You’ve planned your semester abroad to a tee, prepared for the worst, and hoped for the best. The minute you land, you’re busy taking in the newness around you. Suddenly, you find yourself feeling lost and out of place in your new classroom with different faces, languages, or confused by what your teacher is asking. This, brave international student, is called culture shock. But don’t panic – you’re not alone.
A recent study found there are over 765,000 international students – a year on year increase of 6.5%. Being an international student is an incredible experience with tons of benefits. However, thousands of international students find the learning environment to be different from their native country. Here’s how you can adjust to new learning environments and style when studying abroad.
Enhance Your Prep Techniques
Chinese students favor the “talk and chalk” approach to learning, while countries such as the UK, Australia, and the US look at a collaborative method of teaching. In fact, studies from Australian Catholic University show that there is no single “right” way to teach as there is to study. Just because you’re studying abroad doesn’t mean you should change the way you study. Instead, look for inspiration for the local students and see what helps them thrive. When you learn to focus on your energy and productivity, you will begin to notice the different methods of studying and use it to your advantage.
Discuss Issues with Your Teachers
Like most students, you will be eager to succeed in your newfound environment. After all, you did travel across the globe to experience a new culture. Still, there may be times where you don’t understand how your classmates are following the lessons or even find the assignments too challenging. This can be especially true for tasks that involve strong language skills.
The best thing you can do is to talk to your teachers. They are there to help you succeed, even if you don’t plan to stay there long. Make the most out of your host school’s resources and talk to your instructor if you are struggling. If they cannot help you, they will make an effort to find you the resources you need.
While it may be difficult for some students to adjust in the beginning, it is completely understandable to ask for help when you need it. Most universities offer counseling as well as other services for their students. Make sure to utilize your resources, make new friends and most of all – make the most out of your study abroad.