As international students, we come from countries that are different from where we are now. Of course, there are lots of struggles we face but there is also something we enjoy about staying in another country. So, what is it actually like to be an international student?
It is very normal and common for foreign students to struggle with coursework or communicating with others because English is not their native language. This can be very tough for foreign students to make friends or to study in class with local students whose English is their native language. But, luckily, schools in Australia provide help for international students. Schools in Australia tend to be well-serviced when it comes to language support programs, they always provide us extra classes for English. Moreover, they provide ample opportunities for international students to improve their English by merely interacting with the local community. There is also a huge difference for some international students to come to study overseas which forces them to move out of their comfort zone.
Facing lots of problems such as: homesickness, doing all of the work that they have never done before (such as housework) living on their own and maybe feeling lonely. It is natural to miss home when that place is on the other side of the world. Even though, some students moved to Australia with their family but they still left their comfort zone which is tough for them. Moving to another country to study is not an easy decision, because there are many different things that we need to adapt ourselves to, and there are many difficulties we will face.
Many of us live with homestays, which means we pay them and they provide accomodation for us. However, a homestay is just a house that we live in. Not necessarily home to us, and students may feel very uncomfortable living with them.
For example, some people want to be a host (homestay) just because they want to earn more money, so they provide students with cheap and unhealthy food, or they give students dirty pillows and blankets because they don’t want to spend money to buy new one for us which cannot meet the standards or expectations of the students.
If you have to stay with mean people every day, it makes you feel very sad, angry and homesick. There are good homestays but usually you need to change your homestay a few times before finding a good one. Another difficulty for international students is making friends with local students. This is because international students come from a background with different cultures, so sometimes it takes time to find a topic that both international and local students are interested in.
In spite of all the difficulties and problems, we still think studying abroad is a good choice, because the education system here is better. In most of the schools in our countries, students cannot choose their subjects or, if they can, it’s only from a very limited range of subjects. But here, we can choose whatever subjects we like or we need to learn for our future career. Plus, the curriculum is much easier than that in our countries. In China most high school students only have 6 hours for sleep every night because they need to spend a lot of time doing their homework and preparing for tests and, of course, they don’t have time to do what they like. But here, students have a lot of free time.
Many students who choose to study abroad are leaving their home for the first time which is hard for them but when they arrive in their new host country they will be fascinated by the distinct cultural perspective. For example, when you study abroad you’ll find incredible new food, traditions, goods and social atmosphere. Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to improve your language skills because you have a lot of practice. You’re using it every day in your day to day life.
Studying abroad is not easy. Every international student is facing a lot of problems such as bad homestays (whereas the lucky ones have relatives here) and communication skills. Beyond that we have to live on our own, doing work that we never did before. However, studying abroad gives us the opportunity to improve our language/communication skills and have more choices to study and prepare for jobs in the future.