There a very few experiences that can give you opportunities in abundance like studying abroad. The task of choosing to study in a foreign university is a task and chance in itself and this comes with opportunities to learn, experience, fail and succeed on your own terms and more. However, if you don’t have a plan and a little foresight into your time abroad, the time and chance will slip through your hands like sand through a sieve. This is why it is important to make the most of your opportunities abroad and here’s a short guide how.
Make the right choice:
Choosing the right study-abroad program for your goals and abilities is the first step. While India is abound with various modes and options for students to be able to pursue their academic elsewhere in the world, options of quality are but few. Manipal’s International Center for Applied Sciences is one such reputed institution that has been turning the students’ study abroad dreams into a reality for a long time now. ICAS runs an International Transfer Program that allows students to finish their first two years of college in India and the other two in an international university of their choice. Students also graduate with a degree from the respective foreign university. This program has proven to be flexible, competent, sensible and affordable for students of all backgrounds.
After having chosen and accepted into your study abroad option, it is extremely necessary to do your groundwork on it. Not just the university, your host town, culture, people and the country itself. This will help you garner knowledge on the type of academic and personal exposure you are about to gain. With this knowledge you will also be able to identify the opportunities available for you, both personally and professionally. Organize yourself with this knowledge – plan out how and when you can make use of these resources and chances available to you.
Set goals for yourself:
From the information you’ve just gained, give yourself goals that you have to achieve in your time abroad. Whether you want to master a foreign language, dive into a new major, or work toward your dream degree, don’t take the “study” out of “study abroad.” This isn’t to say you can’t have fun while overseas – no doubt, there will be loads of it – but remember that your program is, above all, a chance to obtain important skills that will serve you in your future career.
Keep your mind open:
This tip is often given – and for good reason: It’s essential! Don’t arrive in your adopted country with a head full of stereotypes. Instead, open your eyes, relax, and breathe in the culture – you’ll likely see that many of your assumptions about life and studying overseas were incorrect. Resist the urge to think or say, “Well, in my country we do things differently,” but go along for the ride instead.
Say yes to new things and learn from the Locals:
Whenever you’re not sure how to behave in a new situation, take a look around you: The locals are your best guides! When you first arrive, it’s a good idea to ask your host family or teachers about their culture’s customs and unspoken rules, and definitely continue to do so throughout your stay. You may have gone to the United States or Australia to pursue your engineering abroad or your B.tech abroad or improve your knowledge in Artificial Intelligence – but don’t block out other experiences. Maybe you’ll be invited to cooking classes, or a hike in a world-famous national park. By saying yes to as many new experiences as you can, you’ll take home an arsenal of different skills you hadn’t imagined.
Expand your social circle:
After class, don’t just run straight for the other study abroad students but make an effort to also befriend locals. Having at least one local friend will open doors up for you that not only mean a better understanding of your adopted culture but can also lead to invitations to special events, sports games, and typical festivals.
Take up a job:
Finding yourself some employment while you continue to study abroad might be the best way to dip your toes into the work culture of your host country. No matter the job, certain fundamental work ethics and processes remain throughout the culture and this might be your best chance to explore them. If you are planning on working in the host country after your studies, having previous work experience will come in handy. If you can’t find the time to take up a job, try volunteering at your university or with other study abroad groups and organizations.
Don’t lose sight of why you are abroad in the first place. There will be times when your workload is high, you feel homesick, or just don’t want to study at all: But put your head down and dive right in! While it feels like a cliché, this experience overseas truly is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and if you take advantage of your time, you’ll enjoy the benefits for years.