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6 Ways Indian Students Can Maximize Study Abroad Experience Through Cultural Immersion

‘Went to study abroad from India and came back after studies but made no friends there, never went to travel around that foreign country, never learned a word of that foreign language, hardly interacted with the locals there.’
Akash, a study abroad aspirant, woke up from this nightmare and got goosebumps since he was soon going to study abroad in the fall of 2024.

This nightmare made him wonder, What if all this comes true?

“How can I make the most of my study abroad experience?”
“Can cultural immersion help me get the most out of my study abroad experience?”

“If yes, then how?”

Although academics do indeed contribute significantly to one’s journey, it is the cultural immersion that genuinely enhances the experience of studying abroad.

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Worry not, Akash and fellow study abroad aspirants with the same confusion; we have got you in this blog, where we discuss certain ways to get the most out of your study abroad experience through cultural immersion as an Indian student.

So let’s delve in, shall we?

1. Learning a basic language helps you a long way.

While Duolingo is entertaining, let’s be honest, the locals will appreciate sincere efforts. Get a phrasebook and language applications, then go out there and make embarrassing pronunciation errors; laughter is, after all, a truly universal language. Who knows? You might end up making some great local friends.
A successful plan for fully engaging in a foreign culture is to acquire fluency in the local language. Communicating with locals in their mother tongue provides opportunities for genuine experiences, even if your education is conducted in English.
If not proficiency, one must always learn the basic “good morning,” “thank you,” and “welcome” words in the local language of the country you are traveling to. It always helps you leave a good impression on the locals.

2. Yes, you are a tourist, but try not to act like one.

Why do we say that?

Since a tourist only gets to see the popular attractions of the country that are meant to be seen by them, try not to be a tourist.
It sounds weird, but hold on…
You are there to study and to live there for at least a year, not just a week or a month. One should try to immerse themselves in the culture of the country.
Get away from the tourist traps and the expensive “authentic” experiences. Stroll through areas that evoke memories of grandma’s kitchen rather than tourist cologne, visit local markets, and stop for coffee at the coffee shop where everyone appears to know each other. Try the local cuisine. You’ll find hidden gems, secret rituals, and stories that guidebooks can’t even dream of.
Keep in mind that you are a temporary resident, not a judge. Your culture, like all others, has its quirks. Keep an open mind, embrace differences, and avoid falling prey to the “my way is better” fallacy. The purpose of cultural immersion is knowledge, not criticism.

3. Calling it home without a homestay? Nah!

Living with a local family is immersion on steroids. (You can imagine.)
Of course, before traveling to a foreign country for your studies, it is always wise to check your accommodations, mostly dormitories or other private rooms on rent.

It sounds good, but…

Imagine living in a homestay with a local family, getting to see the ways of daily life of the locals up close, getting to eat their staple food, and introducing them to your culture. It sounds about right. By the end, you will not just be the guests for the hosts, but more like an extended part of their families.

4. Be social and connect with the locals.

No one can really help you experience the hidden gems and the culture of the country like your local friends can.
“But how do I make local friends in a foreign country?”

You have to be a social butterfly.

Join some classes that attract your interest, offer your services as a volunteer at the local center, or root for the local sports team (even if you don’t understand the rules). Engage in discussions with shopkeepers, bus drivers, taxi drivers, and other students. The more social risks you take, the more rewarding your life will be as an international student in a foreign country.

5. Document your journey with both your camera and your eyes.

Again, what do we mean by that?

Keep recording, but put down the phone when you’re in the middle of an experience. Take it all in—the sounds, the sights, and the conversations. The amount of information you take in when you’re not staring at a screen will amaze you.

Remember, it is important to live the experience as it comes. The pictures and videos are great for your Instagram, but you have to fill in the caption too, and you can only do that when you have thoroughly lived through that experience. Even when you have to tell your grandkids the stories, just pictures and videos won’t be effective, right? Narration is important. Grandkids? (Yes, be optimistic.)

6. Embrace the 'Yes' mentality.

Received an unexpected family invitation to a park picnic?

Your response: “Yes!”

“Are you interested in learning their card game?”

Your response: Yes!

A “yes” response enables unplanned experiences and everlasting recollections.

Remember, the greatest moments can sometimes be the unplanned ones. Therefore, always let life happen to you in a foreign land. Each experience (even a negative one) brings memories and life lessons with it.

Traveling to study abroad is a transformative journey, so be open to the new incoming experiences and live them all.


Studying abroad is more than just ticking a box on your life list. This presents an opportunity to expand one’s horizons, question conventional views, and develop into a more informed global citizen.

Young study-abroad aspirants should proceed forward and absorb every particle of cultural goodness. Remember that an open heart and mind are the only genuine souvenirs you should carry with you on your journey.

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Book an appointment, and start your study abroad journey today!

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