Communication and Traveling are Key Tips to Success Study Abroad

Most of the students encounter difficult things such as language barrier, culture shock and adjusting to a new country when they experienced study abroad. These difficulties are depending on people and countries, but there are two tips to have a great life in the new country.

Fighting with Foreign Language and Using English

Language barrier is the biggest issue for most of the American students during the studying abroad. According to the Pew Research Center, there are no national requirements to study foreign languages in schools in the United States.

Emily Burns, a senior student at University at Albany who study English and Japanese studied at Kansai Gaidai University in Japan in fall 2015. She said she had struggles about the language during her life in Japan.

“Japanese and English are so different. Reading Japanese characters was the most difficult thing for me. Speaking is also kind of difficult issue. If I went to restaurant or store, they ask to understand me? Language barriers were difficult for me when I go around the city by myself.”


Ms. Burns was in the Kansai Gaidai University, Hirakata, Osaka, Japan.

On the other hand, Teah Sisti, a communication and psychology student at University at Albany did not huge language problems when she studied abroad in Florence, Italy. “Not in Italy, Florence specifically, so many people speak English there.”

She took four classes at the university in Florence, and she was able to take classes which are not required to speak Italian.

She said, “One was a cultural class, the second one is photography class, and other two I’m actually singer so I studied opera. All of the opera is Italian. My professor did speak English to me, but she taught me Italian words. Overall my classes were primary in English.”


Ms. Sisti was in Florence, Italy.

Most of Europe countries have a national requirement to learn a foreign language, especially English. In Italy, where Ms. Sisti studied abroad, students need to study at least two foreign languages, according to Pew Research Center.

This is why she did not feel any language difficulties. Otherwise, many Japanese people are not good at speaking English. Foreign people need to speak basic Japanese when they travel to Japan.

Homesick? Enjoy New Place?

Transition to the country is another difficult issue for international students. Most of the international students miss their family, friends, foods and things in their home country. Then they will encounter culture shock. However, it depends on people.

“Adjusting to a new country was hard for me. I’ve never been out of America; I’ve never been ways from my family before. I especially missed America during the thanksgiving holiday. But I tried walking around and meeting new people to get to use to it,” Ms. Burns said. She experienced culture shock during her studying abroad in Japan.

However, Ms. Sisti enjoyed the differences between the US and Italy and she did not want to go back to the US.

“The most unexpected thing was that it was easy to transition to Italy. People usually suffer from culture shock, but I loved it! I enjoyed hanging out with local Italian people. That was really cool,” Ms. Sisti said.


Ms. Sisti was in Florence, Italy. It was taken in the very beginning of her study abroad.

“When I came to Albany for the first day as a freshman here, I cried like a baby. When I was in abroad, it was different to be here. I sure miss home, but I was surprised it was not a serious problem when I was in Italy.”

Important Two Tips For All Students Who Studies Abroad

Ms. Burns and Ms. Sisti experienced differently in different countries, but there are two same points that they experienced about enjoying the different culture.

  1. communicating with local people
  2. traveling around the place

These two points are important things to have great studying abroad experiences.

When you are studying abroad and you have difficulties with language, talking to local people is one suggestion to solve the language problem. They probably help you to understand the language.

Communication has other benefits. “I met with new people every day. It was fun for me. My dorm was kind of like an international house,” Ms. Burns said. The ways of communication are different from their home country, but it is one of the ways to have fun in a different culture.

Moreover, traveling is also great opportunities for studying abroad to get to know about the country and its culture. “I went to Kyoto to visit temples. It was amazing,” Ms. Burns said.


Ms. Burns was in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Ms. Sisti also traveled around the Italy and other countries in Europe such as France, Netherland, Spain and Greece.


Ms. Sisti was in Barcelona, Spain during her trip around Europe

The purpose of studying abroad actually depends on people. But communicating with local people and traveling are important to overcome culture shock and enjoy the life of studying abroad.


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