Myth vs. Reality - The Obstacles of Studying Abroad
As a student looking to travel abroad, it’s to be expected that you’ll have worries regarding what your experience might be like. In this article we’ll be discussing some of the myths and misconceptions you may have regarding the study-abroad experience, coupled together with their respective realities.
The Language Barrier
Myth: The language barrier is extremely hard to overcome. You’ll spend most of your time abroad struggling to interact with the locals, not being understood, and getting criticized, scrutinized, and mocked at every sentence.
Reality: The language barrier can be easily overcome by just living in a native-speaking country. You’ll be surprised by how much of a difference even a few days of exposure to a different language can have on your understanding of it! In addition, all universities partnered with Bright Future offer accelerated language courses meant to help you better grasp the language both academically and intuitively. And keep in mind: in a foreign country, an overwhelming majority of people do not care whether or not you can speak like a native; for most people, all that matters is that they can get the gist of what you’re trying to say.
Myth: Adjusting to a new culture is challenging and will cause you to lose sense of your own cultural identity and background.
Reality: Learning to follow a nation’s customs is not all that difficult (although it could be awkward at times), and you’ll adjust much faster if you manage to make one or two local friends right away, which can be achieved quite easily if you opt to live in an on-campus dormitory. And no, experiencing a different culture will not strip you of your cultural identity. Rather, it’ll help you better appreciate and hold onto your own culture whilst simultaneously sharing it with the international community.
Myth: Getting to know people and making friends in a new country is hard. Plus, people won’t talk to you because you’re an outsider.
Reality: Making friends as an International student is, without a doubt, much easier than if you were a local.
There are two reasons for why this is the case:
1. As a foreigner in a new country, you’ll have something inherently in common with the other International students on campus, allowing for you to come and stick together naturally, especially during your first semester.
2. Many of your local classmates will be interested in getting to know you, because for them, you represent a unique opportunity to learn about a different culture and language, and to make a new, interesting friend!