Wednesday, 3 August 2016

What's going abroad for education like

So now that summer is here, and I don't have much to do, why not use this vacay time to write a post on this neglected blog! I just completed 6 (now 9; now 10; now 11) months of surviving in an entirely new country without my family. Having said that, I do miss home dearly, and I'd take up any chance to go back even if it was for a day, but no, I'd like to explore Boston for now (Now don't you laugh at that). I do plan to go around sometime *sigh* But for now, I'll spare you my sad story and write this post which I hope will be a good read!

So here we go.

Going abroad for education has its own set of highs and downfalls. And staying away from family during a sad period can be a tad depressing at times. But soon, when you find a good set of people, you don't really need to worry. You start seeing your sister, mother, father, grandma, etc in all the new people you meet. You miss all the yummy delicious dishes mom made for you, you miss how the only thing you were expected to do back then was concentrate on your studies. And now suddenly, you have a heavy coursework with numerous other adult-ish responsibilities like bills to be paid, grocery-shopping, working on-campus and what not! Juggling all those things can be stressful at times especially if you're good at procrastinating. But soon enough, you'll learn how to "adult" (I hope the day is close. Wait, don't adults procrastinate too?).
So below, I'm gonna list a few things which I feel encompass the whole "living abroad all by yourself" experience. Okay, it may not encompass it in entirety, I just wanted to use the word (Also, entirety).

To study? Or not to study? But how? 

Coursework. The biggest difference you'll have to deal with, once you're abroad. Everything is different. The way we were taught, the way we gave our exams, the way we studied for them. Everything. You actually need to devote time for studying, and follow your timetable. Just kidding. But you could. With all the new responsibilities that are accompanied with living on your own, you tend to be busy. So it's important to keep reminding yourself that you're here to study, and not on a vacation. Though you definitely need to do more than just studying. Like traveling, going out, etc. Because doing these will make life so much fun and less stressful. 


 So remember how your mother used to give you garma garam chai with breakfast before you left for school? Say bye-bye to that. I mean, you can still have your garam chai, but who's gonna make that for you? Yes, you. You have to get up extra early to cook food for the day. It's only when you start cooking for yourself, you'll know how much planning goes into cooking! You need to be up-to-date with your groceries. You sometimes need to forgo sleep and wake up a little more early to cook (Cruel, I know). Cooking requires a lot of patience, you know like they say good things come to those who wait. Also, once you start cooking for a while, you'll start finding it easier. Citing from my experience, cooking is so much more enjoyable when you have someone to cook with! (Shoutout to Ross!)
If you're staying along with your friends, you can set up cooking turns amongst each other, which makes cooking less of a routine.

Waking up scenes

If you're the kind of person who can wake up early in the morning on your own by setting up an alarm, you're good. But, if you're a deep sleeper and often need annoying harsh alarm tones or need somebody to call you a million times just to wake you up, you're doomed! Just kidding, you'd be good too. Except for the fact that your roommates won't really approve the harsh alarm tones if they have to sleep in late. You need to get enough sleep and get that circadian rhythm kicking, or else you'd find yourself running late for work, classes, whatever.

Handling finances

Back at your parents' home, you don't really have to worry about money related matters. When you're living in a different continent far away from them, you gotta look after your own finances. You set up your own limits based on how much you earn, spend, etc. IMO, handling my finances is tough initially if you have zero experience with it, but you'll eventually get the hang of it. You will realize that you gotta take up the responsibility and keep up with it, because if you don't, you'd be in deep trouble!

Paying bills

Closely linked to the above point. You have this new addition to your life. Suddenly, you have to pay to live. Food, water, rent, electricity, WiFi, basically every single thing!
If you work, all your hard earned money goes into paying all sorts of bills, and you at the end of the month, you just have enough quarters for laundry. Why should it be so expensive to live? Thank God, we aren't charged for O2 consumption. Man, can you imagine a world like that? Plant more trees, guys.

Work, work, work

So where do you get money to pay bills? You work for it. Though it's tough to get a decent on-campus job. You eventually get one. Since most of us did not really have to work for pocket-money back in India, it's a completely new experience. A good one for sure. A job is a job. Whether it's working at a fast-food shop or working as a TA. You work for it, it pays. I believe it makes you more independent. Since you know how much you work, you spend accordingly. All in all, it's a good experience.

Phew. That was the longest I've taken to complete a post. I wasn't even that busy. Anyway, it's done now. I'm going to be completing one complete year of staying abroad exactly 30 days from now. 
Time flies :)

I'm off. Have a good one peeps!

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