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The Ultimate Guide To Overcoming Study Abroad Barriers



If you are planning to go abroad for higher education, it’s high time you read and learn about the obstacles that you are likely to encounter. My study abroad journey had many barriers that I am absolutely grateful to have encountered. Living independently in a foreign country can be challenging and sometimes exhausting to handle/manage. Some of the common challenges can be – understanding the education system, getting used to the food, lifestyle, also managing time and finances. I am sure by now you are fully prepared with the basic understanding of living abroad but as a student already studying overseas I can confirm that you are never fully prepared for moving overseas.

As a study abroad student, I went through various obstacles that I wished I had more information about. Therefore, I am writing this article based on my experience with tackling some of the obvious study-abroad barriers that every aspirant is likely to undergo. It also should be noted that each experience is different hence keeping a positive approach and confronting the barriers can definitely take you a long way.

Moving forward with a positive attitude, let’s look at study abroad barriers and understand how you can tackle them:

Application Procedure

Types of barriers –

  • Documents

– Letter of Recommendation
– University Application
– Scholarship Essay
– CV/Resume
  • Entrance Exam

– GRE 
– SAT 

Filling out the university application forms can be stressful. Rechecking the documents, confirming if all the documents have been attached as requested, etc. is part of the procedure. Sometimes you can miss out sending or attaching what is requested or you might not understand the prerequisites mentioned. Therefore, here are some highly recommended suggestions for you in case you are undergoing issues with your application –

  • Reach out to a study abroad expert and seek advice for your problem
  • Use the internet to research and watch vlogs to get more insight on how you resolve your issue
  • If it is a document related problem, it always a great idea to meet an education counsellor and can also help you with sending out your university application. They can also help you with your visa process


Types of barriers –

  • Living expenses
  • Accommodation
  • Other expenses

Managing finances abroad can be tricky and confusing – you will need to be patient and important a determined learner to tackle your finance issues. Fortunately, there are many ways you can overcome this barrier. Just like any study abroad aspirant, I had trouble managing my finances (starting from tuition fee to accommodation to basic lifestyle expenses). Thanks to the internet and communication, I could easily find some effective ways to manage cost, here are some ideas you can put in use realistically –

  • Choose an affordable study destination
  • Apply for scholarships, education loans or try crowdfunding
  • Find part-time job that can help you earn extra income
  • Plan your budget and spend accordingly
  • Try cutting down unnecessary expenses – prefer public transport over cabs or prefer cooking on your own instead of opting for a take out


Types of barriers –

  • Language Barriers
  • Culture
  • Food

There’s a whole lot of difference between visiting a foreign country as a visitor and going to a foreign country as an international student. A visitor doesn’t necessarily need to equip with the surrounding. Whereas, it’s best that an international student gets used to the culture and surroundings as soon as possible.

One of the main reasons I chose China as my study abroad destination was to experience a different culture – as an Indian student, I have grown around a strong cultural belief where almost everything was connected with years and years of belief. Asia is a culturally strong continent – living in parts of China made me undergo cultural shock and also had trouble with the language. However, with time, adjustments and determination to communicate – I managed to equip myself with the Chinese surrounding (which is extremely delightful).

Here are some tips that helped me blend with the environment and lifestyle abroad –

  • Step out of your comfort zone
  • Communicate and interact often
  • Try relating to situations
  • Explore different options
  • Network or socialize with classmates


Types of barriers –

Who doesn’t like exploring a whole new space? I was thrilled about my educational trip overseas as I was about to embark on my journey to experience a whole new style of living. The education system abroad is quite different than the one followed in India, getting equipped to the class schedule took me a few days. Gradually, you will learn about the system that will most definitely expand your knowledge. However, as a head’s up here are some tips that can help you figure out the academic system beforehand –

  • Research about the course structure
  • Study about the education system (ample information is available on pages such as Wikipedia)

Time management was another obstacle I faced while studying abroad. In a 24 hour day you can only achieve so much, especially as an international student I realized I need to organize my time and follow it accordingly so that I can spare some time for other activities as well (explore, self-care, assignments) here’s what I suggest you can do to manage your time – 

  • Plan your day ahead of time and follow it as planned
  • Complete and submit your assignments
  • Make time for self-care activities such as exercise or meditation or reading a book
  • Download mobile applications to help you stay on track of your decided schedule

Now, that you are on your journey to get a globally recognized degree and the career that you deserve. You might as well include some of these tips that helped me get through my semesters away from home to your daily routine. Here’s how I made the most in such little time:

  • Indulge in self-care activities that keep you active and keep you charged throughout your day
  • Click pictures and write in your journal to record your memories
  • Explore your surroundings
  • Interact and communicate often
  • Try new delicacies/food
  • Reach out to your friends and family back home as often as you could
  • Work on a part-time basis



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About Aparna

Aparna Iyer is a Mass Media and Communications graduate who enjoys composing content of various sorts. When she is not writing, you can find her spending time with animals or playing a sport or watching a movie/series. She is also very keen on researching historic subjects and hopes to explore unseen parts of the world gradually.

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