Whether you are a teenager fresh out of high school and preparing for studying abroad or you are a current University student about to go on an exchange/transfer program—this piece of advice is for you.
As a Mauritian, I’ve always been fed hazy dreams about going abroad to study. Because going abroad makes you more successful, they say. Because it’s what smart people do, they say.
Although these statements are debatable, studying abroad does expand your possibilities and life experience.
But, know that it is not for everyone.
If studying abroad is not an option for you, it is entirely OKAY. It is not the end of the world, though that’s what I used to believe. I used to think that if I didn’t go abroad, I’d be a failure.
Although I have gained a lot from studying in a foreign country, I have come here, to Malaysia, and realised that it is not the only way to ‘do life’. I’ve seen people who have made the active choice of staying in Mauritius… and they are perfectly fine and well-off.
And I’ve seen other international students beside me crying themselves to sleep. I’ve seen others missing home so much that it hurt to go to class.
Most of all, I’ve seen my friend drop out of Monash because… she just couldn’t, even after several weeks or so. But she seems much happier now, back home and still going up the ladder.
Sometimes, not being able to study abroad has a lot to do with money; sometimes, it doesn’t. But whatever the reason, it’s okay to follow what YOU feel is best for you.
If you are determined to study abroad, all ready to face the challenges coming your way, then I’d just like to let you know that the first days are not going to be easy.
Despite being the happiest student alive when boarding that plane Malaysia (I was so excited I even used to countdown the days to my departure!), I just couldn’t stand the heat (I fell ill because of it) and I hated my place during the first week. Every night, I just felt like I was sleeping in a cold, stranger’s bed. I was always worried about money. I couldn’t speak English properly.
Things could go wrong at any time, and I would be on my own to deal with it.
Know that, at every obstacle, you have no other option but to stand up and fight back. People may give you advice, but you’re the one who’s able to fix it. So you become a problem-solver. By default.
And you learn from your mistakes. And you grow. Slowly.
And, as cheesy as it sounds, as the weeks go by, it does and will make you stronger. And slowly, you’ll be closer and closer to the person you’ve wanted to be.
I mean, that’s the whole point, isn’t it?
Now it’s your turn.
If you are currently an international student, what was the hardest part about moving abroad? If you are going to become an international student soon, what is your fear of studying abroad?
Let me know in the comments below!
D. K. Waye.