Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Stages of Studying Abroad

Almost a year ago, a lecturer of mine sat down with international MSc students in the psychology department. She was also an international student once, so the purpose of the get-together is to prepare the international freshers to study in the UK, as we needed to adjust in order to thrive - or at least, survive.

I still remember that my lecturer showed us a graph explaining the stages of studying abroad. The adjustment, the excitement, the struggle, the astonishment, the loneliness, the acceptance, and finally, the re-adjustment when returning home.

Another graph which pretty much explains the same thing (Source)

I also remember her saying, "There were times when I cried alone at night, wondering why I did this in the first place. That might happen to you, as well." And it did, a few times. When I felt so frustrated about my assignment, when I felt immensely stupid for not being able to write an excellent paper, when I realised that my English is far from good, when I saw my family went on a vacation together, when I miss my close friends, and when I just felt like crying with no particular reason. It's been a roller-coaster ride, indeed. A hell of a ride.

Nevertheless, now I'm feeling a little emotional to go back home. I'm finally in a state of acceptance. I actually enjoy having a space from everyone (yet still be in touch with them) and being more independent, and I'm a bit nervous to know that I need to readjust my position once more. When you're away from people you love, it's more likely that you forget all the bad memories about them and start missing all the good ones instead - and somehow I find it good for the relationship. In some cases, distance does make the heart grow fonder.

But there's always an end to something, even the good ones. I'm leaving for good in just a few days to re-face the reality (as this whole year still feels surreal to me), and I don't know if I'm ready.

Well then, thank you for the indelible experience, York. You will sure be tremendously missed.

"It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world." 
- John Green, Paper Town

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