See­ing that a num­ber of young peo­ple will be leav­ing our shores for greener pas­tures to study, we have de­cided to com­ply a lit­tle some­thing for them be­cause life away from home isn’t as rosy as it may seem. Life af­ter high school is not as easy as it seems to be, as there are a num­ber of chal­lenges faced by uni­ver­sity stu­dents. Imag­ine how stress­ful it is be­ing a stu­dent in a uni­ver­sity thou­sands of miles away from home. Even though it seems like an ex­cit­ing prospect it comes with a bucket load of stress and needs you to stay fo­cused, be pos­i­tive, open-minded and re­mem­ber that your num­ber one goal is to go back home with that de­gree! Study­ing abroad or over­seas has a num­ber of ad­van­tages but one should not for­get that it needs one to ma­ture im­me­di­ately and be fo­cused. This is not to scare you, but pre­pare you just in case you de­cide to study over­seas. One of the first hard­ships you will en­counter is lan­guage bar­rier. This chal­lenge is com­monly ex­pe­ri­enced by stu­dents mov­ing to coun­tries where a dif­fer­ent lan­guage is used and this is not com­mon world­wide. This makes you vul­ner­a­ble as it is dif­fi­cult to com­mu­ni­cate. My first week at school was drain­ing be­cause as we were shop­ping for some ne­ces­si­ties it was dif­fi­cult to com­mu­ni­cate as a ma­jor­ity of the lo­cal peo­ple speak Turk­ish and even if they speak Eng­lish it is to a cer­tain limit (we of­ten used Google trans­late). The lan­guage bar­ri­ers im­me­di­ately make you home­sick, and have sec­ond thoughts about the place. Even if you are in an Eng­lish speak­ing coun­try there may be slight dif­fer­ences in the way some things are called or the dif­fer­ent ac­cents may be over­whelm­ing for one. This should not dis­cour­age you be­cause you will adapt in no time. I would ad­vise you to be open-minded and be will­ing to learn new things, which in re­turn will make your life eas­ier.Cul­ture-shock is an­other chal­lenge faced by a num­ber of in­ter­na­tional stu­dents in all parts of the world. Lack of uni­ver­sal­ity in cul­tural prac­tices means that a prac­tice that is com­mon in one re­gion may be dis­cour­aged in an­other re­gion. This may bring about emo­tional and phys­i­cal dis­com­fort to in­ter­na­tional stu­dents. For in­stance where I study (North Cyprus) it’s a Mus­lim coun­try there­fore Chris­tian hol­i­days are not recog­nised which is quite dif­fi­cult if you come from a Chris­tian back­ground. Easters and Christ­mas, we will be busy with school in case you are ask­ing how this is dif­fi­cult.An­other good ex­am­ple is in Africa we are gen­er­ally re­spect­ful peo­ple(es­pe­cially Swazi’s) and are will­ing to help (in the 21st cen­tury this can be widely de­bated), this is dif­fer­ent on the other side of the hemi­sphere, meet­ing some­one on the street and not greet­ing them is nor­mal, us­ing your left hand when re­ceiv­ing some­thing from some­one and less use of PLEASE and THANK YOU are some of the com­mon things which most Africans are not ac­cus­tomed to.Cul­ture changes may also be ex­pe­ri­enced in the type of food of­fered; food of­fered widely in Swazi­land may not be widely of­fered some­where else in the world. For ex­am­ple in some coun­tries pork or beef may not be widely avail­able be­cause of dif­fer­ent rea­sons like in North Cyprus pork is not widely avail­able as it is a Mus­lim coun­try (it is there but not WIDELY avail­able). The change in food makes it even harder to adapt to that par­tic­u­lar place be­cause food is of para­mount im­por­tance. In or­der to over­come this chal­lenge, I ad­vise you to swiftly adapt to the prac­tices of the lo­cal peo­ple in or­der to feel at home.As you may have learnt in feog­ra­phy dif­fer­ent re­gions ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fer­ent cli­mates and weather, prov­ing to be a ma­jor chal­lenge for any in­ter­na­tional stu­dents. Adapt­ing from one cli­matic con­di­tion to an­other may be quite chal­leng­ing at the be­gin­ning. In or­der for this process to be easy en­sure that you do thor­ough re­search on the place you trav­el­ling to so that you may be well pre­pared and have the suit­able cloth­ing to adapt to the new con­di­tions you may be fac­ing.One of the things most uni­ver­sity stu­dents can­not run away from is be­ing home­sick; be­cause leav­ing your fam­ily is hard as you face great chal­lenges all on your own in a new coun­try. Leav­ing home and go­ing to study is a re­ally ex­cit­ing prospect, wait un­til stress kicks and you find it hard to adapt to that par­tic­u­lar area- there­fore home­sick­ness kicks in im­me­di­ately. Al­though this chal­lenge is dif­fi­cult to over­come, it is ad­vis­able that you make new friends quickly (en­sure you choose the right com­pany) which you can con­sider as a part of your fam­ily. Th­ese are some of the chal­lenges I faced and they may vary from place to place. Even though they may make your life dif­fi­cult, the need for ed­u­ca­tion su­per­sedes them, there­fore just fo­cus and be pos­i­tive. The good news is that uni­ver­si­ties or col­leges have an in­ter­na­tional of­fice, stu­dent ad­vi­sors and of­fer well­ness ser­vices and coun­selling to help you adapt quickly. Al­ways re­mem­ber that what­ever ob­sta­cles you’re fac­ing you are not alone and you don’t have to deal with them alone.

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