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10 Struggles that Indian Students Face when Studying Abroad

Real students, real woes; a humorous look at the troubles and challenges that Indian students face when studying abroad.

Mahesh Ramani

Did you know that culture shock, depression and home sickness are three primary causes of worry among Indian students abroad?

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We have spoken to hundreds of students who have gone abroad for higher studies and present in a humorous style this list of ten struggles that they face!


Everything seems costly

Well when a pizza seems to cost you about 12 dollars, you suddenly realize you could get your pizza fix at Dominos for Rs 49 in India. Prices of products, especially packaged food and dining out in restaurants can be a costly affair abroad!


A Hippie or a Buddha?

One thing that we have noticed among guys studying abroad is that they either grow long hair like hippies and death metal guitarists or go all bald like the biker gang dudes! Well the simple reason being that getting a hair-cut abroad is a pricey affair – can cost anywhere from 12 to 20 dollars. Compare this to an all inclusive hair-cut, shave and neck massage for Rs 200 in India.


Getting Used to Just Toilet Paper

Well this is a very touchy point! We are used to the bucket and the mug for washing but abroad it is just toilet paper! So get used fast to using toilet paper.


Punctuality is the Key

We have stressed this point in other articles as well. Whichever country you go to; the USA, the UK, Germany or Singapore; respect time! If you make an appointment to visit someone; ensure that you are there five minutes in advance. If you are running late, call and apologize for the delay. “Chalta hai” attitude will not work outside India!! You better keep this in mind even before you board your flight out of India.


Addressing Professors by their Name

After years and years of using sir and madam to address your teachers and professors; it is going to take some time to get used to addressing your professors abroad by their names! Most of them prefer being addressed by their first name. This is a paradigm shift from how we treat and interact with teachers in India.


Memories of Family and Friends

Well this is a tough one! You are going to be away from your family and friends! You are going to miss out on the birthday treats and the family get-togethers and festival celebrations. But you can always stay connected over Skype and video-chats; that’s the power of technology for you!


Strict Anti-Piracy Laws

Just because you have access to super-fast internet and no longer have to fight with the Airtel and BSNL support in India; do not end up in jail for downloading movies via Torrents. Countries like Germany have super-strong anti-piracy laws; to reinterpret a line from “Taken” you will be hunted down and punished! So don’t be stupid, don’t break any laws!


Part-time Jobs

If you are on a tight budget you will definitely aim to get a part-time job to support your expenses. This is usually restricted to about 14 to 18 hours every week during classes and during vacations you are usually allowed to work full-time. Rules vary from country to country and university to university. Cross-check with your International Student Officer to ensure that you are not breaking any labour laws when you sign up for jobs.


Academic Rigour

This again is a serious topic of discussion; academic life can be very strenuous, those on a research-oriented programme have the added stress of ensuring that their research project is a success. Do not get disheartened, do not lose focus, strive to achieve your academic goals.


Make Friends

Out there in a foreign land, you are no longer Bengali, Tamilian, Punjabi or Gujarati; you just have one identity – Indian. Make friends with other students at your University; not just from India but other countries as well. Participate actively in student recreation and local community outreach programmes. Make an earnest attempt to learn about the city that’s going to be your home for the duration of your programme. Create friendships that last; the power of alumni networks in finding jobs is remarkable.


Worried about finding the right programme and university? Get in touch with us and our trusted study abroad counsellors will help you find a programme and university that fits your requirements.


Image: Sara Mvers

Are you anxious about living in a new city?

Nupur Verma Nupur Verma,
Study abroad expert.
We offer pre-departure counselling to help you prepare for your life abroad. Request a call back or call us now on 1800 103 2581 / 1800 103 9634 (toll-free) for guidance.