Study Abroad/ Reality check
Updated: Jul 15
Hey guys, how are you ?
I want to start a series on my blog related to moving and studying abroad.
You may ask why so. The reason comes from my personal experience - if I knew how others felt and coped with the sudden change, maybe I wouldn’t have taken it so bad.
Don’t take me wrong, I don’t have regrets and surely I don’t want to change anything, but my expectations were completely wrong when I faced the reality of moving abroad.
Maybe it will help someone who wants to study in another country to know that, not everything is at it seems , at least not at the beginning. And if you are already abroad, maybe you will emphasise with what I will say. This is the story of how I realised the reality of my choices was so much different than what I dreamed them to be.
Going back in time, my desire to study abroad can be traced back to 10-11th grade in High School. I was always passionate about traveling and seeing the world, mainly discovering other cultures and what they stand for. But I never fully comprehended what that entitles.
My parents, growing up, were always overprotective so I can’t say that I knew a lot about taking care of myself and how the society works.
In 11th grade, spontaneously, I decided to apply to some universities in the UK. My passion was fashion and in England hosted some of the best schools worldwide. It was very tempting and motivating to work for this amazing dream, I would live by myself, without having to give explanations about where I’ve been and what I’ve done. Moreover, I will study what I love, meeting new people from all over the world and try as many cuisines as I could. Party all the time, spending time doing crazy stuff and sharing experiences. It seemed like an American movie where everything will be so much fun.
It was not.
I couldn’t fully comprehend that I will leave my family, who raised me for 18 years, and my friends for a new beginning where I wouldn’t have anyone near me for a good period of time.
I was a child who thought that everything will be fun and playful.
The first day when I arrived in London was strange. It felt a bit wrong to be there and for the first time since I made my decision to study abroad, I regretted it. Those few moments were not even the peak of my anxiety and later on, depression. It was easy while I was with my parents to think that everything is alright, this is like a holiday. But when I was alone, it was a straight-up nightmare. The first week, even if I spend it with my parents (and some friends who came to visit me) it was so hard. Every day the dark though of being alone after they leave started growing inside myself, and man I was so right.
I came to London for almost 2 weeks before school started, because I wanted to get used to the whole city and its surroundings.
I tell you guys, this is not a good idea because for one week I was alone by myself in a tiny room, in a city that I didn’t know. It is okay to go for a week beforehand to buy everything that you need but I believe no more than that, cause it is sad. I tried exploring as much as I could, but because in September the sun goes down around 5 there is not that much one can do.
Looking back, I realise I was only able to breathe again after one month, ever since I left my family in September. I felt like I was underwater and everything that is happening is a dream.
For the first time, I start having anxiety every moment and little panic attacks when I was alone. When school started, things got better because I was spending my time with other people. I started making friends and going out with them.
Life started to get better, it got better. What I thought will be a hell of a three years course actually turned out to be the best decision of my life. Even all the hardships and inconvenience turned out to be valuable lessons. I started to look at how to improve myself, to get the best out of myself.
I used to think that everything needs to be done with someone. You go to the movie, you need to have a friend with you. You go for a walk, someone needs to be there as well. Life is not about always having people next to you, life is all about being able to do things for yourself without the help of someone else. In the end, you come into this world alone and you die alone. I don’t try to be sad, I have my friends whom I love and I am happy to have them in my life but you need to be independent.
I also realised that I am not okay with sudden changes in the environment. I suffer every time that I spend a great amount of time in one place and then need to move again. But ‘it is what it is’, for my future I need to make sacrifices and it is hard but I know that everything will get better, it is worth it.
This was a little story of how moving abroad felt for me, I want to start a series of studying abroad tips. This is not even half of what I learned and I hope you get to see that there are different perspectives - but this one is mine. I know that things were not the same for everyone, but it helps to know that if you’ve felt anxious and sad, you weren’t alone.
PS: The photos are from the beginning when I moved to London, for me they clearly show how unhappy I was. I wanted to keep it true because of that I decided to show them to you guys, some of them are on Instagram, and some are not.
Edit: Prisecaru Andreea