The Challenges of International Exchange

International Students: A Guide to Survival in A New Country

Leaving your home can be a tedious affair at any given time. Leaving your home and moving to another country, without your family to support you, is even harder. Being a student myself, I know of the hardships that many overseas students face when moving to another country. The uncertainty of what is to come, not to mention the stress of finding a place to live, employment, funds to pay tuition, bills AND coping with your education, must be one of the toughest things to do.

Be that as it may, many countries do attempt to provide their overseas students with some sort of temporary accommodation, in the form of youth hostels. However, it is advisable to the potential overseas student to plan his/her stay right down to the very last detail. If you are a normal student without sponsors, you must ensure that you have enough money for you to survive on before you do get a job. Youth hostels are generally not expensive, but the longer you remain there, the costlier it might get. Ensure that you have a worker’s permit when you get into your country of residence, as a temporary job may be the only thing that saves you from being put out on the streets, or going hungry.

Networking is another way of surviving in a new country. Try to make as many friends as possible in the country that you are going to study in. This can be achieved simply by having an account on such pages as Hi5, Facebook or MySpace. The more friends you have, the more likely you will be safe and get assistance when you reach your destination. Being locals, they may very well know of the cheapest places to live or to buy things, because the last thing you want to do is go spending your money unnecessarily on expensive items.

You can also check out the internet for websites which offer the possibility to be hosted by families in your country of study. This is generally not a bad idea, but there might be a small fee to pay. However, a family atmosphere might be beneficial to the overseas student, who might feel lost in this new setting, and the familial atmosphere could have a calming effect and stress levels go down. Students who live in hosted homes are generally cared for, as they are made to feel part of the family and their basic needs like food and cleanliness are taken care of.

In many countries, where overseas students are allowed to study, the educational institutions generally do offer accommodation. These institutions, such as boarding schools and universities, offer on site accommodation. If you know that you will be travelling to a new country to study soon, ensure that you check out accommodation as soon as possible, as it might be limited. Accommodation on campus usually tends to be pricey, but that is usually because all the students’ needs are taken care of – furnished housing and secured environment being some of them.

Wherever you do choose to live, ensure that you do so with the utmost care. You need to consider the benefits of your chosen place of accommodation. Ask yourself such questions as the following: “Is it affordable?”, “Is it a safe place to live in?”. If you are confident in yourself the answer is yes, then you just might make it, but if not, then you had better look for another alternative which would suit you.