Studying abroad is a serious decision, which can be threatening for those, who don`t know what to expect. I`ve been traveling since 16. When I decided to study in France, I felt ambiguous. This country was unknown to me, its culture differs much and what is more, I didn`t know the language. I knew about culture shock from my own experience. I studied French some weeks before leaving. When I had free time, I tried to remember metro stations.
To relax – is my own advice for everyone, who will be even in my place. You are thrown into a foreign country without anything, you have always necessary orientations to guide you, there are always people you can call in case you have problems or just need to talk. Moreover, there`s a group of other foreign students, who can be your company as well. If you want, you can discover the country on your own, or you can do this with your group. The only thing to remember is to do what makes you feel comfortable. You are to consider some things to get more satisfaction.
Educational aspect of studying abroad
Of course, while being abroad you should pay much attention to your studying. Still, try to get closer to your mentors and professors. They appreciate when students wonder about the culture and traditions of their country. Don`t be afraid to ask about interesting places you can eat it, places to visit, things you should compulsory do while staying there. My international professors helped me change my opinion considering new and unknown things, unfamiliar isn`t always dangerous, it`s just different. And this gives us a chance to think the other way and from the other angle.
Get assimilated into the host country
It`s proved that your experience will be much better if you blend in with the foreign country. When I was in Paris, it was easy to notice the foreigner in the crowd. Make some researches considering the culture of your host country, read about people`s behavior etc. Leave things, which are not common for that foreign country at home and this will help you avoid stares from local people and, of course, you will avoid pickpockets.
Practice the language
The only word I knew while going abroad was: Bonjour! By the end of a trip, I was able to take part in some conversations and make an order. There were students who took a semester of French before going abroad. But they couldn`t improve their language knowledge as they didn`t leave their comfort zone of other Americans, they didn`t have a chance to practice French. My advice is to speak the language of the country you are going to even if it`s difficult and you are afraid of mistakes. This will help you to adapt quickly. You should hold a pocket dictionary, which will translate words for you. Try to ask locals for directions, make orders using the foreign language. This will make your studying experience brighter. Moreover, you can celebrate your achievements every time when you learn a new word, or when you manage to get what`s on billboard. You should keep calm, be patient and fully enjoy the experience.
Get aware of the culture
Fully explore the culture of your host country. Don`t concentrate on your safe, just take into account the surroundings. Go and learn the city yourself. If you don`t want to do this alone, invite your friend. But you should agree to speak the foreign language only. Moreover, you can make friends with locals. Being in France, I found out that lots of people want to learn English. And I offered local to speak English to them while they speak French to me. You know, it works! You can visit some interesting and famous places with locals, have coffee together or just go to the park.
Make notes of your trip
It`s obvious you`d like to share the experience, emotions and feelings of your trip. But very often you just forget some moments and you have nothing to tell your parents and friends. It`s a good idea to have a notebook to write interesting places you`ve visited, people you`ve met, things you`ve seen. Moreover, you can note even famous people popular in your host country. Add your feelings and emotions. There are things I`ve forgotten from Paris, but when I open my notebook everything comes to my mind again and I feel the same emotions once again.
Studying abroad is an opportunity of the whole life. It taught me a lot. I felt minimum stress when got to the foreign country, still, the culture shock is normal and it soon disappears. Discover the country you travel to, learn new things and don`t be afraid of differences!