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Life as an International Student

International Stories

A reminder by Sarah Kay

"No, it's not going to work that way. You can never be like the people here. You have to be YOU and learn to grow here as a genuine person."

This thought is what my inner instinct keeps on repeating itself at the back of my mind. I do not know why.

Being an international student and living a life abroad is hard, especially with all the extra things or obstacles that keep popping up as "sudden presents" in your life: language barriers, culture shocks, people you meet every day, work or study environment, even food. All these things are different, and if you are a teenager or went abroad after completing your high school like me, then VOILA, prepared to be amused and anxious at the same time to learn all these new things and adjusting to a new life. It is not going to be easy.

That's what I learned here.

You are just an international student no matter how cool you try to be or how hard you try to adjust to the situation there.

The road will seem exciting and satisfying to you, but as you go on living your "imagined life" abroad, you will start unfolding yourself and know more about the place and also the people you are with almost every time.

Telling people you are an international student becomes normal and you start getting the hang of it. Sometimes, you even forget where you are from or what your friends or family looks like back home. That sounds rude, but it's true. You become so indulged in your world that you become a whole new, different person. You become someone different from who you were and some toxic people in your life will start bothering you saying how changed you have been and you are a different person now. But it doesn’t matter as long as you are living your life and you love yourself. Never let such people’s opinions ruin your thinking in any way possible.

But all these things give us an opportunity to look through ourselves and reflect on how we lived our lives back home and what our other friends are missing here. I wonder what I would do if I hadn't traveled here. I have chosen to stay away from the toxic people, and it harms no one. Your friends back home may think you are enjoying your time and living the dream. But the reality is harsh, my friend, and nothing goes on as you imagined.

It is a blessing of course so we should learn to look at things from the bright side and consider it a blessing to have traveled to live an independent life. Being an adult in a foreign country is hard and with that comes all the responsibilities you have on your head as an individual. The only family that you will have by your side are your friends, roommates, your friends’ friends or relatives.

For, just like Mark Twain said, "Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody. Every man is a moon and has a side which he turns toward nobody: you have to slip around behind if you want to see it."

The same thing implies to our lives, too. We can either choose to live by being bad or by being good. In the process of adjusting to the foreign environment, I hope students like me never forget their dream. At the very least, I hope they don’t get lost in between all the problems. I hope they never get overwhelmed by their motive about why they are here in a foreign land.

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Life as an International Student
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