At first thought, the task of preparing to begin life away from home can seem daunting, if not overwhelming. Being surrounded by an unfamiliar culture, environment and social norms, while being away from family and friends, is something which more and more Chinese students experience in the quest to gain a western education.
With school courses drawing to a close, many students find themselves in the midst of preparing for further study abroad. As a foreign teacher, I often found myself being turned to for answers to help demystify the process and add moral support in many student decisions to journey overseas. Therefore, based on my experience, the following five steps may prove useful in assisting prospective overseas students in their preparations to study overseas.
1. Get to know your new home before you land in it.
There is no substitute for good preparation. Arm yourself with background knowledge by researching information about the country you are going to. Learning about the history, culture, tradition, language and even details such as food, music, transport, weather and social activities of your new host country are all important. Thanks to the Internet, most of this can be found at the click of a button.
If you are fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of a foreign native (from the country you wish to study in), be sure to ask them as many questions as possible on things such as good places to live, the cost of transport or important celebrations during the year. The information they provide would most likely not be published in any textbooks or tourist magazines.
2. Attitude is everything.
Don‘t underestimate the power of the mind in determining how events turn out. Decide how to approach any situation, before you are placed in it. Positive thoughts about your new circumstances and a positive attitude toward your new home and hosts will bring positive results.
Alternately, many people set themselves up for failure simply by talking themselves out of success. Don‘t sabotage your chances at being happy and successful in your future study and new life before they have even started. Maintain focus on one or two major goals (not too many) and work steadily and gradually towards these.