10 Study abroad skills you should focus on

published on 29 September 2023
10 Study Abroad Skills you Should Focus on! 
10 Study Abroad Skills you Should Focus on! 

Studying abroad is an exciting and life-changing experience that opens doors to new cultures, perspectives, and opportunities. While embarking on this adventure is exhilarating, it also comes with its set of challenges. To make the most of your time overseas, it's essential to develop certain skills that will not only enhance your academic experience but also enrich your personal growth. 

In this article, we'll explore the top 10 study abroad skills you should focus on to ensure a successful and rewarding journey.

10 Study abroad skills you should focus on

When you arrive in a new country with your bags in hand, there are always mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety. But, you need to keep in mind that your study abroad experience is what you make of it. The study abroad skills mentioned below are a hidden opportunity.

If you manage to gain these skills while focusing on your studies, it will give you a major boost in your job-finding expedition right after college. So, without further ado, here are the top 10 study abroad skills that will make for a memorable and well-rounded experience.

1. Adaptability:

Studying in a foreign country means encountering new cultures, languages, and customs. Being adaptable is essential as you'll need to adjust to different academic systems, lifestyles, and daily routines. Embrace change and see it as an opportunity for personal growth.

Example: Imagine you're studying in Japan, and you've never used chopsticks before. Instead of sticking to a fork and knife, you embrace the new dining etiquette, learn to use chopsticks, and enjoy a traditional Japanese meal.

2. Effective Communication:

Mastering effective communication is crucial for breaking cultural barriers, making friends, and excelling academically. Practice active listening and learn to express yourself clearly, both verbally and non-verbally.

Example: When studying in Spain, you'll need to communicate in Spanish. Engaging with locals through language exchange programs can significantly improve your communication skills while immersing you in the local culture.

3. Time Management:

Balancing academics, exploration, and leisure is key to a fulfilling study abroad experience. Develop strong time management skills to ensure you meet your academic responsibilities while making the most of your time abroad.

Example: If you're studying in Italy, you can efficiently manage your time by scheduling your classes in the morning and using afternoons to explore the rich cultural heritage and indulge in local cuisine.

4. Independence:

Studying abroad often means being away from the familiar comforts of home. Embrace independence by learning essential life skills, such as cooking, laundry, and budgeting.

Example: While studying in Australia, you can join a cooking class to learn how to prepare traditional Aussie dishes like meat pies and lamingtons, fostering independence and cultural immersion.

5. Resilience:

Challenges are an integral part of studying abroad. Develop resilience to overcome homesickness, culture shock, and academic pressures. Keep an open mind and remember that every obstacle is an opportunity to grow.

Example: While studying in China, you might experience culture shock. Embracing local customs, connecting with other international students, and seeking support from your university's counseling services can help you build resilience.

6. Intercultural Competence:

Understanding and appreciating cultural differences is vital. Engage with local customs and traditions, ask questions, and be open to learning from people with diverse backgrounds.

Example: While studying in China, participate in local festivals like the Chinese New Year, learn about traditional tea ceremonies, and join local cultural clubs to deepen your intercultural competence.

7. Problem-Solving:

Studying abroad often requires resourcefulness. You might encounter unexpected challenges, from travel mishaps to language barriers. Develop problem-solving skills to navigate these situations effectively.

Example: If you're studying in South Africa and get lost in a township, rely on your problem-solving skills by asking for directions from locals, using maps, and staying calm under pressure.

8. Financial Literacy:

Managing finances is crucial when studying abroad. Learn how to budget, save, and make wise financial decisions to ensure you can make the most of your experience without overspending.

Example: While studying in the UK, take advantage of student discounts, use public transportation instead of taxis, and cook your meals to save money and manage your finances effectively.

9. Networking:

Building a strong network can open doors to opportunities and enrich your study abroad experience. Attend social events, join clubs, and connect with professors and fellow students to expand your horizons.

Example: When studying in the United States, consider attending networking events organized by your university, where you can meet professionals and potential mentors in your field of study.

10. Cultural Sensitivity:

Respect for cultural differences is paramount. Be aware of local customs and sensitivities, and always show appreciation for the host culture. This will not only make your experience more enjoyable but also help build positive relationships.

Example: If you're studying in Morocco, understand the significance of Ramadan and respect local customs by refraining from eating or drinking in public during daylight hours.


In conclusion, studying abroad is not just a ticket to a degree; it’s a transformative experience that shapes your character and prepares you for a globalized world. By focusing on these ten essential skills - cultural adaptability, communication, independence, problem-solving, time management, adaptability, networking, open-mindedness, global awareness, and resilience - you equip yourself to thrive academically, personally, and professionally. 

So, pack your bags, embrace the unknown, and get ready to embark on a life-changing adventure. Your future self will thank you for it. Safe travels!

We hope you like this article! If you have any doubts feel free to reach out to Alpha Edu Abroad for advice! Our team of experts from IIT Delhi, Cornell USA, and IIM Ahmedabad will make sure you get admitted to top Universities in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Germany, and other countries.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are study abroad skills, and why are they important?

Study abroad skills refer to a set of abilities that students develop while studying in a foreign country. These skills include adaptability, effective communication, cultural sensitivity, independence, problem-solving, time management, global awareness, resilience, networking, and open-mindedness. They are crucial because they not only enhance academic experiences but also prepare students for future success by fostering personal growth, cultural understanding, and global perspectives.

Will studying abroad help me improve my communication skills?

Yes, studying abroad significantly improves communication skills. Engaging with people from different linguistic backgrounds compels you to communicate clearly and effectively. Whether it’s learning a new language or expressing yourself in a multicultural setting, the experience sharpens your verbal and non-verbal communication abilities.

What role does independence play in a successful study abroad experience?

Independence allows you to manage your daily life effectively in a foreign country. It includes tasks like budgeting, grocery shopping, and public transportation navigation. Developing independence will make your experience smoother and more enjoyable.

What strategies can I use to network effectively while studying abroad?

Attend international student meetups, join student organizations, and engage with professors and professionals in your field. Networking will help you establish valuable connections for future academic and career opportunities.

An IIT Delhi IIM Ahmedabad alumni initiative

Alpha Education Abroad is an initiative by IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad alumni. The firm helps students get admitted to top universities overseas in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, and many other countries. It allows students to apply for graduation as well as post-graduation courses abroad. It also helps students get admitted to top 1 year MBA programs such as ISB and IIM Ahmedabad in India.

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