When I was a sophomore in high school, my parents had an idea that I should go to the U.S. to study. Back then, I could not imagine leaving my friends, family, or my entire life behind. Not only that, but to attend college in an unfamiliar place where people speak a different language, think differently, and most importantly to me – eat different food. Luckily, throughout high school I gave it a lot of thought and eventually I made up my mind that after I graduated high school I would leave my home country to get my bachelor’s degree in the U.S.
Getting to know other cultures
By being an international student in the United States, one learns cultures of the entire world. Every U.S college is filled with people that are coming from all around the world. You meet people from different walks of life every day, they tell you stories about their countries, traditions, values that they recognize, food that they eat, and suddenly you realize that you have been living on “another planet”. On the other hand, there are people from places where the culture sounds very similar to the one that you are from. In these situations, you feel as though you have lived in the same country but it is just located on the other side of the earth. After some time, you decide you want to visit all of these countries because you feel like you don’t know anything about the world.
Whenever you break the language barrier and the fear of unknown, you get more comfortable with yourself and your confidence grows as well. You are not scared to try new things anymore, you try things that you never imagined you would try before, and you are not shy to start conversation with other people, because you now know that they love your accent. All of a sudden you feel like there is nothing that can scare you, and that you will get through everything that ever stands in the way in your life.
Once you left your country and your parents, you took all the responsibility for yourself. Your family can help you, but they are thousands of miles away. So the earlier you realize the reality of having to be independent, the better. Even though the reality might sound nice at first, not after long you learn that being responsible is not fun.
And then it comes to you. After a few years of studying abroad you come to conclusion that you know nothing about the world, and that there is so much more to learn about life, the planet, and people. You look at people differently you judge less because only now you see how people are different in different parts of the world. How they are better in many things, and only now you see how much better you can be in school, at a sport you do, but most importantly how much of a better person you can be.
Whole new perspective of life
You have become a new person. Before, the only thing that you were concerned about was money, how to get a well-paid job, get rich, and have nice things. However, after spending some time in a place with so many nationalities and cultures, you realize that money is not everything. It might sound like a cliché, but you learn that you want to explore all the cultures that you didn’t even imagine before. Now you understand that there is not really right and wrong in life, because everyone has their own way to live their life. People from other countries have different values and put importance in different things. This is where you learn to not judge others and accept their opinions even if you do not fully agree with them.