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7 things to avoid on your first trip abroad

Last updated on: August 19, 2014 20:29 IST

Image: It's your first overseas trip. How do you strike a balance?
Photographs: Michael Dalder/Reuters Courtesy

It's only natural to be overwhelmed on your first overseas trip.

However, if the purpose of the trip is academic, there are a few things you must try and avoid in order to make the experience more memorable and worthwhile.

Your overseas expedition begins much before you fly to your study destination.

You should not just be prepared for immersing yourself in the new academic setting but also to embrace the new culture and values of the country you are visiting.

Study abroad is a chance to step up your intellectual awareness and at the same time a training ground for becoming a polished world citizen.

1. Excessive drinking spree

Earning a degree will do you a lot more good than earning a reputation of reveller.

Students at times mistake overseas study as a license to indulge excessively on alcohol.

They tend to drink like fish and can't hold the liquor.

Freedom is one thing and abusing your body is quite another.

Mishaps, imprudent actions and legal predicaments are the last things you want for yourself in an unknown land.

Prospects of fun time may allure you, but never forget something called common sense.

You have spent a fortune to earn a seat in the university; you do not want to squander it away by your foolish behaviour.

Collegepond is a career guidance company whose aim is to help students achieve their potential, crack the competitive exams and guide them in the application process for various courses across the globe.

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2. Extravagance and running into debts

Image: Keep a tab on your expenses.
Photographs: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters

Students tend to go overboard with their spending and unnecessarily land up accruing huge debt for themselves.

Hanging out with your new-found buddies is a good idea but definitely not at the cost of your outstanding credit card bills.

It is crucial that you are able to strike the right balance between necessities and amusement.

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3. Resistance in engaging in the new culture

Image: Don't be resistant to change.
Photographs: Danish Siddique/ Reuters

Change, they say, is always a demanding process and few Indian students prefer stick to their Indian peers and save the efforts of befriending locals.

One must try and make the most of his/her overseas stay and form long lasting friendships with people with diverse cultural background and exposure.

All it takes is some initiative to step out of one's comfort zone and strike a chord.

"I would love to be a part of international student community" was not just meant to be just a statement in your SOP after all. 

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Tags: SOP

4. Closed to new culture and belief system

Image: Be adaptable and flexible to new cultures.
Photographs: Joshua Lott/Reuters

You have been raised up with a set of beliefs that does not mean they are absolute.

Resistance in adapting to new culture and belief not only restricts you from broadening your outlook, it also makes you unpopular amongst your peers.

Have an open heart and a flexible mind-set as every culture has something worthwhile to offer.

Immerse and enjoy getting soaked in a brand new environment. 

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5. Unrestrained use of technology

Image: Step away from the laptop and explore a new place or cuisine.
Photographs: Reuters

You must have a life beyond your laptop and must explore it to the fullest.

Resist the temptation of spending hours posting on Facebook and Instagram and showing the world what a 'good time' you are having.

Feel secure; you don't need to prove to the world you are a bond.

Missing out on experiences of exploring a new city and befriending people around can never be substituted by 'online' experience of faking a posh life. 

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6. Not building your profile outside of academics

Image: Think beyond academic excellence; invest in college activities.
Photographs: Reuters

Your overseas learning experience is a mixed bag of goodies.

Just building up on your academic profile will not let you reap the real rewards.

The idea is to move being the four walls of the classroom and participate actively in student bodies and clubs at the university.

You will become more aware and be able to cultivate a well-rounded personality and get that culture-sensitivity that goes into making you a good global citizen. 

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7. Not taking up pertinent internship offers

Image: An overseas internship is the best way you can gain global exposure and hone your professional skills.
Photographs: Mike Segar/Reuters

Some students make the blunder of not applying for any internship and end up missing out on an opportunity to gain invaluable experience.

Internships provide the perfect platform for applying the theoretical concepts learnt in the class to real-time industrial setting thereby increasing one's job preparedness.

Your internship experience goes a long way in honing both technical and analytical skills, improving communication, boosting managerial aptitude and building networking capabilities for the students.

Do not use your busy study schedule as an excuse for not taking up internships.

You may be required to walk an extra mile for this, but it is going to take you a long way in your career.

Study overseas is an experience you would want to cherish for years to come and do not end making it a wasted opportunity.

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