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!).
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!
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!