Taking small sweet trips to foreign lands is one story but going there for like studying or staying is a whole another ball game. I have seen listicles about ‘things that you get here and not back in India’, ‘Things which you can do when you go somewhere fancy’ but no one really talks about ‘how you thought it is going to be but is actually not’.
So here’s my listicle of what I thought studying and living in a country other than India would be like but is not.
1. People will be funnier, smarter and more amazing: I would always think that I could enjoy a better company and I would have more fun when I am out of India. I would hang out with a larger group of people and parties are going to be even more fun. Well, we often neglect the language barrier and even if some of us are good at speaking the common language the accent is a huge issue. You would miss out jokes, pick up lines and you would end up laughing at something not even meant to be funny. You end up making a fool out of yourself sometimes or your common phrase becomes “sorry could you say that again?” but the moment is gone.
2. Studying will be so much better: I cannot say for sure if the curriculum is better, but it is so much more taxing. You do not get notes for everything, weekly submission, never-ending assignments, and online quizzes are your frenemies. They are always popping up whenever you have a plan to go out or chill with your friends and you yearn for the weekend only when it is Tuesday on the calendar. You also do not have all the books prescribed readily available and the library booking system is always full? Did you even use the library in India?
3. It’s Friday! Friday!: No, not really. I always thought weekends would be to chill out and party with your friends and go out and have fun. Well, some are but they don’t start with you taking your eye mask out and preparing what you will be wearing tonight. It starts with checking the cleaning roster to see if your name is not up for the day and doing your laundry and shopping to get some breakfast because milk is over and cleaning all the cat hair in your room or the muck collected over the week? Oh, wait I left the vacuum machine on!
*THAT IS HOW I ROLL ON WEEKENDS*
4. Facetime and Skype would be easy: Technology is handy but longitudes and latitudes are not. Especially when you have friends all around the world. You have got to add varied clocks on the world clock part. Coordinate if they are done with their assignments and when you have to sleep. Not to forget, Mother is important. You cannot miss out on the family just because you are tired talking to friends. It is difficult to keep up, connection issues exist all around the world. “Why do Whatsapp calls lag so much?”
5. Celebrating Festivals will be pathetic: This is absolutely not true! Have you heard about globalisation and migration? Yeah, Gujju people were the first ones at it. There is a Chinese community and then there is a G.U.J.J.U. (Kal Ho Na Ho – please see the song if you have not already) community. People celebrate Falguni Pathak and Ram – Leela more than Halloween here. Yes, they ain’t about the pumpkins at all. You get amazing Indian food albeit not authentic and you can still get grooving to ‘Let’s Play Holi’ at Fed Square in Melbourne while waiting for a Steve Aoki song on the playlist.
With this, there should nothing be there to stop to come to another country to stay or study because travelling and exploring a new place for a reason other than wanderlust is always fun. And while some things are tough out there, you get to learn a lot living in a new place and starting from the scratch.