"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain
For most of the people their time spent in college is the best time of their lives, ask them, if they would like to repeat something, it’d be those two (three, four or five) years on the campus. After years of rules and regulations, the much awaited time for freedom is here….soon you will be joining college. You will be excited, and a little apprehensive or nervous about the shift from school to college.
You will be confused and probably have lot of questions as to what you will experience while you study abroad. You’ve arrived safely and comfortably settled in your accommodation, after this what?
Away from home, you have to do everything all by yourself. You will have to do laundry, shop groceries and study for exams just like you would have to do back home. Being independent is one of the perks of studying abroad. While on one hand a totally new life awaits you on the other hand you will miss lot of things back home. You'll miss your friends, family and the convenient life. At times you'll also get annoyed about everyday stuff like finding an ATM, opening bank account or using the library. Initially you may seem perplexed but things will get better with time and you will learn lot of new things.
Time spent at the campus is one of its kind of different experience. You will develop life-long friendships, learn in a social context, and most importantly, be a part of a dynamic university community.
There is a famous saying, with great power, comes great responsibility. Now you have freedom, you will be making decision for yourself. And the way you handle yourself now will affect your future.
Things like budgeting, balancing social life with academics, friends and a job (full- or part-time) are your responsibilities. With a little bit of homework and a few tips on the nitty-gritty of campus life, even the most anxious and nervous freshmen can learn how to find the way and sail through successfully.
Coming from a different lifestyle and environment getting a culture shock is absolutely natural. You will experience anxiety, headache, breathlessness, diarrhea, weight loss, muscular pain etc. If you experience any of these symptoms it is imperative that you know that the reaction is absolutely normal and that others in the same situation feel the same way as you do.
OrientationMost of the universities nowadays organize orientation meeting a few days before the semester commences. This is a great way to meet your fellow students and get to know about your university. Initially it is important that you participate in such events. You might want to stay in your room and keep in touch with family and friends through internet, 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 interests you.
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.
It is important that you socialize with local students, but also remember to get familiar with students from other countries. Since international students will understand your situation better. Students from other countries are more interested in establishing a new social circle of friends while local students already have a social circle with studies, work, friends and family.
Since it is new country, there will be times when you will feel really low and only have family and friends to share your innermost feelings. Create a blog and share you experiences with family and friends at home.
At times you will feel that everything is going wrong and you will feel hopeless. You might just want to run away to your family and friends. Since they are far off, you should visit the student counselor at college or university.
Another very important aspect that needs to be taken care of is managing funds wisely.
Memories you make in college are priceless. Everything else comes with a price. And if you don’t want a huge credit card bill waiting for, it is best to make a budget. Budgeting during college depends a lot on self-control, and those who don’t learn how to deal with limited funds in college are at risk of a mounting bill waiting for them once they graduate. But all this could be avoided if you set up a clear budget to make sure you reach graduation day (pockets swelled with some extra cash).
Figure out the money you will have. This includes monthly allowance, student loans, savings and income from job.
Make a list of all your needs and then calculate the monthly expenditure. It is important to label each as a fixed expense or a variable expense. Fixed expenses always stay the same (i.e. rent, car payments). The variable expenses differ monthly (i.e. food, entertainment, gasoline).
Set a target to put aside a definite amount of your paycheck on a monthly basis and try to keep increasing the amount gradually.