text.skipToContent text.skipToNavigation
Language:Dil:

How to deal with stress when studying abroad

Understanding the cause and how to deal with stress when in a new country

When you’re studying abroad, it’s normal to feel a little stressed or homesick once in a while. But sometimes, you might feel you need a bit of extra help – and that’s okay.

Recent research has revealed that, in comparison with the general population, university students are far more likely to experience mental illness. A national study conducted by Headspace and the National Union of Students in Australia surveyed 2,600 TAFE and university students and found that 35% had experienced thoughts of self-harm or suicide, whilst 65% reported feelings of high-to-very-high level stress, panic attacks and sleeping problems (ABC News).

Common student anxieties included:

  • academic demands
  • pressures balancing work and study commitments
  • financial difficulties
  • relationship problems 

Compared with domestic students, international students were identified as being at higher risk due to extra challenges and stresses faced when living abroad, away from home (Forbes-Mewett & Sawyer).

Fortunately, this same research suggests a rise in reports may indicate that – compared to past attitudes – people nowadays are more open about discussing their experience with mental illness.

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 whilst 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 (due to fears about miscommunication). 

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 whilst 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.

But how to overcome these stresses? Here are some tips!

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 weekly/monthly Skype sessions with family or friends
  • traveling and sending postcards back home.
  • writing emails or letters.
  • switching off social media for a while.
  • Be open to new experiences.

Entertainment guides like Time Out and Concrete Playground are fantastic resources for seeing what’s on (festivals, exhibitions, pub nights, etc) at any given time in your local area. 

EXERCISE REGULARLY, EAT HEALTHY AND LOOK AFTER YOURSELF

Exercise improves both physical and mental health – so stretch your legs. Eat nutritional meals. Rest well.

HELPLINES AND COUNSELLING 

Australia

  • Lifeline –13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service –1300 659 467
  • Beyond Blue –1300 22 46 36
  • Headspace –1800 650 890 

Canada

  • Good to Talk student helpline – 1-866-925-5454
  • Mental Health Helpline – 1-866-531-2600
  • Spectra Helpline –  Multilingal service covering Ontario only– https://www.spectrahelpline.org/index.php/our-services/multilingual-helplines 

New Zealand

  • Lifeline – 0800 543 354 veya (09) 5222 999 Auckland sınırları içinde 
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) 
  • Healthline – 0800 611 116
  • Youthline – 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat
  • thelowdown.co.nz – or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626 

UK

  • Nightline – Look at Nightline website to see if your university or college offers a night-time listening service. Nightline phone operators are all students too.
  • If you are studying in Wales, you can contact the Community Advice and Listening Line (C.A.L.L) on is 0800 123 737 or you can text 'help' to 81066. This services is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Samaritans – freephone number is 116 123, or you can email jo@samaritans.org.

USA

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free on 800-273-8255. 

Online chat services

  • Lifeline Crisis Chat
  • Crisis Text Line (on your smartphone)
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  • IMAlive

 

Recommended Articles

Accommodation

As you plan your international education, it’s important to consider what type of housing you’ll be most comfortable living in.

When you arrive

When you study with IDP, you are part of a living buzzing network of students, alumni and staff who are all here to help you succeed. One of the benefits of studying with IDP is our welcome events.

Social advice for international students

The international student experience involves more than just study! If you want to make the most of your time abroad, you will also need to explore life outside the classroom.

Developing your soft skills

As well as a great academic record, employers will often be interested in your ‘soft skills’, which are the skills involved with how you interact with other people.

Settling in

The first weeks of studying and living abroad can be both overwhelming and painful for every new international student. Yes, it can be exciting, but sometimes it is only when you finally set foot in a new country that you understand the challenges of leaving your home, family and friends for the fulfilment of your dreams.

Networking and socialising

Obviously, networking is important. But does it make sense for an international student to network with people if they are not to see them again or if they are bound to go home after graduation?

Managing Money

There are several ways that you can save money as an international student. You may already know a few of these tips, but most of them are definitely worth keeping in mind as they will be able to help you if you’re struggling with money.

Study tips

Everyone approaches studying in their own way. There is no ‘one golden rule’ to help you achieve the best results – it all comes down to what works best for YOU.

Find Internships

Cutting through the tough Australian job market can be quite challenging for many international students. Paid or unpaid, that’s why internships are important in giving you real world experience in the industry you want to work for.

Job seeking tips

Every year, the number of fresh graduates added to the world’s workforce continues to grow. So it’s no surprise that some students can become worried about their chances of being hired after graduation.

Your online career profile

As an international student, you probably have several online profiles to stay connected. But are you connecting on a professional level?

Global career pathways

It’s every university’s responsibility to prepare students for the world of employment. However, if you’re nearing graduation and still wondering whether you can make it in the global workforce, here are some quick tips to help you gain an edge over your competitors!

Please select a level of study

Enter subject, choose from the list or hit search

  • Start typing, choose from the list or hit search

  • Enter subject, choose from the list or or hit search

Please type and select an institution

  • Type 3 characters of a university name and select from the list

  • Enter a university or school name and select from the list