An outlook on the double-eged nature of studying abroad through the eyes of a Pakistani undergraduate student studying in Turkey

Studying abroad has always seemed highly enticing to many people, and rightly so, since who would refuse a chance to grow into their person, adapt to different cultures, and get a taste of all that the world has to offer. Though studying abroad comes with a plethora of pros and may seem like a garden full of roses from afar, it is essential to acknowledge that the garden also often has thorns.

Through personal accounts and experiences, it would not be an exaggeration to say that moving abroad to study opens horizons like no other. What makes this experience so exclusive and extraordinary in the grand scheme of things is how it opens one’s mind to a copious amount of items. The experience revolves around the art of learning, but not just what the university or the college has to provide, but rather every step from cooking for oneself to managing one’s finances is a new lesson. These lessons neither begin nor end in a classroom but are learned from the moment you step out of the comforts of your own home to live in a place that is neither home nor far away from it.

Throughout my stay in Turkey, as an undergraduate student, I have been versed vastly in the essential skills to sustain an independent life. Skills, whether as small as getting a weekly water supply or as big as maintaining accounts, taxes, and bills. I assure you that just like me, you soon will also find yourself developing into a new person- someone who is independent in every stance of life, someone who has absorbed more than the mere culture that they were born into, someone who has learned and understood the ideologies that can cater to their growth, and foremost someone who has chosen to be empathetic beyond the boundaries taught. With moving abroad to study comes a new and strong sense of self and a newfound ambition to extend the boundaries introduced to a man, and hence this leads to the propelling and increases in all the vital qualities of self one possesses.

Now that this picture of the upsides related to studying abroad has been painted. Let me take you through the hardships and struggles you might face if you decide to take this step. The first and foremost task that comes with going abroad is leaving behind the comfort and joy that comes with the familiarity of the people, places, and things surrounding you. Once you make the journey out of your homeland, everything and everyone that you are faced with will be alien. This unknown, which might seem exotic from afar, is hard to get accustomed to since even the most basic tasks like ordering food or getting a ride can be complex due to cultural differences and language barriers. The differences and difficulties vary from country to country; a country in which English is commonly known and spoken might not be as hard to adjust to compared to a country where you might have to learn a whole new language in order to be able to do day-to-day tasks. I was faced with a drastic language barrier in Turkey since people who speak or understand English is a rarity there. Hence, it is integral to see and prepare beforehand if you are going to a place where you might face a language barrier. Furthermore, when it comes to studying, a new place means a new curriculum, a new way of teaching, and foremost a foreign approach to the way you are evaluated. This puts a strain on your mind as you might have to unlearn a certain number of methods and approaches that you had previously. Facing all these things becomes even harder when you have to do them alone, and since ninety percent chances are that you will go abroad to study alone, you will most likely be searching for peers to talk to and rely on while juggling all this unfamiliarity.

All this unfamiliarity of things is not only your biggest bane when going abroad but, as aforementioned, is also the most enormous propeller of personal growth. Hence this queerness of your surroundings, combined with its uniqueness, will become your biggest foe and ally when going abroad to study.

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Perfectly put, left no area uncovered.