1.After experiencing being a foreign student, you realize there are other cultures that exist other than your own
When living in the same place for most of your life, you become so accustomed to how your life is there. Sometimes this causes you to forget that there are other places to explore. Living in America most of my life, I felt quite cut off from the rest of the world. I had a strong curiosity to take in new cultures and learn about other ways of living. It is a crucial learning experience by doing this. It will completely open up your mind and introduce you to a new way of thinking.
As a foreign student from America moving to The Netherlands, the cultural differences are quite much to take in. I had to adapt quick to their way of transportation, especially the bikes. The different ways of eating I also found interesting. For example, Americans eat pancakes for breakfast but the Dutch eat them for dinner. At first it is difficult, but fun to get used to a new accustom like this.
2. If there is a foreign language in the country you move to, do your best to learn as much as you can of it
Even if you have no interest in the mother tongue of the country you move to, maybe try it anyways. With my experience as a foreign student, Dutch people loved when I would learn the language and try to speak it. You always learn the fastest when you are actually in that country. You may find that after some time, it becomes easier than you think. Learning the language of which ever country you move to shows that you respect their country. Being a foreign student, you want to learn and take everything in when you are there, because it could be a once in a lifetime experience. Maybe when you come back you could even impress your friends with your new way of speaking.
3. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone
Coming out of your comfort zone is never a bad thing. It is actually the best thing you could possible do to make yourself grow and learn as a person and especially as a foreign student. You can aim to become less scared of the world and do things that you never thought you could do. For my situation, I had emotions coming here I could not quite explain. Terrified, but at the same time rushing with excitement, I knew there were great things coming for me. It took me a lot of courage to do things that I’m not used to, or usually I would never have the courage to do on my own.
An example of what I had to go through with stepping out of my comfort zone was trying to make friends with other foreign students. Surrounded by kids who come from all over the world, I felt that making friends would be difficult. This was because of the differences of where we all come from. But this is not the case. Sometimes the people who come from the most opposite country as you can become your best friend.
4. Accept new ways of transportation, and don’t be intimidated by it
Another big factor with moving to a foreign country is finding your way around. This can always feel scary and intimidating, but you will handle it like a pro in no time. With my experience as a foreign student in Amsterdam, at first I had no clue there was such a place where there are bikes on every corner of every street. It’s only part of the Dutch lifestyle, and you become to love it.
I come from a place where you must always have a car and way of travel is too simple. When coming to Amsterdam, you walk into a new world of transportation. After some time, it all becomes a way of life for you like a second nature, and actually quite fun.
5. You learn more about yourself, even if you thought you knew everything
Sometimes you might think you know who you are as a person. But when moving to another country, you begin to learn that it is not scary to just be yourself around people. When I came to the Netherlands, I was still shy and I knew little of who I actually am as a person. I sort of needed to find myself. I soon learned that I am not as shy as I thought, and I could talk to anyone. Self-reliance also plays a big part in this. Being In a foreign country means you only have yourself to rely on in tough times. At first it may seem difficult in every way to only have yourself in certain situations. Later, you learn you can do anything on your own, without any help from people that you usually would back home.
Last but not least, I learned I am actually good at handling high-pressure situations. Being a foreign student for an upcoming four years, you come in contact with a lot of challenging events. In the past before moving to another country, I used to only focus on the problems. I soon learned that focusing on the solutions rather than the problems was a better way of looking at life. You are under a lot of pressure when you are a foreign student in a new country, and forced to handle everything on your own. When you must get everything situated quickly in a new country, it can be overwhelming. You learn that you can do things that you never thought you could.