Studying abroad is a wonderful, life changing experience for all students; especially for those who fall in the minority category! As a minority overseas student, you may be faced with some unique challenges that mainstream students will not have to face, but you should not let this dissuade you from your choice. Here are some tips that will help you to be prepared for your overseas studies as a minority student.
Check available scholarships
Check out scholarships that may be open to you because of your minority status. Some scholarships could even include living expenses, so that you will be able to have a relatively cheap study budget. Your overseas education consultants will be able to give you the right advice as to available scholarships and the application deadlines for each.
Enhance your resume
Most employers will look very favourably on a period of overseas study in your resume. You can show hiring managers that you thrive on taking on challenges and risks, have travelled to various places and experienced a different culture, know how to work with people of diverse backgrounds, and perhaps know a foreign language or two.
Exchange of culture
When you live amongst people of a different culture, you will benefit from the cultural exchange and gain a mutual respect and understanding of each other’s cultures. You will try out new cuisine, learn new customs and take part in different festivals. You can make new friendships and relationships, ones that can hold good for life!
Be prepared for racism
Racism does exist, and you will become stronger as you learn to handle it. Remember that any form of racism you experience does not define who you are….rather, it reflects poorly on the perpetrator who is a racist. Ignorance and stupidity do exist in the world, and rising above racism is a growth opportunity in your personal life. Never let go of what you believe in for someone who is clearly ignorant.
Be an ambassador for your country!
Be mindful of the fact that wherever you are, you are effectively an ambassador for your country. Your peers will get a glimpse of your world through you, so do let them know everything good there is to know about your country! Be proud of who you are, try to follow at least some of your customs and traditions, and treasure your ethnicity. People in your host country may be very interested in knowing more about your background, and this can spark off very interesting conversations.
Redefine your concept of beauty
While having a dark skin may be perceived as a stigma in your own country, you will find that in western countries tanned skin is considered a unique standard of beauty. You will learn to set aside old perceptions and appreciate yourself with fresh eyes. Never feel insecure about your appearance, and about your own personality! Your black eyes, black hair, tanned skin or frizzy curls may be considered very desirable in a different country!
Studying abroad as a minority will help you to redefine yourself and embrace who you are to the fullest. Do make the most of this wonderful opportunity as it can surely change your life!