Being called an international student is surely a delight to anyone’s senses, but the real deal begins when you actually land on a different soil with strangers around. You hear unfamiliar words, smell distinct (even weird at times) food. Basically, your whole world experiences a 360-degree shift. To make most of this new life opportunity one needs to master the art of adaption to learn and improve at the same time.
Getting adjust anywhere in the world calls for a basic lifesaving skill called “communication”. For international students, we believe communication is one of the most important skills that everyone should put their effort towards, particularly for those who are not native English speakers.
Most of us realize the fact that without effective communication skills, things can get pretty difficult not just in terms of socializing but also one’s professional/career opportunities. Communication skills are the key to ace your way through lectures to the interview rooms.
Communication is a two way-process that is not only about conveying your message to someone; 50% part of the job is about how you listen to absorb the full meaning of what’s being said – to make sure the talk is being understood both ways. Good communication skills not only bridge your way to gain extra cookie points on your desired grounds but also help you build a connection with new folks.
Mastering the art of effective communication becomes quite tough on international students for it’s quite a difficult task in a whole new world setting – worry not since we got your back here! There we have a few fundamental tips on how to improve your communication skills as an international student.
Be confident, own your surroundings
If you continue to think of yourself as a guest or a foreigner whose here just for the sake of a degree, then this journey is not going to get you anything other than a mere degree.
Think of this experience as buying a new couch, go easy on yourself and get comfortable in it. Look around, try to make yourself feel at home, and try to become a part of conversations, raise hands, and be kind and vocal; this will save you from getting into the fear of missing out (FOMO).
Since confidence is an important part of communication, so you must encourage yourself with stuff that interests you – indulging in it will boost your confidence. Experience and absorb the local feel of your new home for the next few months/years it will prep your assurance to communicate with locals and your university/college people.
Listen, turn on your observations
Your main focus while communicating shouldn’t be on what you are going to say next. Instead, pay more attention to what they are delivering to you. Learn-to-listen, this shows people you are eager to know more about what’s being communicated to you and that you are attentive at the moment. Meanwhile, also pay attention to their bodily movements. Bod language constitutes a major part of effective communication method.
Lack of eye contact, distraction, or fidgeting are often signs of restlessness or impatience. Yawning or sighing usually represent signs of mental or physical fatigue.
If you are noticing these non-verbal signals, it shows that this conversation is not going to be a productive one or the person perhaps is not really taking part in the communication – fair enough; save your time and energy and excuse yourself to a more comfortable and welcoming situation. Or you could maybe inquire about their discomfort if you are really looking forward to talking to them.
Connect, positive vibes only
Initiating conversations is definitely a tough task to pull off especially when you are around a bunch of people belonging to different backgrounds – but hey! You are all here to learn and connect, thus, finding common grounds isn’t that big of an assignment. Initially, you can avoid religious and political topics to refrain from getting into any possible clash.
Look for places where likeness and interests overlap, such as food, culture back home, new places to explore, educational backgrounds, sports, and so much more everyday stuff. Remember it’s the vibe that attracts, give out positive vibes so others can reciprocate too.
Cultural shock, don’t be shocked
Another hindrance in the path of effective communication is the cultural shock that is very likely to be experienced by international students. Your surroundings indeed are different and you have to deal with everything through patience. Cultural shock is not a negative experience, it is, in fact, a positive one.
By opening up your heart and mind towards a new way of life you are actually broadening your mindset. Talk to the natives without any hesitance, share your ideas and way of living with them, and understand theirs. A warm and intuitive behavior is the tea ya’ know.
Be assertive, watch your tone
Effective communication is all about being respectful and unbiased in discussions. Watching your tone while you speak greatly impacts your conversation. Putting your message direct and assertive makes for clear communication and avoid people misunderstanding your point. Hence, be assertive, not aggressive, there’s a fine line between the two. Stand confident on your point, while maintaining a calm and soft tone.
Feedback, endnotes are important
The endnote or let’s say the conclusion of a conversation constitutes whether it has been a productive one or not. We often think that we have reached a resolution and have successfully conveyed our message, only to find out misunderstandings and loopholes later.
To avoid this ask for input and feedback on the subject just to be finally clear. This not only confirms that you have successfully communicated your message but also leaves a great impression on the other person about your interest and seriousness in the conversation.
In today’s world of globalization, communication is a necessity. And hence, effective communication is the glue that helps you deepen your connections with others. This supreme skill is fundamental to your overall success in all the aspects of life whether they are educational, professional or personal.