7 Useful Tips for Exchange Students to Adapt in a Foreign Environment

An exchange program is a splendid opportunity to visit another country while studying. It is a great way to make new friends, new experiences and learn about another culture. That’s why a lot of students choose to follow exchange programs to spend a semester or even a year in a different environment.

Despite all the benefits, leaving home is not always easy. It requires preparation and constant motivation. One must adapt to a new culture, language and social circle. In case of any troubles with the academic curriculum, there is always professional help at https://essaypro.com/essay-help.html. But adaptation to new surroundings is a bit trickier. Yet, it is manageable with some preparation.

If you are going for an exchange program, these tips will help you adjust better, and get the best of your time abroad.

  1. Learn about the Country Beforehand

One of the preparation stages is to learn all the vital information about the hosting place. It is especially important if you have never been to this country. Read about local traditions and the norms of polite communication. You will probably learn a lot of new exciting information. What is considered polite in one country can be rude in the other part of the world.

Read about public transport and how to use it. Learn about the city you are going to live in. Pay attention to weather conditions. All of this research comes in handy in daily life. Besides, you can accidentally find some cool places to visit while in the country.

Also, if the language is different from your native one, the locals will appreciate if you learn at least simple everyday phrases.

  1. Pack Wisely

The packing stage includes several key elements:

Make sure all your papers are valid and with you. Check the passport’s due date, so it doesn’t expire while you are abroad. Make copies, both digital and paper, of all documents in case some of them get lost. Do not forget about medical insurance, as you are going to spend a long time there and might need it.

Make a list of clothes to take with you. Do not pack anything that can be bought at the destination place for the same price. For example, shampoo or hand cream are available almost everywhere. Take essentials, like your laptop. Only pack necessary and weather-appropriate clothes and comfortable shoes.

If you need specific prescribed medicines, make sure you have access to them abroad. Check beforehand if the meds you need are available and accessible. You might need to pack a supply for the whole time abroad.

  1. Plan Your Time in Other Country

One of the tricks to managing exchange study is staying motivated and goal-driven. It seems that there will be plenty of time, yet, it is not always this way. Plan the goals you want to achieve during this semester or year. Research the local sights, famous places to visit and events. Make a list of these places, organize it in order of priority.

Manage your studies with fun activities and exploration. Engage with other people and go on group events. Make sure to visit nearby cities, towns and possibly even countries to acquaint with the culture.

  1. Be Open to New Culture

Everyone who moves to a new place experiences culture shock in one or another form. It is a normal reaction to engaging in a completely new environment. Even the slightest differences become very apparent abroad.

It happens because we’re used to the unspoken yet almost intuitive social rules of our society. For instance, we have a certain way of asking for help or directions, how to communicate with different people or how to stand in line.

It is important to be respectful and patient with another culture. You don’t have to adapt to all traditions, but it is essential to be open-minded. You can discuss the differences with local people, but you can never judge their behaviors.

Communicate with locals, whether they are fellow students or a hosting family. Do not be afraid to ask questions regarding all unknown things. Becoming familiar with cultural norms will help you to adjust better.

  1. Do Not Isolate Yourself

Of course, every person has different needs when it comes to communication. However, social isolation is one of the worst problems that exchange students deal with.

First of all, enroll in the adaptation program of the hosting university. Consider joining clubs or social groups on the campus. Find other exchange students and speak to them about the struggles you are sharing. Also, find a friend among locals to get better at understanding the social norms of a new environment.

Social isolation isn’t good for overall well-being and can be extremely damaging to mental health. Moreover, it is much easier to prevent than to heal from.

  1. Stay in Touch with Family

You will get homesick; it is unavoidable. That’s why it is vital to keep in touch with your family. Try to have regular video calls. It’s always good to have a family group chat, everyone can share updates and you won’t have to duplicate messages. Don’t forget to connect with your friends and fellow students at home.

  1. Create a Place that Reminds of Home

Of course, an exchange program is not going to last forever. Yet, nostalgia can be very overwhelming sometimes. Take something with you that reminds you of home. You can also create a space to remember your hometown, put out photos with friends, put a map of your city on the wall.

To feel less homesick, one can cook favorite food, listen to music or watch movies in the native language.

In Summary

Studying in another part of the world is an amazing opportunity. There is hardly a better way to learn another culture and get a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Yet, it might get a bit overwhelming sometimes. There are too many things to adjust to. It is important to prepare beforehand and research cultural norms and traditions.

Another important thing to do is not to isolate yourself and communicate with people, especially locals. This whole program is stepping out of the comfort zone, so you might as well make the best of it. Meet new friends, stay in touch with family, find something to remind you of home, and do not forget to actually study.