Education Trends: 5 mental health tips for students studying abroad

4 min read

Edition: October 28th, 2021
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

Going to a foreign country to study can sometimes be a draining experience and put pressure on the mind. (Image Credit: Canva)

As the international education industry begins to recover from the pandemic, many students have been able to return to their schools and resume their studies abroad. Their experience of studying at a global campus is slowly coming back to normal.

The pandemic completely transformed the international students’ admission procedures, processes and deadlines during the application process as well as the experience of attending the classes. Homesickness, transitional stress and the regular worries that come with joining a school abroad were all pronounced during COVID-19.

Thus, there is an acute need for students studying abroad to take good care of their well-being in the present times.

Here are some helpful tips for students to take care of their mental health while studying abroad:

1. Practise meditation and mindfulness

  • It is inherently important for students to safeguard their mental health to be able to complete the semester successfully.
  • Keeping the mind calm amidst work pressure and deadlines can prove to be a daunting task.
  • Mindfulness and meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety.
  • A tranquil mind will lead to improved concentration and productivity throughout the day.

2. Start a journal

  • Journaling is a popularly recommended, long-standing practice used to clear and quiet the mind.
  • Jotting down one’s thoughts and feelings can help reduce the frequency and intensity of bouts of anxiety, pent-up emotions and frustrations.
  • The basic principle behind the practice is that allowing the thoughts and emotions of a person to surface clears the pressure from the mind.
  • Students can rely on journaling to get over their frustrations and anxieties.

3. Go for regular movement and exercise

  • One overlooked significance of daily exercise is its positive impact on a person’s mental health.
  • Physical movement can play a big role in improving your mood since it helps to ‘shake off’ the negative emotions and offers a boost of energy.
  • It doesn’t have to be complex. A good habit to take on can be as simple as devoting 30 minutes a day to any physical activity you enjoy like yoga, jogging, biking or walking.

4. Build a local support system

  • Choosing to study abroad is a truly courageous thing to do, as students leave behind everything familiar.
  • Building a local support system in their new community is key to strengthening their mental health.
  • So many destination countries and local communities are truly welcoming.
  • Schools also have dozens of clubs to choose from. Many have international student specific clubs.
  • Students should also seek support outside of their peer group. Professors, mentors and co-workers at part-time jobs can be part of that support system.
  • Community can truly strengthen mental health from day one.

5. Seek help when necessary

  • It is common for students to, sometimes, feel misunderstood or overwhelmed, especially in a stress-inducing environment.
  • Asking for help is the first and perhaps the most important step on the path to finding relief.
  • There are also a lot of digital resources online that can help you with your mental health journey.
  • Apps like Calm and Headspace are designed to help aid mindfulness and grounding.
  • These resources can significantly help alleviate your mental health state through new daily rituals that you can add to your routine.

It’s important for students to prioritise their mental health and take steps to ensure optimal well-being. Students should take advantage of any services their colleges / universities offer to cope with the additional stressors of the pandemic.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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