Overcoming Obstacles Encountered While Studying Abroad

March 10, 2016

ISEP student Destiny S. is a part of ISEP Voices Spring 2016. She is a first-generation college student from Northern Arizona University, and is currently studying abroad at Edinburgh Napier University in the United Kingdom.

On my flight to Edinburgh, I reflected on what I wanted to achieve in my time studying abroad. I have been relatively successful so far in exceeding in my study abroad goals, but there have been obstacles along the way to success.

Looking out of plane at sunrise
Looking out of plane at sunrise

Obstacle 1: Challenging Workload

Studying abroad in Scotland has been fantastic so far, but if you are not taking electives and instead taking classes for your major, it can be slightly more difficult than the typical experience. In the United States, I was used to having more frequent deadlines and more classes (five to seven) that helped maintain my focus. My host university has a large portion of grades coming from only a few assignments and tests. In order to excel in my classes I have adjusted to the accents, different teaching styles and different learning methods that Edinburgh Napier provides to its students.

Solution to Obstacle 1:

I schedule in personal time to study for classes, pay close attention to deadlines (start as soon as possible), go to an area where I can focus on schoolwork for set amounts of time and make connections with fellow classmates to get help on assignments or form study groups. I also utilize library resources such as textbooks and journal articles provided by my host university.

Obstacle 2: Culture Shock

My culture shock came about a week after I arrived and it was surprising. I was stressed, trying to prepare for my classes and talking with an advisor on getting papers signed when everything started to build up in my mind. The most foreign thing to me was the grocery stores in Scotland - none of them are that big (that are dedicated to food only) and at the time I had only found two different stores. The stores provided no recognizable food brands to me and some foods that I desired were difficult to find. Plus, I was missing my friends and family, and not quite close with anyone yet.

Solution to Obstacle 2:

Talking to someone about what I was experiencing was helpful to find solutions to the culture shock. I started to find other grocery stores, tried to understand the layout of the stores, kept an eye out for the foods that I was missing, looked to Pinterest for inspiration and explored different restaurant options. After experiencing culture shock, I keep in closer contact with friends and family, continue to meet new people every day, remind myself to get out of my comfort zone and go to local events in between schoolwork and traveling.

After overcoming these two big obstacles, I have been able to stay on the right track for my goals. I have been having the time of my life assimilating into Scottish culture and using the term “cheers!”

*Are you ready for your own adventure? See all of your study abroad options on the ISEP website.

Want to see more from our ISEP bloggers? Learn more about our ISEP Voices Spring 2016 group.*

Like this Story? Also like us on Facebook.

.st0{display:none;} .st1{fill:#BEBEC0;}