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8 things only international students will understand

8 things only international students will understand

A study abroad trip is a life-changing experience. Not only will you gain confidence, learn new skills, see amazing places, and meet new people, but you’ll also push yourself out of your comfort zone. While you may try to describe just how amazing your experience was, there are some ‘you-had-to-be-there' things only international students will understand.

1. Food is a universal language

Let's be honest, food is a universal language we all speak fluently. Whether it's comparing what everyone eats for breakfast, sharing your grandma's secret lasagna recipe, or making it your mission to find the best pasta carbonara in Rome, every conversation inevitably circles back to the topic of food. As an international student, you’re guaranteed to discover some new recipes and favorite snacks. You may even get a taste of a local must-have when your friend’s care package arrives (like a taste of Vegemite from an Australian).

2. Video calls are the new norm

Family reunions via WhatsApp video or Zoom become the norm and the perfect setting to show off your life abroad. There's something special about showing your grandma your dorm room in Berlin, or switching on your camera when you’re out walking the streets of Italy, even if it is a bit pixelated and noisy. 

3. Your friends are from all over the world

As an international student, your friendship group will likely represent many corners of the globe. From your Brazilian buddy who teaches you samba to your Swedish friend introducing you to fika — the world feels smaller and a whole lot more exciting with your gaggle of international pals. What’s more, once your studies come to an end, you’ll have places and friends to visit for years to come.

4. The most important thing in your bag is a verb table

Forget textbooks — as a language student abroad, the real MVP in your bag is that trusty verb conjugation table. Because let's face it, navigating a foreign language without one is like trying to find your way through a maze blindfolded. Whether you make one yourself, or your teacher hands one out at the start of the term, that stained, crumpled, and scribbled-on verb conjugation table is your new best friend.

5. The front page of your phone looks a little different

Your phone looks a little different these days. You’d never used apps such as Google Translate or XE currency conversion before, but now those apps are like your lifeline in a foreign land. From deciphering street signs to calculating currency conversions, they've earned their rightful place on your home screen. 

6. There’s always something to celebrate

Diwali, Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year, and St Patrick’s Day. You've got them all marked on your calendar now and you know what each of these special celebrations mean. Studying abroad is like living in a multicultural melting pot, so it goes beyond just celebrating your own cultural festivities or even those of your new country. Thanks to your fellow international students, you’ll also get to embrace a whole world of festivities. Talk about a party year-round!

7. You know your accents

With a global crew by your side, you've become quite the accent connoisseur. British, Aussie, South African — you name it, you can probably nail it. And you know that chips mean very different things in the US or the UK. You can hear the difference between Spanish from Spain and Argentina, or German from the north or south of the country. Studying abroad is like a personal crash course in linguistics, and your friends are the tutors.

8. Home seems… different

There’s a bittersweet feeling when returning home after studying abroad. Everything's familiar, yet somehow different. You've gained a new perspective and a deeper appreciation for your own home, yet a burning desire to escape on another adventure. Your hometown might not feel quite the same, but that's all part of the experience and beauty of global experiences.

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