It wasn’t my first time travelling out of my parent’s vicinity but it just seemed new all over. Leaving my friends and people that had grown to become family behind again, am sure it’s not me alone but it’s always super hard.
I came as an international student in 2012 to study medicine at Texila American university, Georgetown, Guyana after my studies in the Philippines.
When I got here, it was not exactly what I had thought it would be but I guess part of being an adult is adapting and trying to make things work. A lot needed to change and all responsibility was on me now, every decision I make counts.
Let me tip you in on some of the things I learnt that might be useful
1. You call the shots now: It’s absolute freedom! No one is supervising or instructing you. You are so on your own especially with issues that needs immediate attention. Parents and friends could chip in occasionally but the decision making are all you now, so make the right ones.
2. Try comfortable but affordable: I would not advice you to go cheap on things that can bring you comfort especially if you are staying more than a year but don’t over do it, get necessities only and be wise about your spending. Go for things that would make studying and living conducive for you to attain excellence. Like I tell my friends, the outside world might be chaotic but as long as my home makes me smile as I step in, I will be fine.
3. Make friends not enemies: You are in a new country to study, I get it, also try to mingle with people in it and experience their culture and the jaw dropping wonders it brings. You can also build amazing relationships and network from there.
4. Communicate with your people often: Technology has made things much more easier, so make use of it. If you can’t call, drop a message, check up on them. It will ease their worries and also keep you calm to focus. My rule, “If you miss them, beep them”.
5. Move around: I had a triangular movement for a while in Philippines. It went like this; home→church→home→school→home. Few weeks before leaving the country I started exploring and I realized I had not seen enough of the country but it was time to pack my bags and say goodbye. I didn’t make the same mistake in Guyana, I take any chances I got to travel around. Go out and see the interesting places in the country,
6. Learn the language: I wish someone had informed me earlier about this I would have saved a lot of money. Immediately I speak, the prices of items automatically increases because it is so obvious I am a foreigner. It might seem irrelevant but if you are staying more than a year I advice you should, especially for shopping and communication sake, learn the basics.
7. Take your studies seriously: if you succeed, it’s all for you. I am not saying don’t have a time out but don’t place the wrong things as priority. Study hard, participate in class, ask questions, submit assignments on time, show up for class and so on, am sure you got the point already.
I know it’s tough to be a student in a foreign land at the beginning, as time goes on you will get used to it. I hope this was insightful enough to help someone..
Lots of Love