Although I loved visiting the United States with my family, choosing to go there to finish my undergraduate degree was a decision I made after a few months of toilsome thinking. Being one of the youngest members of an extended family, growing up was a blessing. I was pampered a lot and did not know what independence felt like. However, I had a preconceived idea that college would not be the same. Keeping this in mind, I headed to Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana in 2016.
It was overwhelming to see thousands of new faces from all around the world. Fortunately, due to the exposure I received in school and home, I was able to make conversation with ease. However, it required a lot of patience for me to adapt to the culturally diverse environment at Earlham, which has a student-body consisting of students from 77 countries. Within a year, I learned about many people, their respective countries, and their cultural backgrounds. Withal, I expanded my knowledge regarding current affairs by learning about topics such as the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Black Lives Matter movement and the Free Tibet movement.
Moreover, Earlham College is located where most liberal arts colleges are located in the United States–a small town. As there aren’t a lot of things to do in Richmond, my freshman year was mostly spent on campus with a few trips around the country. Regardless of how monotonous it would get in Richmond, I developed a liking towards the city because there were fewer distractions compared to big cities; which gave the student body an opportunity to grow closer to each other.
Before coming to Earlham, the idea of studying abroad was unsettling. I was anxious about whether I would receive an education that would fit my needs, whether I would be able to make new friends in a surrounding alien to me, and whether I would be able to handle independence.
With time, however, I realized that I had made a wise decision by choosing to study in the United States. Despite some bumps, studying in a country abroad has succored me in ways I would have never imagined. I have learned to have an open-mind and appreciate the different cultures our world constitutes of. I have learned to prioritize my goals but most importantly; I have grown to like independence as I now strongly believe that independence is a key element that leads to success.
The writer is a student at Earlham College, Richmond.