Adjusting to university

Study Abroad: the Good, Bad or So-so?

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.

Cooking becomes an absolute part of your independent life.

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.

“Adulting”

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.

How do a young adult deal with adulting issues for the first time?

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.

Language barriers

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.

“Pardon, what did you say?”

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.

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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!

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A goal-oriented marketing student from Vietnam who is dedicated to pursuing a career in Marketing and Event Management, and aims to empower international students to raise their own voices through her stories. A storyteller who is passionate about human connections and cultural diversity, thus always busy participating in various social activities. A nature lover whose favourite thing is to walk along the Brisbane river and enjoy the chilling breezes on a sunny day. Through this channel, Ha looks forward to seeing what else is in store and is excited to share her journey studying here in the beautiful sunshine state with students around the world.

6 Comments

  1. avatar

    Wow this is great! I surely have similar experiences. Thank you for sharing!

  2. avatar
    Jennifer Stephaine Reply

    Hello Minh Ha. I am Nguyen Ngan (it is Nguyên Ngân ^^). I am thinking of going to QUT next year and would like to ask you some questions. Perhaps, would you mind if I would like to ask for your email address?

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