5 Things to Expect as an International Student

Moving overseas for your studies will probably be the most important and exciting event of your life so far. There’s so much you need to know, to learn, and to get ready for that it can be overwhelming. Luckily for you, we at Uninest have had years of experience in helping foreign students get used to their new homes and surroundings. So check out the following run-down of things you need to expect when moving home in pursuit of higher education in another country.

1. The Culture Shocks

Some say travelling broadens the mind, but it’s only true if you keep an open mind to absorb all the new (albeit a little odd) things your life abroad has to offer.

Even though the UAE has always advocated freedom of religion, Islam is still the official religion here, and with that comes local customs and traditions. Take some time to get acclimated to the Arabs, their religious and cultural practices, and generally their ways of life. You’ll be so much culturally richer for it, and you’ll save yourself and your friends the unnecessary embarrassment too – especially if you’re not from an Arab/Muslim country.

2. The Endless Questions

Being an international student will undoubtedly make you a source of fascination amongst your peers, so it’s best that you start preparing your answers to questions like “Where are you from?”, “Why is your accent so weird?”, “How come you speak English so well?”, “Can you teach me to say something in your language?”, “What’s the time there now?”… Well, you’re more likely to hear the last one from your friends and family back home (thanks to Skype) but it’s something you need to expect and get used to, because it will become the obligatory conversation starter.

3. The Challenges

Movies make studying overseas seem so easy and glamorous, right? Not quite. While it is a lot of fun – the local cuisine, the places you’ll see, the people you’ll meet, and the things you’ll get to do (see our Dubai local guide for all the fun activities in and around the emirate) – the reality will soon kick in that you’re here to study.

We have no doubt that you’ll get settled in in no time thanks to the inclusive and communal spirits at Dubailand, but don’t get too comfortable(!) because after all, your main priority whilst living overseas should be your studies! Just bear in mind that the stress is a normal and necessary process to academic success. If you’re not prepared for it, the stress can become overwhelming, depressing, or even anxiety-provoking, so make sure you’re physically and emotionally ready for the challenges that lie ahead.

4. The Environment Changes

Dubai is located within the Northern desert belt, hence its tropical desert climate. If you’re moving here from the tropics, the Dubai weather may be a little more temperamental than you’re used to. On the other hand, if you’re from a cooler country like the UK or the majority of European countries, then you can expect to enjoy outdoor activities more and connect with nature more thoroughly. Although you may find the desert heat a tad unbearable from time to time, but don’t worry, we have a rooftop pool for you to cool down in here at Dubailand.

Generally speaking, Dubai is hot and humid year-round, so that woolly coat you bought in the winter clear-out sale is probably not the wisest outerwear option for this trip. Instead, opt for a lighter jacket – just enough to keep your warm during those chillier nights.

5. The Unexpected

Saving the best till last: you need to expect everything that is unexpected. By that we mean leave all your preconceived (mis)conceptions about the country you’re travelling to at home, otherwise you might end up disappointed or dissatisfied with your new life abroad.

It’s true: your expectations can influence your experience. Many students approach their international experiences expecting them to go certain ways, but that’s simply not how it works. Our advice? Go with the flow, take each experience as it comes, and absorb all of the experiences and enjoy yourself as much as possible, because when else are you going to have the privilege to study in Dubai again? Probably never!

An Experience That’ll Transform Your Life

The opportunity to study abroad is truly once-in-a-lifetime, and that’s why we’re here to help you make the most of it! If you’ve decided to study in Dubai (great choice!) and you’re still looking for your accommodation, be sure to check out Dubailand – our all-inclusive student residence situated right next to Dubai International Academic City – and get in touch if you need more information.