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Social Isolation: A Challenge For Several International Students Studying Online

In the midst of the pandemic, social isolation has become a prevalent issue for many students studying remotely, particularly international students who are away from the comforts of home, family, and friends.

Some students may feel nervous and uncomfortable about being in a new place and culture; learning in an atmosphere where the curriculum and manner of instruction differ from what they are used to can also be unpleasant. These encounters, when combined, can exacerbate feelings of isolation.

Failure to integrate can also lead to mental health problems, therefore students should seek aid or support from friends or a mental health specialist as soon as feasible. Cultural influences can influence whether a student seeks help or is able to cope with changes in their surroundings.

Many from communities where it is forbidden to discuss current concerns and issues may find it more difficult to ask for support when they need it the most. These, combined with the pandemic and the severe laws that go with it, have highlighted the need for social contacts.

Adjusting to a different area without pillars of support — whether family or friends — can be intimidating. According to reports, many kids are dealing with mental health issues that have been compounded by the pandemic.

Sai Shraddha Suresh, a 25-year-old Indian psychology student, experienced this firsthand when she relocated to Scotland in the midst of the pandemic. “I studied engineering in Pune, and transitioning to psychology in Aberdeen was difficult.”

“The educational structure and assessment procedures are vastly different, and it took me some time to adjust, which resulted in a drop in my marks,” she explained.

When studying abroad, students like Suresh must cope with not only a new academic system, but also a slew of other issues, such as adjusting to significant weather differences, financial security, finding work, establishing new acquaintances, and communicating in a language that they may not be proficient in.

Below are some instances and suggestions for what students can do if they are experiencing social isolation.

How can students deal with social isolation and loneliness?

So, how can you overcome social isolation, loneliness, and the slew of other challenges that come with studying abroad? Maintain contact with family and friends. Keep in touch with your family and friends back home. This is one of the first things you can do as a student abroad who is feeling social isolation. It could be as simple as FaceTime or WhatsApping your loved ones to quell your loneliness. So, make use of technology – knowing that your parents are only a video call away helps relieve tension and stress.

Make an effort to broaden your social network

One of the greatest methods to combat social isolation is to broaden your social circle, which you may accomplish at university by joining student organisations and societies. These enjoyable student-led clubs foster contact, which can lead to long-lasting friendships.

Don’t forget about your interests and hobbies

What were some of your favourite hobbies back home that you can continue to enjoy as a student abroad? Make time to do the activities you enjoy, whether it’s cooking, exercising, or browsing bookstores. These are only a few of the simple things you may do to improve your mood. You may also take up a new hobby, such as crocheting.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone

Social connections do not appear out of anywhere; they demand work. Hence, even if you’re teaching virtual classes, make an attempt to interact with individuals online or in person, even if it’s unpleasant to take the initial move. The simplest method to accomplish this is with your classmates.

This may be as simple as arranging a small study team meeting in the university library, inviting a classmate out for coffee to go over your study materials, or asking them if they’d like to test out a virtual game through Zoom after class. It might happen that the other person may be overjoyed that you took the first move by inviting them out for coffee!

Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only.

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