I’m not sure if I’ve been slacking with my posts or not, but this post was meant to go up last week, following Part 1 of my study abroad realities. Instead, I put up a spontaneous post, but the long awaited part 2 is here, and you should read part 1 before proceeding with this. In this post, I will be sharing the not- so flashy realities of studying abroad.
Home sickness: As I mentioned before, being homesick is definitely top of my list of not so great things. I miss easy accessibility to the kinds of food I want to eat, which is why I didn’t love my first semester at college. When I first came, I didn’t cook much because mummy always did the cooking (should have learnt more from mummy back then), and I was eating for survival, not food I loved. However, I had to get used to cooking my own meals to satisfy cravings. I also cooked with friends which can be a fun way of accomplishing hanging out and eating good food.
Also, I miss having my family around which is normal for everyone, I suppose. You are eager to leave home because your family is annoying, but once you leave, you want them closer than ever.
Making committed friendships: Depending on who you are, this might or might not be a problem. If you are a social butterfly, you’ll connect with people easily and have many casual friends. The downside is that, you might struggle with juggling with many friendships and fail to develop any strong friendships. While making friends, you need to have at the back of your mind that you are looking for few intimate friendships, because you need them the most. You will be doing a lot of choosing and dropping friendships in your college/university years. It’s definitely harder when you are abroad and making friends with people from different backgrounds. You have to leave room for excesses (be accommodating) and extend grace to friends who do things differently.
Another point tied closely to the friendship point is this: sometimes, you don’t want to talk when you are at an outing . You are tired and don’t want to explain where you’re from or interact, but you have to because you are different (find out what being different means). Although, I like talking about my country most times, sometimes I just want to blend in and not answer questions. That’s the thing about unfamiliarity, if you were home, there wouldn’t be any explaining to do.
Culture and Academic shock: I should make a whole new post discussing this point, and I will soon, but it’s not surprising that you’ll experience cultural differences in a different country. Some cultural differences I’ve witnessed in America are: differences in the way elders are regarded by young people (respect shown here is less showy than it is in Nigeria) , different means of greetings, and public display of affection (very uncommon in Nigeria), to list a few.
Another shock is academic shock; the way classes/lectures are set up here is much different than back home. Higher technology and innovative/ critical thinking are incorporated more into teachings in the States, and this opened my eyes to how much development the education system in Nigeria needs.
Keeping up with relationships: I’ll be the first to admit that this is probably the hardest thing about studying abroad for me. Keeping up with friends scattered across the world is overwhelming. When do I call who? What time can I fit into my schedule to chat with this friend whom i haven’t talked to in months? It’s hard, and I wish I had an answer for how to make it easier but I don’t. Keeping up is easy in the beginning, but you make new friends, you and your old friends are living different lives, and I hate to say this, but you lose a lot of friends. It’s okay though, your circle has to get smaller because that’s life, and the ones that are meant to stay will.
Dealing with boredom: Although, studying in a different country is exciting and fun at first, you will get bored. You will be in university for 4 years at least, and will get tired of the familiar events, school chants and so on. However, because you can’t just hop and leave school, you have to find ways to introduce excitement. If you can, plan getaway trips with friends (it’ll require saving up). Search google for fun things to do in your city or cities around, and attend campus events. You’re guaranteed to break free from your boredom sometimes.
These are just some of my realities and how I overcame them, I’m sure there are more struggles that I can’t think of right now, but I’ll always share posts like this, so please subscribe to the blog. Although, there are positive and negative realities of studying abroad, I am enjoying my study abroad opportunity, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Don’t forget to share your own study abroad experiences with me and friends on here.
As usual, love you guys, and thank you for reading!
p.s: Did you notice me repping my Temple International shirt in the above photo?
p.p.s: How did I forget to mention that I detest winter? The cold is not for me