Part 1: The Dark Side
Studying abroad has been somewhat my dream since I was a little girl. When I was in Vietnam, I had always been so excited about going to another country, living far from home and meeting new people around the world. Most of my friends often see me as an independent person who survive on their own (i.e. I can cook pretty well and will share with you guys some Vietnamese recipes in later posts lol). I myself had been pretty confident that I would not struggle with a new life even if it was without my family.
However, only after living in another country that I started to realize that no matter how independent I am, there will always be problems for a person who lives by herself.
Home is not home anymore
It depends on each student’s choice of housing and their housemates that influence their feelings towards their new home.
As for myself, living in a shared house means everyone has their own lives and has to deal with their issues themselves. It was quite upsetting for me for the first few months, since this was my first time living abroad and that I suddenly realized no one would care or notice if I was at home or not. My friend and I often joke at how we can stay the night at each other’s place without ever having to ask for anyone’s permission and it would make no difference.
There were also times when I missed my mom’s cooking so much that the only thing I could do to cope with the feeling was trying to recreate those dishes myself by using similar ingredients and recipes I had.
They were still different from the food I had when I was at home with parents, whom I often took for granted and forgot it was them who made a house sweet home.
There is a bunch of stuff I need to think about when living away from family. Indeed, there is no mom or dad who can help me out with issues regarding renting rooms, paying bills or finding a part-time job anymore.
These might seem like small problems, yet being able to arrange and solve all of them perfectly by myself still takes a toll on me.
This struggle may vary between different people but it is prevalent among international students whose English is not their first language or who are struggling to adapt to new and different ways of communicating and diverse cultures when studying abroad.
For my part, I often find it hard to fully understand everything others say, especially when it is in a group conversation where there are lots of slangs and people often speak in a faster pace. It was frustrating at first, especially when I was pretty confident in my communication skills in my native language.
However, I believe it is something that we can improve and I would love to share some tips that I am using to improve my interpersonal skills in later posts.
Studying abroad can be difficult but that does not mean it is a bad idea. My decision of studying overseas is still one of the best choices I have ever made so far. These struggles are only the beginning of your life but through the experiences, I have seen many things I would never imagine seeing before, know things I could have never learnt if I did not take a risk of being on my own, which I would love to share in my next blog post.
So, stay tuned for my next post about what I gain through studying abroad and I hope you all have a great Week 1 at uni!