How to Overcome Language and Cultural Barriers While Studying Abroad

Heading to a foreign destination for higher education may seem a little intimidating if you are not well-versed with the culture or do not speak the language of your chosen destination. For most overseas education pursuing students and their families, the cultural and language barriers of staying and studying abroad is often a major hindrance. However, these barriers should not be viewed as something big enough that cannot be handled. Dealing with language and cultural differences is a critical part of study abroad experience and it should not deter anyone to complete their foreign degree successfully. Following certain effective tops can help one to survive the challenges and enjoy the study abroad experience.

Removing any kind of mind block or negativity towards the cultural values, traditions and language of another country is the first step towards enjoying a study abroad program. Often the perceived notions about a particular hold back a student from accepting a new culture and learning a new language. As K Balaji, a student with a foreign degree in Aeronautical Science from a renowned University in US, says, “Showing interest and greater tolerance towards another country’s cultural values, traditions, ethics and social norms can help in alleviating discomfort in making friends with people of foreign education destination and also help the student in getting acclimatized to the foreign surroundings comfortably.”

Restricting your interactions with only people from Indian origin or Asian region in your university or place of stay will only make it difficult for a person to learn about new culture and new language. It is important for students to come out of their cocoon and make efforts to establish a comfort level with locals residing in the foreign education destination. This view is reverberated by A Munchal, education counselor and owner of Vibgyor in Mumbai, says, “Adopt a friendly approach towards the locals and break the walls around you to rise above the cultural and language differences.”

Mix with the locals and forge friendships with locals as they can help you in difficult situations where cultural and language barriers pose a problem in carrying on important tasks. Having a local as a friend will help you guide through the nuances and help you in carrying on smooth communication with other people. Enrolling in a language class to learn the local language will help one to overcome the barriers. Taking help of technological apps designed to help with the translation services such as VerbalizeIt also helps in easing the language divide. With the right approach, you can enjoy your study in abroad experience and enlarge your perspective on a new culture.

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