Studying abroad is amazing. You'll travel, make amazing new friends, and experience the world in a completely different way. But I won't lie: there are downsides. You miss your friends and family, figuring out a different school system is frustrating, and traveling and living abroad is expensive. While I entirely believe that the new experiences are completely worth the struggles, being prepared for the difficulties is an important necessity to get ready to study abroad.
1. Your friends and family are far away.
This may seem obvious, but until you're actually a continent (or two) away, you don't realize just how far that is. The time difference will be frustrating; figuring out when you can video chat and constantly doing the math for when your family will be awake is annoying, especially if you're traveling a lot. However, you eventually get used to the difference, and of course you make new friends. They never replace your friends at home, but you'll develop a new group that you'll appreciate just as much.
2. Studying will be different.
Figuring out how to register for classes, what's expected, and where they are will be quite an adventure. Instead of five classes, I currently have three, and they all have different expectations. While in the US there's typically lots of assignments to keep you busy, schools in the UK are much more self-led, so it was quite an adjustment. Just like at home though, you'll figure it out. I got lost a few times the first week, but by the third I felt completely at home.
3. It's expensive af.
I'm not going to lie, this is the hardest part. There's school expenses, living expenses, and traveling. Unlike at home, I have to buy groceries and cook for myself, I don't have my car so I needed a bus pass, and of course we go out occassionally. But with some careful budgeting, financial aid, and scholarships, it's manageable.
Studying abroad only happens once in your life. It can be scary, exciting, frustrating, and every other emotion you can think of, but at the end of it you'll come away having seen the world and grown as a person.