Written By Ranjika B.
Moving away from your home country to a completely new and unfamiliar place with new faces, culture, customs and expectations can be daunting. For many, it is their first time living away from home. It becomes increasingly difficult to navigate these new ways of living whilst pursuing a full-time degree in academics. But, fear not. This post covers the most important tips to help you be confident and comfortable in moving to a new country for higher education.
- Find accommodation
Having a place to live in is, undoubtedly, one of the most basic necessities of life. The key to finding accommodation is – STARTING EARLY! Make use of all available avenues. Some universities provide accommodation to students, but have limited places available at a first come, first serve basis. Apply as soon as you decide which university you will attend, to guarantee a place to live. If that is not the case, start joining different groups on social media with current or incoming students who are also looking for accommodation to find people you would want to live with. Be open minded to roommates instead of just sticking to people from your country of origin. It allows you to learn a lot from different cultures and also be comfortable living with many kinds of people. Different cities have their own websites for rentals and student housing, so keep yourself informed of these websites and respond to listings as early as you can. Note that on some websites and social media sites it is impossible to verify the leads without going for an in-person viewing. If that is the case, be mindful of the documents you share and do not pay any money before you can be sure that the room or apartment listing is legitimate. If offers look too good to be true, they probably are.
2.Organize all your documents and certificates
Depending on which country you move to, you will require travel documents, a student visa, a school-leaving certificate, health insurance and various others. Make a comprehensive checklist of all the documents you may need and in which form – originals or attested photocopies. If something requires specific stamps or permissions, make sure to organize those. Keep digital copies of each document as well, using apps like Adobe Scan or CamScanner that are easy to use. Having your papers organized and easy to access will make your life a 100 times easier. If you face any administrative or bureaucratic issues, you will be able to resolve them in no time and minimize stress.
3.Familiarize yourself with the lifestyle and language
It goes without saying, but if you move abroad you will undoubtedly be encountering a new culture, way of life and even new languages. Read up on the student life, culture, leisure activities and transport methods early on. Familiarize yourself with maps and routes from your address to destinations that you expect to frequent – such as your university, grocery stores, appliance stores, markets and so on. Start learning basic phrases in the language to help you communicate when you arrive. Use social media groups to find former students and seniors to ask for help and advice.
4.Make an effort to socialize
More often than not, when you move to university, your high school friends don’t come with you. It becomes crucial to find your own friend group and support system. For many, especially introverted students, it can be terrifying to go to social gatherings and strike up a conversation with complete strangers. It is important to put yourself out of your comfort zone and open yourself up to new people, but don’t pressure yourself to befriend everyone in your first event, or to join any friend groups. Focus on going to parties and social gatherings to enjoy yourself and meet new people, and stay for only as long as you feel comfortable. Don’t do anything you find morally questionable to “fit in”, stick to your instincts and interests and you will surely find your friends.
5.Budget and spend wisely
Studying in a new country can be quite expensive, including tuition, accommodation, food and other living expenses. For these reasons, it is important to set yourself a monthly budget and spend within it. Try to limit purchases to things that are important to you, and look for deals and student discounts on your high range expenses. Save money on non-essential purchases for any emergencies, or to travel or spend on things that are of importance to you.
6.Take care of yourself
Going to university is for many, their first time taking care of themselves. In university you have to plan meals, follow a cleaning schedule, make time for leisure and fun whilst managing academics. It is important to practice self care for the sake of your mental and physical health, because it is easy to be overrun by stress and anxiety. You should take some days off to relax and do something you love every month. Using methods like journaling, meditation, yoga or other forms of exercise can also help keep you physically and mentally healthy. Finally, try your best to eat nourishing meals and get a good amount of sleep each night.
Best of luck for university and moving abroad!