The nomad in USA
Moving to a new city is always difficult but moving to a whole country is taking things to a whole new level. Staying away from parents for a day might be scary for some but packing an entire life in 3 meager suitcases without any knowledge of how long would it be before we will be seeing them again is inevitably daunting.
Right from deciding that you want to get your Master’s, begins a journey, which is nowhere close to being called easy! Right from the entrance exams, selection of the universities and applying to the shortlisted ones, the circuitous wait game for an approval if just another part of the story.
Once all that is covered, going through the Visa process is another Herculean task. With the bittersweet feelings flight tickets are purchased, the next 2 years of life are packed and then the D-Day- flying off to a foreign land leaving behind your home country. Phew, tedious process, right? Surely at one end is the inevitable farewell to the family and friends but at the other an excitement of whole new world waiting to be explored.
After a retrospective journey of 18 hours straight, waiting to accost at the airport is a Visa officer with an interview. One piece of advice-better to keep all the necessary documents like I-20, passport, financial statements etc ready. Believe it or not, this is first of many interviews about to come your way in the next few years.
But, as they say, no gain without any pain! Sacrifices are just a part of the deal when you have dreams of studying in one of the best Universities of the World, following it with a job with a 6 figure salary and eventually proving a point to all those who said you won’t be able to make it big!
So, the bigger question, what immediate changes does life in US bring in after this move? Or, tips on how to avoid the negative repercussions of this transition.
- One of the basic thoughts at the top of the mind after landing in US is currency conversion. Give it a few months and it won’t be hundreds of Rupees rather just $10 soon.
- One other thing that most of us go wrong with is that we concentrate on making friends of our own Nationality. How about making some entirely new friends? USA is a true amalgam of various cultures and every classroom is a testament to that. Try to explore the world and other nationalities too. This doesn’t end at making new friends and adding them on social media! Rather, hang out with them, go to lectures together and even have study groups with them. Where else will you get such an amazing opportunity to make international friends? Make judicious use of this opportunity and believe it or not it will definitely help you in growing as an individual.
- Freedom is an understatement when living in US. Expect to have an extra dose of fun where you no longer have to get home by 10 or inform anybody of your whereabouts. However, without being reckless too. This can easily backfire. In the process of enjoying the new phase of our life, tendency of forgetting who we are and why are we here is very high. Never forget you are staying in a new country where a small mistake can destroy your career and, sometimes, even life and you will be deported back to your home country.
- Be sure to research and consult your seniors before you take a course. In fact, sometimes even the professors teaching the course can very well be a deciding factor. Most of the universities require a minimum GPA of 3.3 to be maintained to keep the scholarships intact, and that can be a major task depending on your courses or your field of study. Taking wrong courses can destroy your semester and your GPA. Don’t get so busy in making new friends and partying that you forget to complete your assignments and study for your midterms and finals.
- Nothing comes free and so immediately the semester begins, so does a hunt for on-campus employment begins. Don’t get dejected if you don’t find an on-campus job in first few months, good things usually take time to come. Once the job is there, the extra pocket money never goes amiss!
- For those leaving their comfort zones for the first time, a span of two years seems difficult. But trust us, before you even start feeling any homesickness the semester will end and soon you will be preparing for the next ones and next thing you will know that you are sitting in your convocation in your nice gown tossing your caps and discussing how good this journey has been.
- Yes, eventually just the sight of burgers and pizzas will make you miss the home cooked khaana. But then again there will be times when you will be overjoyed to try new cuisines as well.
- There is one thing about living in US which makes it so special. A country that is used to so many international students coming in every year, people make an effort to make you feel at home. Right from organizing events just for you to celebrating your festivals just the way they are celebrated back home, you will feel that it’s not just college but an extended family.
- Living in US gives you a newfound respect and love for people, family and particularly basic etiquettes, which we tend to forget over time back home. Holding gates for the next person behind us, always saying thank you to even the driver of the bus we are riding and wishing good day to the waiter at the restaurant are some of the basic things which we learn when step out in US.
- You learn the true meaning of hard work and balance in life. Now that you are in US, an urge automatically develops to enjoy every single moment of those 24 hours. And that does not mean partying. Subtract the bedtime hours and rest all of the hours are devoted to part-time jobs, joining school clubs and organizing events, networking with people and, of course, studying.
- Moving to USA taught how to make a home wherever life takes us. Staying positive is the key. Homesickness is inevitable but making the best of it all is the way forward!
Transition to any country, whether it is USA or any other, is a huge opportunity but at the same time a responsibility. Use it wisely, and the rewards will pay. Don’t waste this opportunity with some bad decisions. Make this chance count and make your parents proud of you.