The Study Abroad Case : Personal Experiences

Studying abroad is a huge responsibility. And if I may, its just the studying; the “abroad” part is fun actually. Anyways I wanted to do this blog to actually pen down my experiences while “studying” abroad so that prospective people might have some idea before they join the “graduate community”.

 

1. Its f**kin’ expensive

That might evoke a “duh!” from you but it’s quiet different when you actually end up paying a euro for 6 tomatoes. Oh yeah! “Bite me!” was my first reaction as well! The point I’m trying to get across here is that living anywhere but India is expensive, so you might want to keep tabs on your spending and download that “Splitwise” app.

There’s a positive note to that point though. You start understanding that money needs to be spent wisely. You understand that earning money is a tough job and how hard your parents have worked to get the money and send you abroad. Living frugally (make note, I say “living”, not “survive”!) brings out another dimension in you. Valuing the money, every cent, makes you relish every single piece of that tomato you’ve put in your Biryani. Trust me.

Many times, I’ve eaten some stuff I made, horribly cooked “mix veg” for example, just because I’d put in money to buy those veggies and then cook them. I think of the money (hard-earned!!) I’d be wasting if I just throw it away. This point may be a bit over the “frugal” line for many of you, but I’m as cheap as you get. :p

 

2. I’m Indian, I’m gonna ace that course!

The most wrong “duh!” you’d have ever thought! Many people start off the journey thinking of how they’re gonna take the university by storm because, “duh! We’re Indians. Nobody studies more than us. We know more than Americans/Europeans.”  Buying into this philosophy is the first mistake you make. You’d have been a 100% correct if those Americans/Europeans you’re referring to are the ones shown in the dumbass comic flicks that you watch during your undergrad. In most cases, you’ll find out, you’re probably on the lowest rung in your class! You need to work as hard as everyone.

 

3. It might be a “party school”, but you better get your ass on that assignment.

So, you’re going to that Party School? Oh, you’ve seen all the “I’mSchmacked” vids on YouTube? Oh, you’re excited? Wow! I’ve got some good news and some bad news for ya buddy.

Good news: It’s a fuckin’ awesome party place with all the booze and people! Those videos are true.

Bad news: It’s not for you!

No, that’s not racist. It’s just that there’s a reason why your course is a MASTERS course and not BACHELORS. Over the course of your masters, your idea of rocking Friday night will change, not like you had mind blowing weekend parties at your undergrad place, but you get what I’m trying to put here. You better get your ass on that assignment that’s due on Monday. And unlike your undergrad, it’s not something you can indefinitely postpone (How I miss my DCE days! *snobs*)

 

4. Balancing acts.

Studying abroad is a great opportunity to widen your horizons and your perspective, or atleast according to your Statement of Purpose, it is. While there’s no doubt that you have to slag your ass off during your course, you must remember that this IS your last time at a university (unless you want to pursue a PhD, in which case, you have all my best wishes, kindly get off this blog. Thanks.)

You have to make sure you divide your time in such a way that you make the most of your time. Yes, study, but also, take out time to do other things. Explore the country, meet new people, make friends, get Schmacked! This time isn’t gonna come back! Try out things you’ve always wanted to. This is your last chance possibly (hey, PhD people, get out!).

 

5.

I’m gonna leave that heading out blank since I’m not very sure about it. Feel free to fill in yours’. Anyways, I’m going to talk about making friends, both international and desi. It is important to have a good mix among your friends. It is as important to have friends from your own country as it is to have friends who are NOT from your country. I’ve seen many people, who wish to be in THAT group. However, in times of dire needs, in times of homesickness, it is your people who lend you a shoulder.

That being said, I am in no way questioning the commitment of your OTHER friends. They might me great people and sometimes even better than your countrymen. It’s just that, it feels much better to get drunk and shout “oh b******d!” with the buddy who speaks your language than to “Fuck You!” with internationals! I hope you get what I’m trying to say!

On the other side, you need to make friends from other countries as well. It is really really really important. Learn how they work, how they think, how they approach a problem. Sometimes, it would be entirely different to how you respond. It is fun, sometimes frustrating, but nonetheless, it is a much required learning experience. It is partly what you pay those gargantuan amounts of money for.

 

Should I write the heading conclusion as well? Meh!

CONCLUSION

Feels better now. So, in conclusion, I’d say.. It’s your last opportunity (you’re still here, aren’t you? Bloody PhD people). Your last chance to study, to have crazy fun, to explore, spend your dad’s money!! You’re abroad, in the US or the Europe, you’re at a place where many can only dream of going to. Make the moments count.

All the best!

I (won’t) Thank You!

Since I have been here in Pune, there has been a spurt in my blog posts and consequently the comments. While my blog posts may not be a reader’s delight or visually spectacular and articulated pieces of writings, they are, well, ME. I am no transcendent writer of any sorts, but I try my best. Cliche as you may say, I may also add that the statement I just gave is completely untrue. I do not try. I write what I feel, and hence “WHIMSICAL THINK PIECES”! Well, not actually “think pieces”. Thats a misnomer!

Some of you have been critical, which I greatly appreciate. I value people who criticize me, more than the ones who praise me. Who knows whether those cynics have actually read it or not. Yes, I judge you! *wicked smile*

It is actually not a drudgery to be able to decipher who has read and who hasn’t. I know I am not even capable of a writing that is tantamount to the “fabled” Durjoy Dutta’s ;).  And when you tell me “That’s amazing!” I know!

Most of my posts are from my office desk. And I noted a strange co-incidence, they received a good response  (my perception of good response is actually very modest!) praising my wiriting skills when I wear my recently bought formal shirt (with trousers, of course!). Absurd, you say? I don’t blame you. Thats how things roll when I am involved! As for this “think-piece” I think it will turn out to be a rather good one because.. Wait! What I am I wearing? Nooooooo.

I want to thank you all for your forebearance to read all of my insufferable posts. I hope, I can make my posts even more unbearable with your valuable “Ohh! That is perfect” comments!

Why I love the freshly pressed!

I may never write as good as half the people on WordPress do, I may not be that creative when it comes to thinking out of the box in matters of relationships, life, love, friendship; yet I just adore the expositions of these people (the ones that are “freshly pressed” and perhaps many others, who unfortunately, I  cannot stumble upon).

Some put their souls here, some pen down emotions I can hardly find words to express. Some are amazing with the sheer creativity they have, their ability to paint a picture! Some whose accounts are as exciting as if I am actually experiencing it with them! Some whose perspectives about everything influences you, your daily life, perhaps change them to certain extent.

To be able to read and share these experiences is a privilege. A privilege that I am grateful for towards the WordPress community. It is not only exciting experience that comes with reading here, but also the ability to connect and talk with people, exchange ideas with them is what is truly a wonderful and fresh breath in my otherwise monotonous life. Pity those who are missing the fun here! What makes this place even better is the pool of people from all walks of life. Someone’s married, someone’s studying abroad, an old sire, a pretty damsel!!

You guys are now a part of me. Everyone of you. With you, I have traveled the unknown territories of Zimbabwe, nightmare of having a kid!, the surprises at the airports! I entreat the guys at WordPress to continue with the amazing amazing job that they are doing of making this world a better place!

The Other Side of The Road

As always on this boulevard, the faces were young, coming annually in an endless migration from every country, every continent, to alight here once in the long journey of their lives. Brian Moore
As always on this boulevard, the faces were young, coming annually in an endless migration from every country, every continent, to alight here once in the long journey of their lives.

It was a breezy November evening. The sun just set behind the concrete towers leaving a mellow of colors with a red tint across the horizon. It seemed to be an artist’s work on the grey canvas. The water started drizzling from the heavens above and the landscape seemed to be Paul Bril’s finest work.  The neighborhood never looked so beautiful. I was walking down the boulevard as usual for routine evening stroll with “My Heart Will Go On” streaming straight into my ears. Cars were zipping by, the usual pell-mell of kids on the streets, life in a metro as they call it. It was all so animated, sans the clatter. Everything that was happening around, it wasnt anything new, yet, it still had some thing distinct about it. The air was fresh and lighter, probably from the sprinkle moments ago. This breath of fresh air made me change my mood. I took a little detour from my usual walk.

The song changed to Gangnam Style and I found myself hopping down the path. There’s always something about these songs. No matter what mood you are in, you just cant help shaking a leg or two to these tunes. As I was walking down, now with some pace, I noticed something different. It was a familiar area, yet it was unknown. I looked around. “Oh yes, this is the same area I come for the groceries” I told myself. But why was it so different. I continued my brisk walk towards the main road. Everything was different. I had known this place for more than a decade now, but this was something new. I had been up and down that road a countless number of times in these years, but I could not help but admire the serene view.

It had been a good 30 minutes. So, I decided to take a little break in the nearby park. The park was abuzz with boisterous kids. Playing, running around each other, some crying, some laughing their guts out! Rain does freshen up everyone. Even a slight drizzle is enough. I sat down by the pond, contemplating what I had seen while walking. Why was it so new? I had been on this path almost everyday. Then why was everything neoteric? While walking back home, I took my usual path back. I was keenly observing the surroundings this time, trying to find if something had changed overnight here et al. No. Same. Everything is the same. Then why did that road seem unfamiliar.

I came home, made myself a decaf and turned on my laptop. Facebook. It didnt interest me much. I came out to the balcony to enjoy that zephyr that was still around. You hardly get to experience them In Delhi. I looked at the entire landscape. The sun had now set and darkness lingered around. A flock of birds flew across, probably heading home. The view was as clear as crystal(That’s cliche, but absolutely fits the bill). I reiterate  this was still one of the finest evenings in Delhi (since the time I have been old enough to keep records of such things!). Recalling upon my rendevouz with apparently newly found surroundings, I realised, soon enough, why that seemed an unfamiliar territory. Although I had been there like a gazilion times, it seemed new because I had never traveled through that part of the road. I was either walking down on the other side of the road, or zipped through it! I never took the to the other side of the road.

What this evening made me realise was how important it is to have a a look at the problem from another angle. Many of us, including me, until now, see a problem from only one perspective. One view to the problem, if it pans out, then good else leave it. An additional perspective to the problem may help a great deal to iron out the byzantine folds of the situation. It may not seem to be a viable option and utterly useless at first, but it definitely gives you a look from another dimension to the problem. And if that turns out to give a clear solution to the problem, voila!

I would end this with a famous attuce, now probably a cliche, but I still feel it is esoteric.

Stay Foolish, Stay Hungry