Adjusting to a New Life – Challenges Faced by International Students

“We don’t grow when things are easy – we grow when we face challenges.”

-Anonymous

International students have many expectations when they live in a foreign land. They can have high hopes when they enter a new school. Aside from budgeting after paying tuition fees, international students face unfamiliarity and a number of other obstacles: stress, weather, language and expectations from back home. Although these are somehow uncomfortable, there are ways to overcome them.

Anxiety and fitting in

Feeling like an outsider?! (Insert Mean Girls Movie soundtrack- “Milkshake” By Kelis) and voila! Sounds familiar? The most common challenge international students face is adjusting to new surroundings. This includes the people they are dealing with on a daily basis. They miss their support system in their home country – their families, longtime friends and many more. Just like Cady in the Mean Girls movie. But there are tons of methods to grow your new network when studying abroad. Join clubs, volunteer, join sports events or even attend local festivals. This way, thinking too much about your families back home will decrease. Thus, making new friends is not bad at all.

Stress and dealing with finances

On top of the never-ending lists of paperwork and exams among others, learning to master the money is a challenge too. Money can be a very useful tool if used wisely, but it can quickly disappear if not handled properly. Living in a different country can be a bit expensive compared to your home country. (You’re converting that can of soda and chips, right? LOL!) But there are good ways to stretch the finances. There are budget meals to plan ahead, nutritious alternative foods and free or cheaper recipes online. Adjust your daily budget accordingly. Universities also have financial counseling, especially post-secondary institutions.

Loneliness and homesickness

The unfamiliarity of a foreign land gives you a touristy feel at first. They call it the honeymoon stage; it’s the time of excitement and curiosity. Oh, hi there Instagram! When the honeymoon is over, reality hits you since you will be staying away from home for quite some time. Sounds lonely? Most students abroad face this challenge. Being homesick. Being miles away from families and friends – basically your whole support system. Although this is difficult, it is advisable to make new friends, create networks. Now is the modern era of digital technology – talk to your family online, indulge with a new hobby or visit the town center or a local bookstore. Anything that will keep your mind busy and productive. You’ll slowly start noticing changes in the way you think. You are now adapting to a new environment. Baby steps often lead to big leaps.

Try to do things that make you happier and productive! Challenges such as unfamiliarity sharpen one’s personality, it expands your perspective, your horizon. Having the courage to get out your comfort zone can turn out to be the greatest accomplishment when done right. Difficult at first, but very rewarding in the end. Don’t be afraid to explore new things and meet new people. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Continuously improve every aspect of yourself at the moment, enjoy your new home and embrace the challenges, it will be worth it and it will change you and help you grow.

Latest from our blog

January 14, 2020

Interview with Hang Nguyen – an Environmental Engineering Student in Finland

Hang is a Vietnamese student, who is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s program in Environmental Engineering in Finland. Why did you choose to study in Finland? […]

→ Read more

January 8, 2020

5 Hacks for Surviving your First Week Back at University After The Christmas Break

New Year, New You! Make this year count. You’ve just had two amazing weeks off to sleep in, catch up with friends and celebrate the […]

→ Read more

December 25, 2019

Spending Your Winter Break in Finland Wisely

Are you staying in Finland for your winter break? It’s a great opportunity to fill your days off with entertaining and productive activities! You finally […]

→ Read more

December 20, 2019

Comparing the Netherlands to Finland: Differences and Similarities

Back to the blog-post series of “Comparing … to Finland”, that 3 dots for today will be filled by the Netherlands country, often called Holland, […]

→ Read more

December 17, 2019

British Student in Finland: Kindness of Finnish People Brought Me To This Lovely Country

My name is Lauren Stevens and I’m from Britain. Graduated Master’s degree in Peace, Mediation and Conflict Research, Tampere University Why Finland? In 2011, during […]

→ Read more

December 10, 2019

Migrant Stories: Finland, Exceptionally Offers High Living Standards

Let’s check out Arcile’s journey, why she calls Finland her second home and what she likes most about Finland. Here in Finland, the government helps […]

→ Read more

December 3, 2019

Chinese Student in Finland: I Enjoy Finland’s Work Flexibility

Zhenzi, a Chinese young lady has started her journey to Finland three years ago. Let’s see why she chose Finland and how is her life […]

→ Read more

November 29, 2019

Vietnamese Student in Finland: I Love Rauma- The Town’s Beauty and Vibe

Kristine from Vietnam graduated more than 3 years ago with a degree in International Business. She accomplished her international studies at Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) in Rauma. She opted […]

→ Read more

Hear the latest from Edunation

Subscribe to our newsletter

Edunation, Mustanlahdenkatu 3-7 E, 33210 Tampere, Finland +358 50 354 8603
Mon-Fri, 9am-4pm (GMT +2)
© 2020 Edunation

Privacy Policy

Site by Atomi