International students differ from normal domestic students in the fact that they have to adjust to a new environment, both physically and mentally. Therefore, international students must have some skills to help them cope with the physical and emotional challenges that come with traveling, staying, and studying in a whole new culture. Such skills enhance their ability to adjust and work despite the severe obstacles that come in their lives due to living a different lifestyle.

Top Skills for International Students to Have

This article aims to put forward some of the most critical skills that you must have if you are studying abroad.

  1. Smooth communication skills

This is perhaps the most important skill for any student, but especially for international students. Smooth communication skills will make you easily approachable for both your peers and your teachers. This is a truly important factor during the initial stages of adjustment as a foreign student. If you lack smooth communication, you will be hard to talk to, and hence, it will be extremely difficult for you to make friends and to be comfortable in such a new environment. You will also need to interact effortlessly with your professors. But if you lack proper communication skills, not only will you fall behind in your class but also you will struggle to fit in with your peers and teachers. This is one of the most dreaded things for an international student.

Moreover, it will be extremely difficult for you to make any friends and thus, if you have any doubts or need assistance, you won’t have someone to whom you ask for some help. And as the course progresses, these inconveniences add up to make a horrible experience for you. Many students quit college because of this reason. Therefore, smooth communication skills are a must for any foreign student.

  1. Cooperative mindset

To properly function in a collaborative environment, anyone would need a cooperative mindset. In addition, if it is a new environment like studying in another country, you will need to have this skill even before you start your course. This is because international students thrive in the best possible way by collaboration rather than competition. This means that foreign students require partners to bring out the best in themselves rather than competitors. And this can be achieved only when the student develops a cooperative outlook towards their studies.

They must be willing to help each other with their doubts and assignments. They must also stick together in times of crisis because that is the only way by which foreign students can survive in a different culture and environment. Thus, having a cooperative mindset is so important for any international student.

  1. Linguistic skills

Since most of the foreign countries have multi-lingual cultures, it would be wise for a student to develop some linguistic skills to at least learn the main language of that country at a faster pace than others. Learning a new language can be as tough as adjusting to the new environment itself. But it is crucial in the sense that, if you can speak the local language, you stand a much greater opportunity to mix with the culture than your foreign peers. Any local would freely interact with you if you know their language, whereas, there may be a bit of discrimination from them, at least initially, if you can’t engage with them vocally. This is why foreign students who have better linguistic skills fit in more quickly than others who lack it. Therefore, having good linguistic skills is a must for any international student.

  1. Problem-solving approach

This is a skill that every student needs, but it is a must-have for an international student. Most international schools and colleges operate with a problem-solving approach in mind rather than memorizing bookish information. When students are making that leap to go to an international school or university, they should first develop their problem-solving skills and lead the studies with a problem-solving approach in their minds. This will help them to adjust to any high-quality international model of studying. Moreover, it will also help them to cope with the different modules because at the end of the day, every course aims to develop the students for the work industry. And to be efficient in the work industry, you will need good problem-solving skills. Therefore, if you lead with a problem-solving approach from the start of your international course, you will surely gain the most from it. Thus, it is truly essential to develop a problem-solving approach in students who are preparing to opt for studying in an international school or university.

  1. Productivity

Productivity can be thought of as the ratio of useful results to the net effort put in to get those results. Thus, having high productivity means that you generate more useful results by putting in less amount of effort. Students planning to go abroad to study must have high productivity as possessing this skill means that you will need lesser time to adapt to the new course structure than your peers. This is because having higher productivity ultimately saves you a lot of effort on the same topics and learning the same concepts that your classmates are learning.

Thus, being more productive saves you time as well. You can utilize this saved up time for other activities other than studying, like exploring the city and the new culture. Being more productive than others also saves up the energy that you can then spend on adjusting to the new environment and the new culture. Thus, to sum it all up, having productivity as a skill in your arsenal not only allows you to advance more easily through your course modules but it also frees you up to do several other important tasks that a less productive student can’t do due to lack of time or energy or both. Therefore, productivity is another great skill that international students need to succeed in their lives.

  1. Budgeting

This skill is a lifesaver for most international students as many of the foreign students have some sort of educational loan or debt on them when they are studying abroad. Budgeting means jotting down all the possible expenses and comparing them with the budget the student can afford to be on. Now, the aim here is to never cross the budget and also to save as much money as possible. The reason why this is such an important skill to have for an international student is that most foreign students are in some kind of student debt when they are studying abroad. That is why students need to stick to their budget and manage their finances in such a way that they never exceed the expected budget.

To lead a financially reasonable lifestyle, the students must follow the basic rule of budgeting which is the 50-30-20 rule. According to this rule, 50 percent of your budget should be spent on the necessities, 30 percent should be spent on your wants and the rest 20 percent should be saved up for future emergencies. Since most international students have some sort of debt on them, they should maximize their savings and minimize the expenses so that, they can pay off the debt in the least possible time. This way the interest to be paid will also be lesser for the students. This is why budgeting should be in every international student’s skillset.

  1. Time management

This is yet another life-saving skill if you are an international student. Managing your time will be truly essential if you are living abroad and studying. This is because you are always looking to maximize your productivity. Moreover, you also have to deal with many things which would not be present if you were studying in your country. Two of such things are cultural differences and different curriculums. By properly managing your time you will be able to deal with these other issues which come with studying abroad.

In addition to that, with proper time management, you can also shift your focus on maintaining a proper schedule. According to many psychology studies, maintaining a proper schedule is necessary for maintaining your mental health. And since you are all alone in a different culture and lifestyle, therefore, maintaining your mental health can be often a challenge. Thus, proper time management skills will help in maintaining your mental health as well.

  1. Research skills

Several international universities rely heavily on the student’s research ability to complete the curriculum in the given time frame. You will find that most of the time, teachers won’t spoon-feed you the course materials, you will need to conduct proper research in that case. In addition to that, since the Internet has become an integral part of every course, you must have good internet research skills to learn the course in the least possible time. This means that you will need great research skills so that you can surf the internet and gather as well as organize information in a small period.

Not only that, but good research skills will also help you to cross-check information by verifying the information given in the course materials from reliable sources on the internet. And so, in today’s education system research skills are irreplaceable. Thus, good research skills are essential for international students.

  1. Great work ethic

Having a great work ethic is desirable in any student. But it is a must-have skill for an international student as having a great work ethic guarantees presence of discipline in a student. International students must have this discipline otherwise it will be very easy for them to get lost either in various temptations that living abroad brings or by getting overwhelmed due to culture shock or other such issues. An international student has to fight with many such factors that hinder his progress with the course. The only way to maintain steady progress despite such issues is by ensuring that discipline is maintained throughout the course. And this can be achieved only by one quality: a great work ethic. Often you will be faced with several dilemmas when you are studying. For example, money can be such a factor. On the other hand, periodic loss of motivation of continuing the course is another such issue. All of these problems can be tackled only through maintaining a great work ethic because a great work ethic guarantees that you keep on grinding and thus progressing even on your darkest days. Therefore, having a great work ethic is a vital skill for any international student.

  1. Adaptability

No matter what kind of a person you are, if you are an international student, you will for sure face culture shock, at least initially. Culture shock happens when you move from your culture to a different culture with different types of people. Every international student must overcome this hurdle of culture shock for him to function at his highest potential. Thus, adjusting to the culture shock is a must-have skill for all international students. Moreover, even before you decide to study abroad, you should question whether or not can you adjust to the new culture quickly enough. If an international student takes up more time to adjust to the culture shock, his education might be hampered. This is due to the mental block produced by the culture shock which slows down the progress of the student. If it is left uncontrolled, the culture shock can get more serious resulting in students ultimately dropping out due to not being able to achieve the desired progress.

In addition to that, the student can go into depression because of the culture shock they faced when they moved for further studies. The only way to prevent these negative results is to combat the culture shock correctly and at the right time. Never let the culture shock get the better of you. And never ignore culture shocks. They can gradually grow inside your head and mess up your whole mind. Many foreign students who have great potential quit their courses prematurely only because they can’t deal with the culture shock. Therefore, it is crucial to learn how to deal with culture shock properly for any international student.