’ve got you covered!

You will receive loads of advice about the things you need to pack, book flights, select courses, and deal with language barriers. Remember, there will be bouts of homesickness and feelings of loneliness creeping in some days. What you need is some pep talk, a bit of courage,  guidance, and a whole lot of optimism. And this article is meant to give you all that!

Crossing cultures

You are embarking on one of the most significant experiences of your life. Living and studying abroad and experiencing the culture in the new land may be hazy and dramatic at the beginning.

All the stories of people studying abroad may force you to question yourself – should I move out of India?

If you ask us for a suggestion, we would say YES! The pleasures and confusions of living abroad rejuvenate your soul and give you life-long lessons. It may flip your personality, helping you to get a better outlook on life.

One of the first things you have to think about when moving abroad is the transition of cultures. You will notice stark cultural differences at your destination. This may frustrate or confuse some students.

However, learning to adapt to a new culture will help you crawl and find your space in the new domain. You cannot adjust overnight. Instead, there are some things that you have to read and some aspects that you learn with experiences.

At first, you may experience a culture shock.

What is a culture shock?

Culture shock is defined as follows:

“A set of emotional reactions to the loss of perceptual reinforcement from one’s own culture, to new cultural stimuli which have little or no meaning, and to the misunderstanding of new and diverse experiences” (Peter Adler).

The process of identifying, understanding, and adapting to the changes of a new climate is termed culture shock.

In our ordinary environments, we are habitual of the behaviour and norms. This creates a feeling of belonging. But, as soon as you move abroad, the people’s culture, food, and attitude in your surroundings aren’t the same.

Even drastic differences in food and culinary traditions can cause a culture shock. Staying away from home and realizing the differences between the ingredients or lack of comfort food can stimulate strong emotions.

It doesn’t mean a literal shock but feelings of helplessness and disorientation. There are four stages of culture shock:

  • Initial Euphoria – During the early stages of the move, people are fascinated by the new culture and happy with what they witness.
  • Hostility and Irritation – Gradually, people start showing frustration at the new climate. The disorganization and chaos are undigestable.
  • Gradual Understanding – Eventually, the expat starts relaxing and adjusting to the changed surroundings. They begin to have a more positive outlook.
  • Biculturalism – Finally, the order of things starts making sense. You miss your home, but you make new friends and start loving your new home.

Some students may experience depression due to culture shock. At some point, if you feel that you are on the verge of stress and extreme depression, don’t suppress it. It would help if you visited your director, college counsellor, or volunteer coordinator.

Entering a new culture is like two icebergs crashing into one another. The real clash happens underwater, where the values and ideologies clash.

How to cope with the culture shock?

Most of us are worried about the strategies to leave for our desired programs. We keep looking about how to move out of India and should I move out of India.

Amid this planning, we forget the crucial part of this move – how will I cope with the culture shock?

Following are some of the ways to adapt to the new culture and stay away from culture shock:

1.   Learn more about your host country

The first thing you should do is research your destination. Read travel guides, watch videos on YouTube, and speak to people who have been there.

It is always helpful to do your homework before packing your bags. Learn the etiquette and values of people at your destination. Understand what they consider rude and polite. Learning about the basics of this country, such as its celebrations, events, politics, and weather, helps you wriggle into it easily.

2.   Seek advice from the program organizer

You will have a point of contact whether you are in the new country to study or volunteer. It would help if you asked the program advisor beforehand what difficulties they face and how they coped.

Each country has different nuances, so you are not likely to face the same challenges in France as in Malaysia. The staff on the advisory boards is always ready to assist new students.

3.   Set goals and targets for yourself

Studying abroad is an exciting experience. You can do many things sideways to expand your perspective on the world.

It would help if you look up to things you want to see, eat, and explore in the new country. So, as you search about how to move out of India, find out what you could do at your destination.

You can even go to visit the neighbouring countries during the holidays. To sum it up, living in a different country could be an enriching experience with adequate planning. All it takes is some courage to stop moping about what you miss and get out there to dive into an entirely different world.

4.   Seek support from other international students

If you are a part of a college or university where students from other countries have also shifted, you should try to befriend them.

Ask them how they feel and how they cope with the new atmosphere. You could learn from them and share your feelings. You can make some excellent friends during this process and make memories together.

Talking about the local culture and ways to beat the culture shock helps understand the country and its residents.

5.   Stay patient

Adapting to the new culture needs patience. You can’t expect to be the brick in their wall within a day. It is a fantastic learning curve that will allow you to navigate the new situation. You need confidence and knowledge to do so.

Pat yourself on the back for showing patience and not losing control now and then.

6.   Swim in the new culture like a pro!

Studying abroad could be daunting to deal with the personal and social changes of studying abroad. If you follow the strategies listed above, you may find it easier to fit yourself into the new culture.

Apart from the emotional and social challenges, you should know of the financial troubles of moving abroad. Maintaining your budget in the new land is problematic if you haven’t handled the finances before.

Finance tips

Close up of executive woman hands calculating with calculator on a desk at the office

For starters, you need to learn some tips for saving money. We have listed a few for you here:

1.   Open an online savings account

It would be best if you were clever with the money matters.

Look at where you spend and where you can cut the costs. Small savings could help you collect the fee and spend on extracurriculars.

You can check out financial planning apps like Mint to help you sort your budget.

2.   Save the change

It could be tough to put the big bills in your savings account. You can save the change you receive by tossing it into a box or a piggy bank.

Bear in mind – these dimes can make a huge difference as you may be able to afford a luxury meal at month’s end or have a hangout with friends.

3.   Cut the transportation costs

This one is legit and healthy in some cases. For instance, you can choose to bicycle to the university instead of calling an Uber every day.

You could also walk to the mall or your friend’s place rather than taking a cab there.

4.   Find a job

This is the most common and effective way to save money when studying abroad.

You can opt for jobs like walking neighbour’s dog, tutoring kids, and lawn mowing. These are menial jobs, but they are easy-to-do, and you earn well at the end of a month.

Living overseas isn’t like a weekend getaway in the neighbourhood. You are on an emotional rollercoaster when you transfer yourself to a new land.

Nonetheless, all the ups and downs here will give you brilliant lessons. It paves the way for you to explore the world and your talents. Initially, the homesickness and feelings of loneliness could compel you to shut yourself in your dorm. But, let’s not crumple ourselves as we made this decision with lots of hope and positivity. If you buck yourself up, you will witness that studying abroad was one of the best decisions you made for yourself!

Feeling ready to make the big move?

Head over here to begin your journey
Or start ticking off your relocation checklist here

Still unsure?

Explore more destinations here 

Not a partner yet? Join us here!
New user? Start your relocation journey
New user? Start your relocation journey
Not a partner yet? Join us here!