How studying abroad can impact your mental health? Moving abroad, studying, making a career and establishing yourself could be your childhood dream and from distance, it all appears so blingy and glittery. But what many don’t understand is the struggle and challenges one has to go through in the process of establishment.
In this blog post, I am sharing a complete mental health guide for international students moving to the UK, the US or any other country. I am personally located in the UK, pursuing my second master’s degree at the age of 36. What made me take this plunge? There are many reasons but I was prepared to face all the consequences of my decision.
What goes wrong with the international students? All they focus on is getting there, and don’t prepare themselves to cook, clean and survive in a new environment. Most of the time this lack of self-awareness leads to a lot of mental stress and affects their overall daily life.
Major factors affecting the Mental Health of International Students
There could be different factors affecting one’s mental health, and mental health deterioration does not only means having depression or anxiety. No, people face panic attacks, and nervous breakdowns and are not aware of what is happening to them.
So awareness is very important in order to sustain happiness and just so the one could seek timely help for themselves and take control of their lives.
External factors impacting international students’ mental health
1.) Cultural difference
2.) Language barriers
3.) Skin Color
5.) Financial crunch
Internal factors impacting international students’ mental health
3.) Lack of social life
4.) Any prolonged physical illness
5.) Relationship stress
Signs of deteriorating mental health as an international student
If you are an international student and feel that you are not doing enough, you are not fitting well with the new environment, have a self-check-in. If this feeling is persistent and you feel sad and lonely for a long time, you might need to observe the signs and speak to someone.
You are feeling that persistent loneliness, something just doesn’t feel right.
You start cancelling plans, and meetups with friends, you prefer staying home alone.
Your mental state has started to impact your day to day productivity level, as you lack focus and attention.
4.) Performance academic
As you are an international student your prime concern is to study, but due to that feeling of sadness and loneliness, you don’t feel like doing anything and are having a hard time performing well in your academics.
5.) Feeling left out
It happens with us even in our own country and homely environment. So it is obvious to feel left out in a new country among new people, but if this feeling has occupied a strong space in your mind, you need to work on it.
Tips to take care of your mental health as an international student
While there are problems, there are always some solutions. I know sometimes you don’t even need a solution, all you need is a little reminder to help yourself, and consider these basic tips as reminders that help is always there and you can still sort out things 🙂
1.) Reaching out to friends
One of the easy looking yet hardest ways to express your state of mind to someone, but you will know if you will never try. So please speak to your friends about your thoughts and feelings.
2.) Doing something you love
Yes, this still works. A hobby or any leisure-time activity, if you have lost interest completely then it is time to ponder, why? And, if there is still some spark in you then please do something you love and do it daily. Anything like running, swimming, walking, painting, salsa etc.
3.) Following a passion
Writing has always been my passion and kept following it even in my lowest times. When I could not write a 1000 words article, I wrote a 100-word story, a journal entry or something. It helped me ease and today my passion is imbibed with a strong purpose i.e to #writeformentalhealth. I help my readers to take care of their mental health through my blogs.
Try to look out for avenues where you can connect with people in your field. Learn something from them, engage, brainstorm and have the potential for growth. It will keep you motivated.
Socialise, make new friends, explore new cities and capture all the beautiful moments.
6.) Seeking professional help
Lastly, if you feel a lack of energy to do anything and struggle to do the mundane tasks, never hesitate to seek professional help. There is no shame in taking care of your mental health because it is equally important as your physical health.
To sum up, I would say you need to be very much self-motivated and passionate about the choice you have made as an international student. It is natural to feel a little off in the initial few months but try to be open to change and learning new things, you will adapt gradually.
Take this as a chance to re-invent and groom yourself overcoming all the mental blocks and live a beautiful life ahead.
What do you think? IF you have any mental blockage and want to talk about it, then do not hesitate to contact me 🙂