How to overcome 2 common barriers to studying abroad

International students can enjoy campus life more and study better with these tips.

Taking the step to further your education is always something to be proud of, but it can understandably seem daunting if you are planning to study abroad. It's normal to feel some anxiety about leaving your friends and family – however, it is just as exciting to look ahead to the new experiences, friendships and networks you will be creating. 

That said, there are a number of common barriers that most international students face, but they all can be overcome with a positive mindset, support and study strategies. Here, we share several of these tips. 

Barrier #1: Struggling to study due to feeling lost on campus

Campus designs include a range of resources to help students excel in their assignments, such as libraries, computer labs, Wi-Fi zones, cafeterias and even gymnasiums to get a healthy workout in between classes for a fresh mind. Being new to a country can make these shared public spaces feel intimidating, but they are worth spending time at to gain access to notes, information and facilities that can aid your study. 

Solution: Join or form a study group with classmates 

Researching together and swapping notes can make the study smoother, as well as create a social environment that is mutually beneficial for all of you. You will learn about the diverse cultures here in New Zealand and interact with like-minded people. Robert A. Hatch, a professor at the University of Florida, notes that committed, studious people spend between 50-60 hours per week studying – that's a lot of time that can be more enjoyable shared with company. 

Group study is a great option to navigate campus together and meet like-minded people. Group study is a great option to navigate campus together and meet like-minded people.

Barrier #2: Language or cross-cultural issues obstruct your study skills

Don't feel alone if this happens to you, because it affects almost every single international student. There were over 91,062 international students enrolled nationally in 2015, according to the latest data by the government's Education New Zealand statistics, and this was trending upwards year-on-year so there are likely many more today. Chances are, each and every one of them faced this obstacle. 

Solution: Enroll in study skills workshops and join co-curricular clubs

Here at Auckland Institute of Studies, we offer custom skills workshops hosted by our expert Study Skills Advisor on academic methods and learning techniques to enhance your study despite the barriers. This is one of our many learning support services, especially crafted to provide you with an optimum professionally and personally stimulating environment. 

Finally, embrace your hobbies and sign up to dance, arts or crafts, music, sports or other activities at community centres near your accommodation. These are affordable and a great way to keep doing a hobby you loved before moving to New Zealand, but alongside New Zealanders.