I don’t clearly remember my first international flight. It was hellish because of my terrible headache and emotions going wild. But I do remember the first time I stepped in Sydney. I felt hate and regret. I hated everything from the moment I stepped into the land and regretted my decision of being there to pursue my studies. I was blaming the city for being the reason I had to leave behind my paradise-my comfort zone, to come to strange land and stay with strangers. Maybe it was the flight or a whole lot of emotions that made me feel that way, but I felt really bad.
I was definitely scared about starting a new journey in a place I had only looked through my laptop screen. I wanted to take the next flight and get back home immediately. I would have returned but taking that dreadful flight again was not an option and my mother had not raised me a quitter. It was my decision to study abroad, explore the world beyond my own precious world. So, I couldn’t blame it furthermore.
It felt like a roller-coaster ride; scary but exciting, full of adrenaline rush. It was juggling many things at once, but each ball came in different shapes. There were days when I cried like a baby, but I am also proud of myself for many little achievements and little things that I learnt. Being on my own, with all the responsibilities on my own shoulders was difficult, but the experience taught me so much more than my comfort zone would ever have. I learned to take care of myself, prepare my own meals, clean my room, arrange everything and balance my study, work and my life. It was overwhelming at times and it drove me crazy as I struggled to manage my time.
At beginning, it felt nice to hear Nepali words here and there, but then slowly I realized that there are just too many Nepalis in Sydney. And that to find a person who understands your mother language in a same compartment of train gradually became normal. I met different kinds of people in this journey and each of them, based on their experience with the city, were open to give opinions/suggestions on what is the best thing to do while finding a job or studying in Sydney.
Everyone has his/her own set of experiences and lessons. It is wise to listen to them, but blindly following them is not a smart option. You will have to gain your own experiences and learn your own lessons. It is always good to be cautious, have people around to warn you but give yourself the opportunity to explore the world if you have decided to leave behind your comfort zone.
Life is definitely difficult and hard, and it will always be. Once abroad, it will not be like the lap of your mother nor it will be comfortable like Nepal—where even though things get hard, you can always get things around your way. It will be some completely different system thus, things will be confusing, scary and bad, even worse. But in each step, every day, you will be learning something new about yourself and the place, if you are observant enough.
In the journey, you will find yourself anew and you will be proud of yourself when you achieve things alone. You will learn the value of money, time, patience, relationship and most of all, your mental health that most of us take for granted. And you will be grateful for the friends who are available for you in a time where everyone is so busy. And you will especially be thankful for the family back home, who check on you and show you their concerns.
I am not up for the idea of settling abroad yet, but I would say it is a good idea to give yourself a chance to leave your country, your comfort zone and explore yourselves, at least once in your lifetime. You don’t need to be suffering through a hard life in Nepal to go abroad. Sometimes you just need to escape the beautiful reality and face the life on your own.
Jenisha is currently studying Masters of International Studies at University of Wollongong in Australia.