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How to Survive Your First Year as an International Student

Starting a new life ahead can be nerve-wracking, with loads of fun and excitement―probably all the good times ahead! Despite the thrill and adventure you’re after, it never hurts to be prepared for what’s about to come.

Your first year studying and living abroad is the most critical part of your journey. So for this article, I’ll be giving you tips on how to survive your first year as an international student to help you counter the challenges!

Your Ultimate Guide to Surviving Your First Year of Studying Abroad

1. Pack wisely.

This might sound very basic, but to some, considering which things to pack can be a real issue. To avoid bringing insignificant stuff, determine the things you need to bring before packing.

You might want to contemplate how it feels to be in the place you’re heading to. Is it going to be cold? Or is it going to be warm throughout the year? Bring appropriate clothes that match different seasons.

By choosing only the most important items to bring, you can travel lightly. You can also navigate easily towards your final destination without any trouble. It’s hard to take on different transfers when you are bringing excessive baggage.

2. Secure the right gadgets and tools for communication.

I barely know anyone who isn’t tech-savvy these days, but in case you’re one of the few, be sure to obtain a smart mobile phone that can be used overseas. Your cellphone not only serves as an important tool for communication but also helps you travel within the city without getting lost because of the GPS feature.

To establish a reachable contact number, activate the roaming option of your PH number and secure a new SIM card once you are already at your destination. You purchase this at the local shops.

For you to work on your school assignments, don’t forget to bring your laptop. Bring this as part of your hand-carry luggage to avoid destroying your gadget. And most importantly, determine the voltage of your new location and bring a power plug conversion adaptor.

3. Pick an easily accessible accommodation.

Living in a place a few steps away from shops, your school, and other important establishments sounds like the perfect spot, unfortunately, finding this kind of location can be hard. As long as you are residing one to three stops away, you shouldn’t find this bothersome.

4. Consider living in a place with Filipinos.

If you love to surround yourself with a diverse culture, you have ample time to do so during your succeeding years. In the meantime, learn how to survive your first year as an international student by living with people of the same nationality as yours to help you get through common barriers. Filipinos are very accomodating in nature, many Pinoys would be glad to teach and help you get the hang of your new life.

If you are a Fil-Global member, worrying about your accommodation won’t be a problem since this is part of the privileges given to our applicants. We always guarantee students a welcoming host that will make them feel at home.

5. Widen your contacts and networks.

The best way to widen your network is by going out for socialization, attending organizations, or participating in exclusive groups. If you’re an introvert by nature, you can still tap other people digitally through social media.

Search your university page and enter exclusive forums. When you’re comfortable, you can start attending gatherings once in a while.

6. Find a part-time job ASAP.

Finding a blue-collar job is easy, sticking to it is hard especially if you’re used to a different lifestyle here in the Philippines. If you have enough funds to keep up with your expenses abroad, finding a job shouldn’t be a major concern. However, I wouldn’t recommend staying jobless for the rest of your study period.

Working while studying offers a lot of valuable learnings, it molds character and helps build skills such as communication, leadership, and teamwork. It also encourages you to stay disciplined in terms of your spending habits as you get to value the meaning of hard work.

Talking in a practical sense, finding a part-time job the soonest would mean more funds for you to use in your studies and living expenses. Remember when I said to expand your networks? This is to take advantage of possible referrals in terms of job hiring.

If you can’t handle too much socialization, you can find jobs online e.g. gumtree. Know the popular job sites in your area and apply for work through different platforms.

7. Learn to de-stress and live a healthy work-life balance.

Studying and working abroad entails great effort. It’s easy to build high levels of stress if you don’t take relaxation seriously. As much as possible, create calming routines! It can be through a nature trip, exercise, or a night out. It can be anything that interests you and helps you feel refreshed the next day.

Learning how to survive your first year as an international student doesn’t have to be very taxing. Take these tips with you and believe in what you can do! Once you’ve surpassed the adaptation phase of being a foreign student, things will become easier for you.


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