Advice from an international student
Problems? We all have them! In this blog Qin Jingyi, our IT Carlow and Chinese ambassador, shares some of the challenges she’s faced while studying abroad and offers some advice on how best to overcome them..
This year is my second year studying in Ireland, and compared to last year I feel like I’ve really adapted to life here. My time here has helped me grow as a person, and I’ve experienced a lot of ‘firsts’ – the first time I’ve rented a house, my first time being an international student, the first time I’ve had the chance to travel on my own – the list goes on!
But, inevitably, so many firsts bring their own problems and in this blog i’d like to share some of the challenges I’ve faced since becoming an international student.
1. Learning a new language.
Ireland is very multicultural and here your classmate may be from Ireland, Spain, France, China, Korea and so on. Even though everyone uses English to communicate, we all have different accents meaning sometimes things get lost in translation!
2. Adapting to a brand new lifestyle
Ireland is a mini country compared to China! Irish people love life and are very friendly, but as a foreigner moving here I found it hard to adapt to this new lifestyle. There are many things that are different here, one being that the shops close really early in comparison to China!
3. A new way of studying
The two of the main elements of my course in Electronic Engineering at IT Carlow and lectures and lab, and the final result not just about final exam. Your final result here can be made up of an assignment, a practical exam and your finals. So, if you want get a good marks in your course, you can’t leave your studies until the last minute!
4. Making new friends
A new country, a new university… and new friends! In the beginning it’s common to feel a little lonely, so make the effort to meet new people and friends by getting involved in college societies and chatting with your classmates!
5. Being homesick
China is more than 9000km away from Ireland, and the time difference is seven hours in summer and eight hours during the winter months. This means that each day when I finish classes, my parents are already asleep and dreaming! And when they wake up, I go to bed! Finding a time to talk with them is difficult, and I often miss my family… and Chinese food!
But, what we should do when we have problems? Run away from them?
If you have this attitude, studying abroad will be difficult for you, and you’ll miss the best parts of studying in a new place! Boys and girls, you are young and in a foreign country, you should be having lots of fun! So, if you experience any of these problems don’t fret! From someone who’s been through it, take my advice…
1. Talk with your classmates, share your experiences and make as many new friends as you can. At the beginning this can be difficult – you may not understand them and they might not understand you but stick with it! In Ireland, everyone is happy to help and people are very warm and encouraging. My classmate recently told me “you have progressed a lot in English!”, a kind word means so much!
2. Learn about Irish culture – if you understand the country you’ll adapt to lifestyle quicker!
3. If you are struggling with your studies, talk to your lecturers and your international office. They are there to help you, and will often find a solution to any problem you might have. They have lots of experience, so make the most of it!
4. When you’re feeling really homesick, listened to songs that remind you of home or learn how to cook some of your own dishes for comfort! Food fixes lots of problems!
So, in short, please do not be afraid, you are not alone, you have classmates, friends, and teachers! The world awaits you!