How These 4 Challenges You Face While Studying Abroad Prepare You For Life!
Everyone who has gone out of India to study abroad describe the entire experience as life-changing. Studying abroad, outside India, not just gives you access to quality education but also changes the way you look at things, handle difficult situations and tackle problems.
"Studying abroad" would bring to mind imageries of exploring the new country over weekends, trying out new cuisines, making new friends from different countries and generally having a good time. But in reality, it is a bumpy ride which requires a lot of adjustments.
So here's a look at the 4 most common challenges faced by Indian students while studying abroad, and how overcoming these problems will prepare you for life!
1. Doing everything on your own
Indian kids in general are an overprotected and spoilt lot, brought up with a lot of pampering! We're not used to doing any household chores and most of us can't cook even if our lives depended on it. All that was required from us during school days was to finish our homework. We're not even used to self-study since tuitions are the norm in India. All this changes when we go abroad. We're expected to do everything on our own and that can be overwhelming for most Indian students.
From getting groceries to preparing meals and keeping the house clean to budgeting your monthly expenses - studying abroad would actually teach you to act grown-up!. And to add to it, you also have to stay on top of your studies and sometimes balance a part-time job (usually as a teaching or research assistant). By the end of your course, you not only earn that foreign degree, but also emerge as a super-disciplined person and efficient multi-tasking ninja!
2. Surviving without family and friends
Going away to a new country to study also means going away from your support system - family and friends! After the initial euphoria of living in a foreign destination fades away, there would be days when you may feel down & out and all on your own - classic signs of homesickness! And even though your family and close friends may just be a Skype or Whatsapp video call away, it's never really the same without having them near you for real.
But slowly and gradually you learn how to adjust to the new environment and the new people, even making friends in the process (talk to your classmates, join clubs at the university) and before you know it, you would have got yourself a whole new support system in a foreign country! Living and learning in a new country will help you discover a whole new you, revealing your strengths and weaknesses in a way that might not have been possible when you were home in your comfort zone.
3. Appreciating a new culture & value system
The culture and value system in India differ widely from the ones you might encounter in countries like the US, the UK, Australia, NZ or any European countries. So it won' t be surprising if you experience anything between a mild to extreme case of culture shock! For instance, you would never address your faculty at college/ university in the US as "sir" or "ma'am", just "professor" would be enough. Similarly, you call everyone by their first name without adding an "uncle" or "aunty" as suffix! In India, if a teacher walks into the class, all the students are expected to stand up and greet them in unison. No such thing in the US! Students keep sitting doing their own thing until the class begins. This does not indicate any lack of respect. Language can also be a communication barrier, especially if you're studying in a country like France or Germany where English is not the local tongue. What is most challenging is the fact that your classmates could be from 10 other countries, each trying to adjust to the new routine and lifestyle, while holding on to their own native habits!
Getting exposed to such a wide variety of cultures teaches us the valuable lesson of learning to adjust and even appreciate the positive aspects of each culture. In the long run, we end up with a liberal, well-rounded and broad-minded personality helping us become global citizens!
4. Getting used to a new learning style
Indians, in fact Asians are used to a lecture-based, passive classroom environment, where they are told what to do. Raising too many questions is considered equivalent to questioning the authority of your teacher. On the contrary, American and European classrooms encourage active & animated discussions where independent learning is encouraged. Indian students studying abroad may thus feel slightly disoriented and clueless about how to proceed in such a learning environment. It would take some time, patience and perseverance to cope with the change in the learning style in a new country.
You end up getting the best of both the world - the theoretical soundness of the Asian education system coupled with the practical expertise of the American/ European universities!
Ask any of the 3.5 lakh plus Indian students who leave for foreign countries every year to pursue higher education and they'll tell you how studying abroad is full of challenges that are not easy to overcome, but how these very challenges changed their lives forever.