How to Survive Your Study Abroad if You're An Introvert | Top Universities

How to Survive Your Study Abroad if You're An Introvert

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Julia Jaworska

Updated Mar 25, 2019



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Studying abroad is one of the best experiences you can have in life. It’s an exciting time, as you discover a new place and meet new people, all at a pace you weren’t accustomed to until now.

The intensity of it all can sometimes feel overwhelming though. When I first moved abroad for university, I was excited to make friends and discover the place I was going to live, but on the other hand I was afraid it was going to be a struggle for me as an introvert. I was suddenly out of my comfort zone and had to travel alone hundreds of miles away from everyone I knew.

Introverts are often thought to be antisocial people, who don’t want to spend time with others at all, but the truth is even introverts usually enjoy spending time with friends and going out. However, as much as we do love it, after hanging out with a big group of people we usually need some time alone to recharge our batteries.

So, here are some tips for surviving your study abroad as an introvert.

Explore your new city by yourself

Every time I moved to a new place, I spent a couple of days exploring the city on my own. You will probably have a lot of opportunities to do that, but at the very beginning I find it a good way to get used to the place. Being able to explore at your own pace before you begin university or work is a great way to relax.

Don’t be afraid of spending time alone

If you ever feel overwhelmed by all the activities, trips and parties, take a break and don’t blame yourself for needing it. Find a way to relax and treat yourself to some alone time whenever you need it.

I love taking long walks around the city or having a coffee by myself, people-watching as the world goes by outside. Having a coffee or a meal alone can feel stressful or daunting – I know it used to be for me when I first started travelling alone – but embrace your time alone and don’t stress about what other people might think.

Find a way to document your experiences

Many introverts like to express their thoughts in some form, whether that be writing, drawing or something else. I like to jot down my thoughts from time to time and it’s turned into a great way to document my experiences abroad as well. If those things relax you and help you process everything you experience, then do it.

Stay connected with everyone back home

Studying abroad can be difficult in terms of being away from your friends and family. When homesickness strikes it can be hard to enjoy the time abroad, so don’t forget to keep in touch with your loved ones. It will make adjusting to your new life much easier.

Reach out to people you meet

For us introverts, making friends in a new place can be a struggle but do your best to get out of your comfort zone and take advantage of university Facebook groups, forums and other ways of meeting people.

By starting the conversations online, you can find like-minded people before you even arrive, and it will make it easier to find more friends. Once you’re there, go to social events and strike up conversations. Chances are a lot of people are just as insecure about making the first move as you are.

Challenge yourself to break out of your comfort zone

As much as I am all for embracing your introverted self, we all have to get out of our comfort zone from time to time. Join a group trip, a new interesting club, or do something that scares you. After all, you’ll spend a limited time in this new place so you may as well try and make the best of it.

Make yourself feel at home

Make your dorm room or flat cosy with some decorating. Whether it’s putting up pictures of you with your friends and family or just sticking up some posters on the wall, having a space that feels nice and relaxing is a must for an introvert.

Studying abroad sometimes is amazing and sometimes it can get you down, but it’s always worth it. I hope my tips were helpful in navigating the world of studying and living abroad as an introvert. You can find out more about it here.

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