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#ChinoyTips: For Students Planning To Study Abroad

source: https://science.howstuffworks.com/transport/flight/modern/airplanes.htm

Studying in a foreign country is one of the most exciting experiences you can have as a student; however, it may also be daunting at first. Having to live in a whole new environment, to experience a different community, and to overcome a handful of challenges may make it difficult for you to settle in. Thus, to help you adjust in your new surroundings and have the best time studying abroad, here are 8 tips from 4 Chinoys who used to study in the Philippines and are now taking further studies abroad.

1) Make new friends

Joshua Co is a former Xavieran who is now studying at the University of New South Wales taking up a Bachelor of Science and Business, Major in Chemistry. Having spent around 3 years in Sydney, his first tip is not to be afraid to talk to people.

“By studying in a different country, you will be exposed to different kinds of people, all of different backgrounds, and all having different experiences. Being open allowed me to meet some of my most cherished friends. Go to orientation week, lectures, tutorials, and events; don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, or even crack some jokes. Making life-long friends is, in my opinion, the best part of studying abroad.”

2) Join organizations

Renz Po is currently a student at the University of British Columbia, studying a Bachelor of Science Major in Microbiology & Immunology. He suggested that joining organizations can actually connect you to people and hone your skills and interests.

Alpha Phi Omega – Alpha Canada chapter welcoming some members of the Kappa pledge class

“I’ve fallen into the cliché that freshmen “bite off more than they can chew” when it comes to signing up for things, but it seems to be the most sensible way to find people who pass your vibe check. That, and you get to pursue an interest.”

3) Have an open mind

Khryza Co is an alumnus of Saint Jude Catholic School, and is now taking her undergraduate degree at University of Melbourne. After her first year studying abroad, her top advice is to have an open mind and to be adaptive.

“When I meet people with non-traditional stories and with different perspectives, I may initially feel uncomfortable but then after a while I just allow myself to be immersed in the conversation and let go of judgement. Through more of such encounters, I would say I look forward to meeting more people because I don’t just learn from them, but I also get to know myself. With an open-mind and a curious heart, being an international student feels like traveling the world all at once.” 

4) Establish your “why’s”

Another tip that Khryza gave is to establish your why’s and to learn how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.

“When I first saw Melbourne under the sun, I felt happy, grateful, and lost. Despite not knowing the directions nor where to get my essentials, I felt enthusiastic to be in a wonderful place. However when school started and responsibilities such as chores, socializing, taking care of yourself, and doing well in school pile up, it could get overwhelming. [Thus,] when you’re going through hard times, remembering your whys will definitely help alleviate the weight on your shoulders. Of course, having peers who go through the same situation will definitely make you feel better. So don’t dwell on the uncomfortable and just go with the flow. Don’t be hindered by the small things and just remember your whys. After all, it’s a blessing to be in an environment where you could have a glimpse of the world from a different angle.”

5) Learn how to do things independently

Joshua also emphasized on the importance of growing up and learning how to do things on your own.

“Studying abroad and living alone for the first time ever can be quite daunting. Living alone was an eye opener for me, and I’m sure it will be to people who are looking into studying abroad. We’re so used to having maids clean our rooms, do laundry, or even having drivers bring us to wherever we want, that living alone simply exposes our incapabilities hard. Learn how to do laundry, wash dishes, or even commute, and your experience abroad will be so much smoother if you chose not to grow up.”

6) Manage your time

Clarisse Santos is a student of Kwantlen Polytechnic University taking up Fashion Marketing and BBA: Marketing. She has been studying abroad for quite some time now and her biggest advice would be to manage your time well.

“There’s so much things to do studying abroad and it can be overwhelming so manage your time well. When studying abroad you’re not only a student, but also a tourist and a cleaner. So it’s important to have a day allotted for studying, going out, house chores, and other tasks to be productive.”

7) Travel both tourist and non-tourist spots

Renz also reminded international students to take advantage of the opportunity being abroad.

Granville Island is a famous tourist destination that is great for taking photos

“Fortunately, my university is structured to give students time for themselves (I only had 14 hours of class per week during my first term). Some choose to go for internships, part-time jobs, or volunteering opportunities. Occasionally, I use my time to take advantage of the fact that I reside in a foreign place waiting to be explored.”

8) Enjoy the simple things that we don’t have in the Philippines

Additionally, go and maximize your stay abroad. Afterall, you’ll probably be there for just a few years.

2020 Annual snowball fight in the University of British Columbia

“Not everyone gets to go abroad and experience lifestyles unique from the Philippines (e.g. living with snowfall). You never know where life will take you. Where you graduate may not even be where you’ll be working in, so appreciate what you got in the moment” said Renz.

 We hope these tips could help you adjust in your new environment. The first weeks may be challenging, but we know you can soar high and conquer the world!

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