It's important that you have realistic expectations and that you are aware that everyday life is a part of studying abroad. You will have to do laundry, shop groceries and study for exams just like you would have to do back home.
There will also be things you miss from home. You'll miss your friends, family and student job from home. Sometimes you'll also get frustrated about practical stuff like how to use the library, where to find an ATM and how to establish a local bank account. Both small and big things can seem confusing in the beginning. Remember that you also get new and great experiences and this is why you decided to study abroad in the first place. Studying abroad will give you ups and downs. Just like home.
Culture shock is stress caused by the fact that you find yourself in a new environment far away from home. The reaction is natural for people when they find themselves in a new cultural environment.
You might experience both physical and psychological reactions like anxiety, excessive aggressiveness, trouble breathing, diarrhea, weight loss, muscle pain, head ache and other symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms it is important that you know that the reaction is perfectly normal and that other people in the same situation as you feel the same way. Many people even experience symptoms of culture shock when they go to countries quiet similar to their home country.
Most universities will arrange orientation meeting a few days before the semester begins. This is a great way to meet your fellow students and to get an introduction to your university. In the beginning it is important to participate in events like this. You might want to sit at home in your room and to keep in touch with friends and family online, but make sure you also participate in the social life around you.
It might also be a good idea to join sports clubs or other unions that interest you.
Most international students want to become friends with local students, but remember to establish a network with other international students. They will understand you when you are frustrated about your new country and they have a special understanding of the things you find difficult. International students are also be more interested in establishing a new social circle of friends while local students already have a social network with studies, work, family and friends.
Even though we advise you to prioritize social life in your new country, keeping in touch with family and friends at home might help you to a softer landing. It takes time to establish real friendships and in the beginning friends and family at home can be a great support.
Keeping a diary can be a good way to deal with the experiences and frustrations of your new life. After a few weeks or months it can be quiet interesting to read your first entries.
…and share you experiences with family and friends at home. Create a blog at blogs.kilroy.eu (link to blog page) and get started today. You can also find blogs from other students abroad here.
If you feel like everything is wrong then get in touch with a close friend, your family or a student counselor either at KILROY education or at your school.
Before you terminate your studies abroad, remember to consider the implications this might have in relation to your finances, credit transfer of courses, reimbursement of grants and scholarships and length of study. Please contact a student counselor at your university and any other relevant institutions before you make your final decision.