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Study in Europe Blog

Read through some of our blog posts below to find out more about studying in Europe. Like, share and comment – we’d love to hear what you think!.

 

I am an Indian student who is currently pursuing a bachelor degree in International Sales and Marketing from Zealand Institute of Business and Technology, Denmark. I am also a travel enthusiast and an avid blogger. I have been able to travel 12 countries so far.
I am passionate about food, exploring culture, people and travelling to new destinations in search of making new connections and adventure.
I had a managerial experience while working with Taj group of hotel as an Assistant Restaurant Manager where I developed my interest for different cuisines. I write food and travel story with a hint of humour in it which can inspire people to move out their comfort zone and follow their hearts.
Instagram handle: @gayatrikale

Adapting to the local culture and tips on how to make friends on a foreign land

How to make friends on a foreign land? Is there a technique for that? I guess we all know how to make friends since we were kids. It is more of a habit than an effort one puts into but it’s not the same when you are in a different country. There you have put efforts consciously than before.  Moreover, language barrier becomes an essential factor however most of the youngsters in Denmark speak in English. When it comes to other countries in Europe, you still have a scope of learning the language through free language course. Also, there are many programs taught in European countries in English, so the students are bound to speak in English.   

If you are communicative and mingle easily then it becomes easier for you. What if you are shy and reserved? Good news! No one knows you in that country and you have all the liberty to act the way you like. If people like you that’s well and good or you have nothing to lose. You must have seen and read quotes everywhere on the internet about ‘keeping your circle small and beer cold’, you can practically imply that in Europe (they have a lot of good beers). There is no need of being someone you aren’t, as the beauty of this journey will be to explore and establish strong as well as reliable bonds with like-minded people.

Let me tell you a secret, almost everyone who comes to study is from a different country and new to the university or college. So they are as excited and scared like you are. Don’t let the latter dominate the former.

It is a good experience in Denmark, where our college had given us money to party. Yes you read it correct; we had received money so that we could arrange a party with our classmates to get to know each other.  We had Europeans, Americans, South Africans and Asians in our class. I was sceptical at first with the word ‘party’ but I didn’t let my assumption overpower the exploratory mode.

From then on, there was no looking back; I got to know a lot of people from our class. I was keen on travelling when it came to Europe. Denmark has an interesting holiday week called the ‘potato week’. In this week, the schools and colleges give holiday to their students as they would help their parents in harvesting potatoes in the farm. This was a perfect opportunity for my first trip, where I asked my classmates to join me. We planned to visit Møns Klint, and it was an amazing experience. We went by our classmate’s car and tipped in our share for the fuel. Later, we went to Sweden which another great experience also for the fact that you tend to spend more time to get to know your classmates and the place you are visiting. When I posted the pictures of our trip, more people from our class were interested in coming with us.  This leads to the quote in implication “A journey is best measured in friends, rather in miles” by Tim Cahill.

Picture courtesy: Ganesh Giri , A road trip to Italy

Every time this isn’t possible that you can go on a trip however there are a lot of communities on Facebook which gives you an insight about social gatherings. The best way is to talk to people who have been living there such as counsellors, professors and former students. The most important word in all the vocabulary words you would have ever used is ‘Networking’. It is very important to go and talk to people who have been around for a while. I had connected with such a person and he got me introduced to his network of people. There I met a lady (Susanne Frederiksen) who was a local and had interest in travelling as well as food. The tip here would be that once you get introduced to people, common interest is the way to take it ahead from thereon.

Susanne and I used to meet over a coffee or a walk where we used to exchange ideas. She was keen on knowing Indian culture and it was Danish culture for me. There we came up with an idea of hosting dinner events where Internationals could meet Danes. It was really amazing how she was kind enough to host dinner at her house where all of us brought in some food to get to know each other over a dinner. I involved more of my friends so that they get to know Danes and vice versa.  We created events on Facebook so that more people were aware of the same.  It was fun knowing Danish culture and for them to know different cultures who come to the country to pursue education.

Dinner event for Internationals meet Danes, Roskilde

There always highs and lows in our phase of studying abroad but there isn’t any fun without those. Especially, when it comes to winters in Europe. Denmark has a really dark winter and terrible unpredictability when it comes to weather. There was a phase around November and December where you would feel physically weak and depressed due to dark winters. It gets worst for me as Indian since we are used to sun at all time. At first, we tend to have a honeymoon period where everything seems new, exciting and we are on to exploratory mode. However, once that gets over we are hit by ‘cultural shock’ or ‘homesickness’. What happens when you are hit by cultural shock? That is right, you aren’t aware of the term, neither was I. Cultural shock is described as ones feeling when they leave their familiar culture to live into a new cultural or social environment. Even the most open minded people and cultural sensitive ones are prone to this. Moreover, a lot of people tend to face issue when it comes to food as many of us are used to eating homemade food for years. Hence, it is advisable to refer to what to pack list in the previous post so it becomes easier to sustain while you get used to the environment.

Now this was the reality check to your ‘All-nice imaginary world’, it is better to be aware. To avoid this one should definitely follow the rest above mentioned. My escape to such terrible winter was travelling to another country in Europe which had slightly better weather. When it comes to travelling in Europe, the best deals one can get is on Ryanair and EasyJet to fly with while hostels become smarter option to stay in. Moreover one shouldn’t forget the main purpose of their step out of their homeland- Studies!

It is always good to get involved in college communities such as Art, Science, Sports or Social cause. I used to spend my time in working for college bar where we arranged student parties and gathering for different festivities. I spent most of my winters in studying, exercising and watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. series when flights were expensive, friends went back home for holidays and locals were busy in family gatherings. It does really help to keep yourself occupied; however do communicate with your family more often because that is a boon.

Staying away from your people and country will be difficult at first but it will make you independent on a foreign land which will eventually feel yours.

This phase that is about to come in your life or is going on will be one of the best, which will be remembered and cherished forever. So go on and live your dreams!

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Excited about studying abroad- Get to know what to pack?

 All of you guys must be super excited about the thought of studying abroad and finally making it. What comes next? Oh yeah, packing our bags but how do I pack my 22 years of life in two suitcases. Don’t you worry; it is simple if that is the thought then no. Just kidding! There is a simple process though. Make a list; yes it is as simple as that.

Before you make a list, have in mind the country you would be studying in. A brief research about the climate, food, currency and culture is important. This gives an idea as what you can carry with yourself or cannot. For example, if I am travelling to a country which has cold weather round the year then full sleeves clothes, thermal wears are more logically then shorts pants. I am writing a list which is suitable for girls as well as boys.

So here is the list:

Clothing

·         Innerwear ( for at least a week or two)

·         Socks (two weeks plus woollen ones especially for cold climate)

·         Long sleeves shirts

·         Short sleeves shirts

·         Thermal wear (2 no.)

·         Trousers and jeans

·         Winter jacket

·         Blazer/ Formal jacket (in case you like to be dressed up for presentations in college)

·         Nightwear (Pajamas)

·         Workout outfit (2 no.)

·         Swimsuit (for warmer climate, as European summers are beautiful and warm for a swim)

·         Belt

·         Flip flops (home use)

·         Sport shoes (most European streets are cobblestoned, it becomes easier to walk)

·         Hand gloves, scarf, hat, hoodies, etc.  (some winter can be harsh)

·         Dress shoes/ rainy boots/ boots/ formal shoes

Toiletries (at least for a month)

·         Toothbrush, toothpaste

·         Body shampoo, loofah

·         Hair shampoo, conditioner

·         Detergent (small packets) or washing soap

·         Deodorant/ roll on

·         Feminine products

·         Hair brush/ comb

·         Razor/ shaving kit

·         Contact lenses and solution

·         Spectacles/ glasses

·         Nail clippers

·         Medicines (with prescription)

·         Tissue/ wet tissues

·         Make up products

·         Important medication (for 2 months, in case you don’t get the same brand elsewhere)

·         Ziploc bags/ disposable bags

Important

·         Documents (asked by college- keep two copies, passport, flight tickets, ISIC card, etc.)

·         Mobile and earphones (check with the company if it is not a sim-lock mobile) also make it sure that you have an international recharge done, as it becomes easier to communicate.

·         Mobile charge (2 no.) also adapter/ plug (check the plug system in the country of study if it is 2 plug or 3 plug)

·         Laptop and charger

·         Hard disk, USB cable, data card (in case)

·         Music player or Ipod (do update your playlist)

·         Local currency worth 8,000-10,000Rs. equivalent to 100 Euros

·         Travel card (which has option of pre-paid currency in it, you can opt for one or multiple currency) some banks give ISIC card along with it.

·         ISIC Card (International Student Identity card comes in handy for discounts on transportation, food, etc.)

https://www.isic.org/get-your-card/

·         Stationaries (pen, 5-subject notebook, diary)

·         Basic cutlery and crockery- spoon, plate, glass (carry plastic or steel ones)

·         Snacks (dry eatables, soup packets, IMPORTANT- Nutella jar, pickle, chutney, etc.)

Now you might think that why would I ask snacks, stationaries and cutlery to be packed.  From my example, when I had been to Denmark for the first time we were sent to a hotel for our stay. Unfortunately many European countries have conditions where the students have to find their own accommodation. In such a case, if you don’t have a room with kitchen amenities you can rely on the snacks and other ready to make packets instead of overspending. One should keep in mind the currency difference and expense of buying everything as well eating out daily.

Also, it usually take a week or two to get accustomed to the surroundings, to get to know the supermarkets, food joints, shops, etc. So it is better to have a backup.

It is also advisable to get a ticket to your study destination at least 4-5 days before your college starts. So you have enough time to get a hang of the locality and how to get around.

I hope you find this post helpful and make full use of it. Good luck to your first step in the global exposure, keep experiencing cultures, places and of course keep studying.

Here are the tips on how to pack by Sonia travels which I referred when I travelled for the first time.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pNTSm66CFg

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