Every student who goes abroad with a dream to secure their degree from an international varsity believes that the education and experience will impart valuable life and professional skills. To ensure that students can further fortify this experience, they will need to try out something different and unusual. By unusual, we mean, about walking in someone else’s shoes. So while everyone else guides or advises you to study hard at a foreign varsity, we believe that you should also do these ten things abroad to be able to see life differently:
1. Maintain a journal and keep it close to your heart: Be sure of maintaining a dairy or journal where you can document the daily happenings and then look back at analysing how your day/ week or even the entire duration of your stay in the foreign locale made you a better person. One easy way of maintaining a detailed journal is by making it visual, i.e. by adding pictures to record your life in the crazy, unexplored country where you chose to spend some of the most important years of your life in a different fashion
2. Take a Roadtrip: Why not pack your bags to roam around the country side and get familiar with the different culture and psyche of the country that you are studying in. As a student we have always been bound by our parents for not going anywhere new but this is the best chance to make the most out of the exhilarating experience of learning more about different cultures and traditions. After all, who wouldn’t want to appear as well travelled and knowledgeable! Consider travelling to some of the following locations?
a. If you are a fan of life sciences, do remember to try out snorkelling or scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
b. For the adventure buff, do check out Winter Sports in cold climates or even climbing, hiking, kayaking in places like British Columbia as well as in New Zealand or simply ski-ing, snowboarding, heli-skiing in Alaska in the United States
c. A travel nut could simply hitch hike their way across the country and explore different cultures across Eastern Europe by cross-country train rides
3. Volunteer/ Associate with a cause/ organization: LinkedIn research suggests that volunteering for a course ensures that hiring managers are more likely to recruit you given your interest in managing new projects or leading a cause. This in turn means more possibilities for you to get hired. Remember, this is an easy way to create great contacts with prospective hires and to gain an understanding of how different organizations function.
4. Enrol for a part time job: The addition of work experience on your resume will make you seem like a determined and hard-working candidate for future job posts. And who knows, you may just get hired at a senior post in the same company where you were working part time during the course of your education. Most countries offer flexible work timings for international students subject to you fulfilling work/ study requirements. For instance: Approximate work hours permitted by various countries
|UK, US, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, EU and Malaysia||20hours/ week|
|Sweden||Unlimited as long as you spend a minimum of 40hours/ week reading and working on college assignments|
5. Save while you learn: Earning while learning is an excellent way to not only reduce your reliance on dear parents for covering your living expenses but also to have the extra moolah while partying, travelling or simply enjoying in an international location. While you are planning everything about getting a job after you graduate, also keep in mind that there is certain level of savings or money which you must hold in your account so as to obtain a work permit. Here is a quick table with average living expenses that you should prepare for each month when studying abroad
Country Living Expense (per month). These are averages and may vary from city to city
|USA||Metros US $1000$700 for non-metros|
|UK||London 1020 poundsOut-of-London:820|
|New Zealand||NZD 1250|
6. Learn a new language: If you as a student are looking to explore destinations where English is not the preferred language of choice, then it might be a great idea to start taking lessons on the most spoken language to ensure that you don’t miss out on understanding and absorbing the culture of the country. It’s a humbling experience to learn about someone else’s traditions and offers a truly global view of things and how they all fit into the bigger picture. Make sure that you attend at least one regional / local event, a cultural ceremony like wedding, birthday, anniversary party, funeral or another cultural-specific ceremony in the country to understand how locals emote and connect with others. Dress in traditional clothing even if just for a few minutes to snap some photos, you know you will be glad that you tried!
7. Be smart about Banking and Funds: Before you embark on a trip of your lifetime, remember to pick your bankers/ loan provider’s brains so that you can figure if they have a banking partner in the country you’d be heading too. Doing this ensures that you can save a lot of money when you try to withdraw cash in the international ATMs without getting charged high fees. And try out new ways to communicate- like using Wi-Fi to make calls instead of using international phone cards
8. Try out local delicacies: Who wouldn’t appreciate trying out local delicacies and especially fruits that are usually available in only the top supermarkets in the home country! Catch up with a native and figure out a list of top delicacies which you could sample and ensure to make a note of it in your journal. Do remember to hit the food / fruit aisle in the supermarkets and then wash them clean before consuming them. Ensure to sample whatever gastronomical delights you can lay your hands on and enjoy your time while studying hard!
Eg: Pick up Chorizo and Queso in Spain to eat a scrumptious Bocadillo or try out Jambon and Fromage for a snack in France or even better, try out Durian in Malaysia.
9. Keep yourself updated: Always keep your visa status updated and ensure to keep track of what visas or permits you require to stay ahead: Every country has post study job hunting grace period but you should know the exact time when you can apply for this extension of visa. Talk to your international study coordinator to know more
10. Last but not the least, remember to keep backups: Losing all your belongings or memories can be a traumatic experience. Remember to keep backups handy. This will prop you up for a rainy day and a simple way of doing this is to keep a separate hard drive or a working bank account where you can save your memories/ valuables safely. After all, studying abroad should be a life altering experience and we all are geared to imbibe the cultural values as well as the memories gained from the stint abroad.