“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing beautiful ever grows there.”- Unknown
Studying abroad is an exciting spectrum to think about, with parties, tourism, new and different types of restaurants to visit with your new friends. Living on your own and doing chores for yourself will seem like an adult life that you’ve always wanted. But there’s a deeper meaning to all of the fun you witness on Instagram.
This article is an honest representation of studying abroad. If you’re old enough to pack up your bags and live on campus, you’re old enough to know the truth, the whole truth that is.
The anxiety of leaving, the nervousness of leaving all the familiarity behind, and the overwhelming feeling that maybe you’re not ready- it’s all real, and pretty normal.
First days at any class are nerve-wreaking, no matter how welcoming the staff might be or how colorful the walls of the corridors are. Everyone’s trying hard to fit in and find their own crowd to hang with. The constant ‘what-if’ questions can really throw people off their game for the first few days. But it’s important to know that you’re not alone. You just have to wait a while to see who matches your vibe. When that phase passes, you won’t even remember having these jittery feelings anymore.
What most write-ups and articles don’t cover is the prominence of having a good presence of mind while doing grocery shopping. Students studying abroad are very familiar with the countless runs to the nearest supermarket for something as menial as a toilet paper or packet of bread. You have to plan your meals in advance along with maintaining a list of groceries that you might need three days later. It’s a multitasking ability that you can never switch off because it’ll double your already packed workload. You’ll think of your mom from time to time, wondering how she could pull this off for so long. And Voila, you’re on your way to pulling this off as well. Give yourself a pat on the back
Pretty soon, you’ll be comfortable being alone. Eating your meals alone in your dorm or asking for a table for one won’t feel awkward anymore. A time will also come when you’ll book a movie ticket for yourself and not think twice about the company. Living abroad makes a person emotionally stronger over the course of time.
Behind that Instagram post of a perfect meal cooked by a student living abroad, are a lot of trials and errors that haven’t been accounted for. It takes time perfecting cooking, especially if you miss the food you used to eat back home.
It’s a universal truth that when you’re living abroad, you’re your own doctor. No more comfort food offered to you when you’re in bed with a fever. You have to march up to the pharmacy and buy your tablets yourself. It’s when you’ll miss the pampering the most, but it’ll also give you a sense of responsibility.
Your Laptop is your Best Friend
Nothing gives you pure happiness like dropping your bag on the floor after a long day at university and burying yourself in your bed, resuming a TV Show on your laptop. The youth is all about consuming great content and this is a stress buster for almost everyone.
Carrying a Pepper Spray
Staying alone is thrilling but also a tiny bit dangerous. It’s a risk to always be so alone, especially in a new place that you’re not familiar with. Besides rechecking if the doors and windows are locked, carrying a pepper spray with you would be your number one priority. It’s the reliable thing to do, charging your senses and moving with caution.
You’re bound to have good days when you feel like you’re a superhuman being for managing all of this at once. But there will also be days when you’d feel completely hopeless and burnt out. But, these are signs of growth, and you won’t recognize who you were a year ago. You’ll be resilient, you’ll be independent and best of all, and you’d be the best version of yourself.