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How to mentally prepare to study abroad

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Choosing to pursue your education abroad is a big step. The anticipation of experiencing a new culture, people, and opportunities can be exciting, but it does come with its challenges. A vital part of the study abroad process is mentally preparing yourself for the journey you are about to undertake.

Whether it is living alone, going through tons of coursework, finding new friends, or missing home, things can get tough when you are in a new place. However, acknowledging your triggers and having the right mindset can help you stay composed during such times.

1. Learn to ask for help

Studying abroad for the first time is a new experience. A rule of thumb is to simply ask for help when you need it. Coping with all the changes can be easier if you have a family member in your destination country. However, if that is not the case for you, most universities do have student support representatives to help you transition better.

You can also research about mental health resources in your destination country before you go. You can ask your college authorities, local embassy, and even your health insurance provider about the same. There are also many international mental health-related groups that you can reach out to. For example, the World Federation for Mental Health, Befrienders Network, etc. are some that you can consider.

2. Make a plan

Making a plan and setting intentions before you embark on this life-changing journey needs to be part of your study abroad preparation. When you know what you want and why you are doing something, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed when things get difficult.

Decide what you hope to accomplish as you pursue your higher education abroad–what subjects you want to study, how you want to spend your free time, new things you want to learn, places you want to explore, etc. This will help you feel more confident and ready to take on the plethora of new experiences coming your way.

3. Be present and open to everything

You have already taken the plunge into moving to a different country, so you might as well soak in whatever lessons this experience has to offer you. Get involved with everything that interests you, even if it is something you may have never done before. Talk to people and make friends. Consider this as an opportunity to grow and evolve, and you may be pleasantly surprised by what you discover about yourself.

4. Learn to manage your time

The most important aspect of your study abroad preparation should be learning to manage your time. You will have to learn how to do everything by yourself. From cooking, cleaning, and budgeting to grocery runs and washing clothes, you will need to take proper care of yourself in a completely new environment.

Some of you may need to work part-time while going to school full-time while also carving out time to socialize, go out, and experience all that this new country has to offer.

It may seem like a lot, but planning ahead and having the intention of making time for everything will make your life easier. For instance, you can list down meal ideas, plan out your coursework in advance, assign cleaning and grocery run days, etc. However, remember to keep things fun and make me-time and going out a priority, so you have stories to tell.

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