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7 Indian Students Reveal What Studying Abroad Is Really Like

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1. "Use this opportunity to find your voice."

Getty, Image courtesy of Devika G.

"Moving away from one's comfort zone is probably the biggest and most exciting change that you will experience in your life. It is uncomfortable and forces you to reflect. Use this opportunity to find your voice and opinions as opposed to following the herd."

—Devika G.

2. "Read the course outline of the university you're interested in — before you move your entire life to another country."

Image courtesy of Shruti G., Getty

"Please, please, please, please read the course outline of the university you're interested in — before you move your entire life to another country. Universities are eager to admit international students and will answer any and all of your questions. Speak to the admissions office to put you in touch with folks who can get into the nitty-gritty of the courses they offer. Another way to get candid opinions would be to get in touch with current students or alumni! Honestly, nothing is more disheartening and stressful than doing a course you hate, quitting halfway through and investing your (or your parents') life savings on it!"

—Shruti G.

3. "Find a way to get credit for classes you take in high school."

Via Getty, Image courtesy of Sameer B.

"Advice: Find a way to get credit for classes you take in high school (whether it be by taking AP tests or taking higher level classes in IB, etc.). It enables you to skip the foundation courses (most of this material is covered by the Indian education system) and take more advanced classes in college. It ends up being frustrating to redo the same 11th and 12th level of physics, chemistry, and math that you JUST studied."

—Sameer B.

4. "Stock up on every Indian snack or mama’s food you can."

Image courtesy of Shalini S., Getty

"One piece of advice: Stock up on every Indian snack or mama’s food you can. You may like the change in environment, including the food, at first. However, as the stress grows and you go deep into the session, you start missing home-cooked food. So you better stock up all the pickles, chutneys, theplas, etc., and freeze them. That’ll be your real 'comfort' after a stressful session of writing papers and studying for exams!”

—Shalini S.

5. "Jump into the application process as soon as possible to catch hold of all scholarship opportunities."

Image courtesy of Samah V., Getty

"My advice to Indians who aspire to study abroad would be to put their plans into action immediately. Stop thinking so much about it; it's definitely worth it. The whole admission process takes a while. And there are numerous scholarships (I'm talking about UK here) on offer, and some are just for Indians, but the trick is to start applying October/November onward if you're looking for the next September intake. By February/March, most scholarship decisions are already made. There are scholarships that take applications up 'til May, but chances of landing any of these are slim since the number of people who apply for them is really high. So jump into the application process as soon as possible to catch hold of all scholarship opportunities. The same applies for campus accommodation — the sooner you apply, the better chances you have. I would recommend getting an overseas education consultant on board.

"Taking this leap was the scariest, most thrilling decision I've ever made. And embellishing my CV is just one of the many reasons that it's worth it."

—Samah V.

6. "Be prepared to make some hard choices."

Getty, Image courtesy of Bhanvi S.

"Study abroad is a dream. If you have always imagined yourself in control of your life — having the freedom of doing what you want to, finally getting the cool college life that you saw characters in Bollywood movies enjoy while growing up — here's a little bit of a reality check that you need (just like I did!).

"Be prepared to make some hard choices. They are mostly ugly, and there's no sugar-coated way to say this: You will never feel like you have enough money and you will have to cut down on a LOT of things you like/love (including the pretty college stationery stock that you buy as a way of motivating yourself every new semester); you will also feel homesick a LOT and eating burnt food/bland food will become second nature. But it's all worth the numerous life skills and things at college that you learn — especially the lesson of acknowledging your own privileges and learning to pick yourself every time you fall down (which is pretty much once a week, to be honest)."

—Bhanvi S.

7. "Resist the temptation of being closeted with fellow Indians/South Asians."

Image courtesy of Yogendra K., Getty

"Be open. Open to new cultures, new experiences, and new people. Resist the temptation of being closeted with fellow Indians/South Asians. Don't get me wrong: Friends from back home can be your backbone in a new country, but they shouldn't be your only friends abroad. Meet classmates from different parts of the world, make friends with the locals, find out about their lifestyles, find local sports teams, celebrate festivals together, go out and try new cuisines, and do some fun indoor and outdoor activities. There are a lot of foreigners who are curious about India. Be their India guide! You'll be surprised at how much you will learn outside the classroom."

—Yogendra K.

Studying abroad can open doors to greater opportunities! Follow Samir’s adventure to find out what it really takes to succeed:

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