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50 Study abroad tips to super-charge your overseas education

When you decide to study abroad, there’s much more to it than just a foreign degree and chasing high paying jobs with top salaries. Studying abroad can also provide ways to learn and grow in unexpected and unplanned ways.

50 Study abroad tips to make the best of your overseas education

Here’s a list of the top things that your overseas education consultants in India will not share with you.

  1. Take tons of photographs. Capture as many moments as possible. You’ll regret if you didn’t. This is the best possible way to enjoy these moments many years on.
  2. Others than pictures, music is another way of associating with past memories. So have your collection ready and let it play in the background. Keep changing your collection. Let these songs be part of your archive.
  3. Make some sacrifices. Back in India, you might’ve spent lazy afternoons reading your favourite novel with a cup of tea or coffee. While studying abroad, with multiple projects and assignments to juggle with, all the leisure reading would take a backseat. Maintain the list of to-reads for later.
  4. If you’ve never cooked before, this is a good time to start. If you’ve been eating the dorm food or ready-to-eat meals everyday, very soon you’ll long for home-cooked meals. Remember to pack in some spices before you fly out.
  5. Keep a quick snack handy. Cereal bars are a good option for a quick fill between meals or when you have all-nighters.
  6. Try not to grumble, whether it’s about the cold outside, the dorm food which is bland to suit your taste buds or that you have to cycle your way to your college. Instead, absorb all these new experiences and pursue your overseas education with an open mind.
  7. Befriend people from all cultures & countries. Ethnic diversity among friends will bring in new experiences which you can talk about all your life. You might never again be in a class with such a diverse peer group. Don’t let any apprehension or prejudice mar your chances of getting friendly with people who are very different from you in many ways.
  8. Don’t worry about being seated in the front row. You won’t be considered a nerd. Unlike school, back-benchers don’t have any special advantage. It’s not only the front-benchers who have to answer unexpected questions or participate.
  9. Don’t miss any chances to meet corporate honchos who come over to campus. Having a chat over lunch with an important personality could give you lessons that you won’t pick up in class.
  10. Build your vocabulary. Become familiar with business language, jargon and colloquial phrases that you hear your professors and fellow students using. You’d be able to put them to good use later and sound impressive & knowledgeable. In case of an emergency, keep our humorous leadership quotes generator handy.
  11. If your schedule permits, try taking up a summer internship in a new area you’re curious about. Remember the phrase ‘expanding your horizons’. You’ll discover new things about yourself and what interests you.
  12. Don’t shy away from asking questions in the class if you’ve not understood a topic.
  13. MBA is the pursuit for comfort outside your comfort zone. Believe in this and accept tasks and risks without worrying about the outcome.
  14. Try hands at some small business. The entrepreneurial spirit around surely will act as a boost. You can leverage your (as well as your peers’) connections across the globe and form a global business network. Who knows if it clicks? An overseas education can provide a fertile ground for such experimental ventures.
  15. Go for a live concert. Even if you don’t like the music genre. Soak in the energy. Feel alive!
  16. Play a sport you’ve never played before. It’s ok if you lose.
  17. Go on a trek with your new-found friends. It’s a great way to break the ice and forge strong relationships.
  18. Try outfits you’ve never worn before. Experiment with new colours and styles.
  19. Socialise as much as possible. Networking will help you develop contacts you can use for life.
  20. Avoid overdoing; makeup, hair gel or perfume while going to college. There are better ways to attract attention.
  21. Keep some medicines handy – like paracetamol, painkillers, etc. You cannot go hunting for them at the last moment, if you stay far from the main city.
  22. Don’t make a fool of yourself, drink within limits.
  23. Join a ‘Special Interest Club’. You may bump into folks (who aren’t classmates) with similar interests.
  24. Volunteer to babysit for your classmate longing to take their spouse on a romantic dinner.
  25. Go on a date with someone you think you have some connection with. You’ll have a year or two to spend together to make up your mind whether you wish to take it forward.
  26. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help from peers. Whether it’s the finance chapter that’s gone over your head or any other problem you may be facing, you’re a student here, so ego should take a backseat.
  27. Carpooling is a good idea if you need to go grocery shopping or if you stay far-off from campus. Always explore options to save money.
  28. Carry enough clothes to last a week. You’ll save time and money. Laundry tends to be pay-per-use and can be expensive if you feel the need for it every alternate day.
  29. Be sure to complete any pending dental procedure and have your teeth checked before leaving. Dentists can be very expensive abroad and your insurance usually does not cover it.
  30. Keep the folks back home in-the-loop. Though they may not show it, they would be really concerned about your well-being, especially if it’s your first trip abroad.
  31. Beware of the other extreme. Don’t go overboard with calling them for every little problem you face:  do I add salt to rice, do I wash my clothes after one use or do I wait for the white shirt to turn yellow before washing it?
  32. Invite your friends to your apartment for your birthday and make it the best birthday you can remember.
  33. Carry along business cards. Card exchange is a good way to keep in touch with people you meet during social networking event.
  34. Walk it up or cycle to your b-school if possible. It’ll keep you healthy and save the time wasted in waiting for the bus.
  35. If you are cost-conscious, rent an unfurnished apartment. You’ll save a few hundred pounds/dollars this way. Most of the college towns have websites where students can procure used furniture at reasonable rates from those who have completed their studies and are leaving the town.
  36. You can change your career goals at any point during your MBA. If you find a new area interesting, explore various career options in that field. Your electives and internship can be made use of to gain exposure in this area to check if it sustains your interest.
  37. Prepare a weekly planner. With so many events and activities going on around, it sometimes becomes difficult to prioritize. You can prepare your schedule during the weekend when you can think with a calm mind. By systematic planning, you’ll know how much time to spend on each activity during your hectic weekdays, while having enough time to complete projects or reading up for the next day.
  38. Explore new cities or countries around, be it part of your curriculum or otherwise.
  39. Participate in inter-collegiate sports event. You’ll get a chance to interact with a host of students from other universities across various countries.
  40. Write an article or a poem for your college magazine.
  41. Television programs and mindless net surfing can be put on hold for a year or two. If you’re on campus, maximize the time you spend with people around. Get involved in various campus activities.
  42. It’s good to have a competitive spirit, but maintaining a collaborative atmosphere with peers is equally important. Believe in this as you move on.
  43. Go to watch a movie in a foreign language and have your friend translate it for you.
  44. Depending on whether you’re a morning person or an evening person, make an efficient use of the time when your alertness and productivity is at peak.
  45. Try to take the initiative in leading your team for a team project, even if leadership doesn’t come naturally to you.
  46. Eat and rest well. Your health is a priority. You can’t afford to fall sick when your hectic schedule is designed to keep you on your toes.
  47. Try the best of all the international cuisines your b-school town has to offer.
  48. Count the stars. Some of the smaller university towns where the skies are relatively clearer have observation decks and invite folks for telescope-viewing. You can also attend the astronomy lecture that follows.
  49. Try out a new dance form: salsa, ballet, hip-hop or anything that interests you.
  50. Start a blog. Try to find time to write at least one blogpost a month. Blogging is a better alternative to a diary. Blogspot and wordpress and many others offer blogging for free. You can share experiences and information which can be useful to others as well.

Also read,
Things to do once you are in the MBA Program

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About Swati
After working for over a decade in technical and managerial roles in the corporate world, Swati now works as a freelancer and writes on a variety of topics including education, career guidance and self-improvement.

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