PARTICIPATION was the best way for students studying abroad to get settled into a new place, according to an English educationalist. ''If you feel alienated, the right way to tackle it is to participate,'' said Mr Richard Rhodes, chairman of the Independent Schools Information Service in England. ''If you play a violin, sing in a choir or play sports, join it and you will meet other people. ''If you really participate with people, it will not be a problem at all to adapt into the new environment.'' Mr Rhodes said this was why most parents preferred their children to stay in boarding school. ''The boarding school is a good choice for students because you have everything you want, like accommodation, house parents, teachers, lessons, games and all kinds of facilities,'' said Mr Rhodes. The operation of a boarding school at the weekend is particularly attractive to students who have no relatives abroad. ''The educational philosophy of a boarding school is, in fact, to encourage students to participate with others and to get involved.'' Likewise, students also learn how to meet people and to live in a community from the boarding school. Other than choosing between boarding or day school, it is important for a student to choose the right school which he himself most wants to be in. ''Large schools give a wider range of courses, but small schools have a more personal touch. ''I think it will be very helpful if the student discusses and listens to his parents' opinions as well.'' After picking the school, the student has to understand why he wanted to study abroad. ''Students vary greatly in their motives, some may aim at learning English, some may be because of easier access to an English university, while others may be because of 1997. ''It is always the most effective way to settle into an an environment by knowing your own personal objective first.'' For students who are leaving home for the first time, homesickness and the language problem would be the most usual difficulties encountered. ''Try to talk with other people who may share the same feelings with you - house parents and teachers are always experienced in handling this kind of difficulty. ''Remember that you are not the only one facing the troubles, others are sharing the same difficulties with you.'' Despite all this, it is always worth spending a year or two studying in a foreign country. ''It is an important training because the world is a big place and people are moving around much more now. Everybody will have to take an opening job in the near future.''