When you’re studying abroad, it’s normal to feel a little stressed or homesick once in a while. Sometimes, you might feel you need a bit of extra help – and that’s okay. Some of the common areas that can cause some anxiety include:
- Academic demands
- Pressures balancing work and study commitments
- Financial difficulties
- Relationship problems
With that in mind – let’s discuss mental health!
Common stresses faced by international students
In research conducted by Forbes-Mewett & Sawyer in Australia, international students were interviewed about the most common transitional stresses they faced while adjusting to life in their study home and many of these apply to all our study destinations:
Culture shock & off-campus living pressures
Upon arrival, international students face ‘culture shock’ and a string of new responsibilities – including navigating language barriers, searching for accommodation, finding housemates, paying rent, learning to manage a household – not to mention studying!
Students also reported initial worries about English language barriers when making friends, voicing opinions during group assignments and/or utilising professional health-care services.
Financial & academic pressures
In addition to the financial pressures of budgeting and handling household finances, international students must adjust to unfamiliar academic environments, study styles and course-structures. Some students – especially those receiving financial support from home – reported feeling intense pressures to succeed or achieve academically while studying abroad. Students who reported feeling their academic work was ‘below expectation’ experienced higher levels of anxiety and depression (Forbes-Mewett & Sawyer), resulting in poorer academic performance.
Stay socially connected in your host country
Build your local support network or swap stories with other international students sharing similar experiences. Use social networking sites/apps like Meet Up to find international student groups, or people in your city who share similar hobbies.
Reach out to friends, family and/or personal support networks
Talk with someone close and trusted. Still, try not to contact home too often – you’ll want to focus on your current experiences as an international student too. Try:
- Scheduling regularly Skype sessions with family or friends
- Writing emails or letters back home
- Switching off social media for a while. Be open to new experiences
- Exercise regularly, eat healthy and look after yourself
- Exercise improves both physical and mental health – to stretch your legs. Eat nutritious meals. Rest well.
- Contact us. Please contact your IDP counsellors back in Cambodia or leave us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org