Social anxiety is very common with international students as these students oftentimes feel overwhelmed with the burden and stress of studying abroad. Moving to another country and trying to adjust to a new life while managing your academics and finances can be challenging as an international student.
Though studying abroad is a great opportunity for personal and professional growth, it could trigger feelings of anxiety, loneliness and depression. Dealing with homesickness, language barriers, culture shock and other challenges of international education are possible triggers for social anxiety.
To have a wholesome study abroad experience, you’d need to learn how to overcome your social anxiety. In this blog, we share 5 tips to help you deal with social anxiety as an international student.
How To Overcome Social Anxiety As An International Student
- Stay connected with your family and friends
Keeping in touch with family and friends back home will help you feel less lonely. When you share the struggles you’re facing in your new city, you’ll be able to get advice on how to challenge social anxiety from people who know you best. Staying connected with your family and friends will encourage you to build healthy relationships with people in your new city.
- Engage with other students
Building a support network or joining a community in your new city will help you get over your social anxiety. A good start for this will be to attend orientation events organized by your school. This will help you meet other new students and ease the tension that could come with networking in larger gatherings.
Joining a community of international students who share similar experiences, cultures or interests with you will help ease your social anxiety and make it easier to have conversations with others.
- Take good care of your mind and body
Get enough sleep, eat healthily and stay active. Taking care of your mind and body will help you stay calm and composed when interacting with others. Unhealthy eating and sleeping habits could trigger stress and social anxiety. For many international students, poor eating habits and sleep patterns could become the norm when dealing with social anxiety and trying to settle into their new school. This will only end up demotivating students and shrinking their confidence in social gatherings.
- Explore your city
Get to know your new school and city. Connect with the locals in your neighbourhood starting simple and small conversations. This will make you feel less like a foreigner and help you settle in faster. Do a little research on the fun spots in your area and make time to visit. By challenging yourself with these small social settings, you build your confidence and manage your social anxiety better.
- Recognize and challenge negative thoughts
As an international student with social anxiety, your bigger challenge will be to overcome the negative and anxious thoughts in your mind. These anxious thoughts mostly stem from the foreigner mindset. Lack of confidence in your language proficiency or social skills will encourage self-doubt and social anxiety. To challenge the effect of social anxiety, students have to learn to recognize these negative thoughts and turn them into positive and kind thoughts that are encouraging.
Dealing with social anxiety as an international student is a gradual process that takes time and deliberate effort. Be patient and kind with your progress and celebrate little wins.
Planning your international education can be overwhelming, if you need further guidance on degree options and career paths to explore or counselling regarding schools to apply to for your degree, please click here to chat with our counsellors.
You May Also Like: Rise In The Demand For International Education By Nigerian Students
Get career and educational articles and insights from our weekly newsletter.