Alone in a Foreign Country


4th (54)Nisha JamVwal talks about her experiences while studying abroad and why it is one of the most important decisions of a young adult’s life

If you were to ask me what was the most special, meaningful and exuberant period of my life, I’d say it was my travel and study abroad. The thing is, eventually we are all going to get ‘settled’ (whatever that means) into life and responsibilities, and we shall definitely have more concerns and cares. When you content with life, work, bills, properties, materialism, family and responsibilities, the learning curve is severely compromised. The time to just singlemindedly learn, grow, experience, interact, meet world citizens and savour myriad cultures, peoples and education is now – when you are at the springboard start of your adult life – your late teens, early and late twenties.
Life was glorious. I lived in a dorm to start with and then shifted into an apartment with three flatmates, Sachiko Hattori from Japan, Amy Seidel from Saginaw in Michigan, and our dearest friends Lai Loni Gallagher and Christopher David would visit ever so often. Yes, we studied together, partied together, got sick together (the germs were shared, you see), and then we even did our all-nighters during heavy project and study times. Would you believe it if I said that Sachiko and I were competitors? We were both interior architecture majors, fighting for all the same accolades. Ahem, yes, I did win, and no, I’m not being immodest, just honest.

The point I’m making is that if you have a chance, and the spirit of adventure, put in the hard work, essays and perseverance. Study for your SATs, TOEFLs and GMATs and get with the programme of making it your mission in life to study at one of your dream institutions. It will probably be one of the most interesting, interactive and exciting experiences you’ll ever have.
The experience of being away from a home where one is probably mollycoddled and taken much care of, the responsibility of being answerable to oneself and the joy of success or pain of failure when one has been accountable to oneself is incomparable. To build character and be ‘a man’ (in a manner of speaking), it is essential to live, study and work away from one’s home in a foreign country. All the mollycoddling and pampering is far away. From a child you transform magically with all the influences and stimuli into an adult – an individual with responsibilities and direction – of decision and discipline. You take with you the learnings, both academic as well as the relationship experiences, of living with other cultures. You become a person who handles situations and understands different mindsets and personality types.

Always choose a school with repute where you’d meet people who will be successful and who have basic value systems. These are the investments you are putting into your life. And these people will stay with you for the rest of your life like family. They will celebrate the triumphs and buffer the falls. So remember that the quality of the college you choose is most important.
Last summer I visited and stayed at Oxford and Cambridge. Wow! The history intertwined with natural beauty is staggering. The entire atmosphere is magical and I’d anyway choose a study break, summer school or professional course to study there. Life is a journey of growth and metamorphosis for me and if you were to ask me what is my USP I’d say it’s the fact that I’m always eager to learn and know.

The time to just single mindedly learn, grow, experience, interact, meet world citizens and savour myriad cultures, peoples and education is now – when you are at the springboard start of your adult life – your late teens, early and late twenties.


Volume 3 Issue 11


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here