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Study abroad: Five things to remember before joining a foreign university

The time between getting the admission offer and joining the foreign university provides a unique window to hone new skills, learn about the socio-cultural fitments, language skills and part time work laws to fit into the new destination well.

June 28, 2022 / 02:25 PM IST

The time between getting the admission offer and joining a foreign university provides a unique window to hone new skills, learn about socio-cultural fitments, pick up a language, and master part-time work laws to fit into the new destination well.

Pawan Adhikari, founder of international education consultancy start-up, DP Cube Learning, tells Moneycontrol about five key areas students must work on before joining a campus overseas to make their stay at the study destination smooth.

1. Breaking the language barrier: If you are going to an English-speaking country, try to learn the local pronunciations. Watching videos is a good way to get a hang of the way English is spoken there. As an example, even within the UK, spoken English will vary depending on where you are – Ireland, Scotland and Welsh, for example, have very different accents.

If you are travelling to a destination where English is the second language, make an effort to familiarise yourself with the native language, if not already. If possible, enroll yourself in a short-term online/offline language course that you can continue even after you reach your destination. At least, use a bilingual English dictionary to learn some relevant words and phrases in the native language of the destination.

2. Living in a foreign land: It is important that your perception of the destination country is based on credible sources – sources such as frequent travelers, well-researched travel guides and books are recommended as against forming a view based on movies where certain elements could be dramatised. Understanding a different culture, people, political climate, and even history is a good idea. There could be issues, subjects, or taboos that you should steer clear off until you understand them very well. Also, knowing local festivals, landmark events and occasions might help you mingle with the local population well early on.

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Living in a foreign land is exciting on various counts as long as you are well prepared to do so. This preparation will come in handy not only during your stay but also in future years when you seek internship or job opportunities!

3. Optimal packing: It is always advisable to pack optimally, enough to keep you from buying things instantly at your new destination, and at the same time not overloading yourself, as student accommodations can have limited storage, especially if those are shared.

The important thing here is to prioritise your documents, medications, and books. Ensure that your visa and travel documents are safely kept along with additional copies as required. Prescription medicines should cover the length of your stay as refills may not be easily possible – getting medicines over the counter is often not as easy as it is in India. Finally, make sure you carry appropriate clothing, especially for winters. Make sure you understand what the temperatures are as your Indian winter clothing may not suffice.

4. Bank account and use of digital payments: It is advisable that you avoid carrying a lot of cash and in any case check how much currency you are allowed to carry into the country. Contact international banks and enquire modalities related to bank account opening. Ideally, you must plan to have an active bank account in the country where you are studying so that you are able to use cards and not have to worry about keeping your cash safe (for the medium term). This also helps in easy transfer of cash from India should there be a need.

5. Learning about local laws before working part time: Learn about local rules and regulations to see if you can employ yourself part time. Students usually pick up odd jobs to meet their expenses, but make sure you are not in violation of a local rule. It is best to ask your university personnel before signing up for any job. This includes part time work rules during normal college time, and during the vacation or holiday periods.
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jun 28, 2022 02:25 pm
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