People often think that studying abroad is really prestigious and is all about the excitement, new culture, cool experiences and freedom from parents. However, that is only about 5% of what i have experienced, even though i’m into my second year of living abroad.
The remaining 95% is hardship. It’s about the cleaning, cooking, washing, studying, bills, housing, and trying to fit in.
In my first year here, I was totally taken aback when people in the country asked me “are you all right?” I was just so stunned I anxiously replied “err.. yeah?” I thought I had looked as if I was going to faint any time which was why they asked me that question. It was only until it happened every day that I realised that that greeting is the equivalent of Singapore’s “how’s life?”
I could get along well with my hall mates, in the sense that I never ever argued with them. But, I was constantly feeling hatred and resentment towards them. I really really disliked them for not being considerate at all – never ever ever ever ever washing up, always piling up dishes, pouring alcohol all over the floor (literally pouring. I doubt any human or animal drinks any form of liquid in a manner that results in the whole floor being wet), making SO MUCH NOISE FROM 7PM TO 4AM. I suffered from insomnia and depression and well I was just a very unhappy being last year. I had to sleep with ear plugs every single night and it caused my ears to hurt.
Of course, there were very nice and hospitable hall mates who I still say hi to. But that’s only… 5 out of the 22 of them?
Also, I never got the culture here – people do not say hi to you unless they are alone. I was insulted at first but now I do it back to them. Well, i’m just trying to fit in 🙂
There are definitely pros of living in this new country. Strangers somehow are very much friendlier and helpful than those back home. I like how the general public (well apparently not my hall mates) are quite considerate and environmentally friendly.
If not for certain compelling reasons, I think I would stay on to find a job here and possibly even migrate here.
Having my own house in second year makes things so much lovelier. You get to choose who you want to live with and you get so much more of your own space. I GET ICE CREAM AND MY MILK DOESN’T EVER GET STOLEN. I can do laundry whenever I want to and I can sleep in a peaceful, silent house that I had a part in designing its interior.
While there have been many other issues, I find that having a home to go to for respite is really such an important thing in my life.
These are just some of the thoughts I have been having for the past 3 weeks. I definitely miss my country but I am also embracing my new experience here.