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5 Struggles You Can Expect to Experience When Studying Abroad

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5 Struggles you can expect to experience when studying abroad

After embarking on my second student exchange in July of 2019 I am truly no stranger to all the positive aspects of studying abroad. However, as I quickly learnt it is not all kittens and mittens in the world of a traveling student.


Australia is far away from EVERYWHERE

If you plan to adventure outside of this lovely country, you will be required to endure the flight that comes with it, just don’t make the mistake of spending an extra 8 hours in transit for the sake of $250.

We all pretend to know just how far Australia is from London, Paris or New York but until you are sitting on a plane with hundreds of other random people you truly do not know how far the journey is.

And yes, you may have to deal with a crying children who you feel bad for until you are hoping to get some sleep, or the lovely old gentleman by the window who’s bladder just isn’t as good as it used to be.


The shower drain will always be blocked

 My first exchange was in a lovely little English town by the name of Coventry. Within my first 24 hours of being on student residence I was surprised by how clean everything was! Very impressed, as I had feared the worst.

I soon found out that the honey-moon phase would come to a crashing holt with the shared showers consistently flooding. Out of the three I had access to, two would flood within a few minutes and the last was closer to the size of a half shower. And alas! It was not only the English but the French also! I once again had the same issue with my second exchange, the bathroom was spotless yet the drain would not drain.

If you take one thing away from this article this is it – get to know your maintenance person! Make sure you always give them a friendly smile in the hallways and that way you can be sure that if the dreaded day were to come you have someone you can count on.


Staple foods taste different and shopping centres are weird

To some extent everyone expects there to be some products that won’t be available in your host country and this is usually fine, we can go without vegemite for a month or six! However, after trying four different flavours of instant ramen and then going back to the good ol’ El Paso burrito kit, you might find that things just doesn’t taste the same. This can make you really feel outside of your comfort zone.

These assumptions of similarity, especially those related to somewhat staple food items, become constant reminders that you are hundreds of miles away from that one coffee shop you really enjoy.

Be sure to take one or two favourites from home for these moments. They can also be great way to share Aussie culture with your new international friends before you tuck into the many amazing local dishes you will have just discovered.


The dreaded finals week rush

It can be quite easy to get caught up in student night every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday AND Friday and not to mention flying around Europe every other weekend.

Whilst this is what exchange is all about there is still a study aspect to it.

I must admit the only subject I have almost failed was one of my exchange units. Be sure to have fun but don’t forget to occasionally hit the books whilst you are catching buses around the country.


You won’t want to leave…


When your study abroad experience ends, you will face your last challenge, saying goodbye.

After countless memories and experiences, you will now have to leave all the amazing people that have crossed your path.

It is in these moments that you might face a twinge of sadness farewelling what has become your new lifestyle however take heart knowing that your memories will last a lifetime and with the benefits of social media it is easier than ever to stay in touch.


It’ll all be worth it!


Let’s face it, when you return home from your time away you will not be telling everyone of your struggles.

You will share the travel tips you have learnt, the new foods you have tried, the new place you’ve visited and the new people you’ve met. I know I did!

Words by Georgia Georgia is studying a Bachelor of Business (Accounting) at Swinburne University and completed our Corporate Social Reponsibility program

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