Studying abroad can be a nerve-wracking prospect for even the most outgoing person. It’s proven to change us as humans, and often it requires us to adopt a new language, culture and time-zone almost overnight. It’s understandable to be nervous and scared about studying abroad. Doing it on your own can be tough, but studying abroad has a lot to offer and can be an extremely rewarding experience!
Here’s some great ways to tackle studying abroad as an introvert.
The best thing to do when moving to a new place, whether it be home or abroad, is to explore. Get a map of your new hometown or city, the university campus and the area around where you live and try out local businesses.
Familiarising yourself with the place you’re going to be calling home makes things a lot easier when you’re involving yourself with University societies and community events. It also gives you an opportunity to feel more comfortable when meeting new people.
Making plans to meet people in places you enjoy, are comfortable and familiar with is one of the easiest ways to work on your introvert nature. This both makes it easier to keep plans, and also means that you’re more likely to want to do it again.
Planning out your time allows you to have some structure to your social life and therefore encourages you to do more. Allocate a set amount of time a week to explore and socialise or spend time with a society you enjoy - that way you know what’s coming up.
It’s daunting to move somewhere new, especially if it’s a different country. But an important part of going to university is pushing yourself and trying new things. Join new societies and attend the freshers fairs to explore what your university has to offer.
Also remember that you won’t be alone in being a new student and feeling uncomfortable in a new environment. Try to make conversation with people when you get a chance, and start by introducing yourself. Lots of universities have big international societies, which can be a great place to meet other international students who are in the same situation as you.
Having a record of your experiences and travels abroad can be a brilliant way to not only allow you to express yourself, but also to provide a record for the future about your time at university. Lots of introverts like to express their thoughts in some form, and creating a scrapbook or photographic diary allows you to feel more at ease with being in a new place.
It also is an excellent way of keeping family and friends back home in the loop with what you’re up to, and keeps homesickness at bay when you’re finding being away hard. This way you can share with everyone what you’ve been up to and what you’ve learnt so far.
If you feel that you want to explore and experience new things on your own, then do it. University is about meeting new people and forming new bonds, but it’s also about learning more about yourself. Exploring new places can be just as exciting by yourself! Don’t not do things that make you happy just because you’re worried that you can’t be an introvert while studying abroad.