Studying Abroad: Should you?

My cap when I was graduating from my master’s degree.

When I was asked to speak in the “Scholarship Hunting: Exploring the world through scholarship” seminar, the committee requested me to encourage the participants so that they could feel motivated in applying for a scholarship to pursue their study abroad at the end of the event. I felt – and still feel – “dilemmatic” 🙈😅 Here are two reasons why.

1) To be honest, I’ve come to a point, where I hesitate to encourage people to study abroad without giving fair picture how a life during study abroad. I mean, those (or maybe just me) who study abroad usually post only the good things. We post our traveling pics, which were actually taken only during the break. I mean, we went to travel during the breaks, (usually at the mid or end of the semester), took a lot of pics, but posted them one by one throughout the year so it looked like we’re always traveling. But we’re not 😂😂🙈🙈✌️✌️ Back then I didn’t have this kind of dilemma, I didn’t really think of it this way; i.e. when I was asked to motivate people to study abroad, I’d go ahead on fully encouraging them. I thought, somehow they’d be able to overcome whatever challenges they’d face for some reasons that I might have said in other posts. (I might not have, but I’m sure I’ve written it in one of my Instagram captions 😐 ) But some time ago, I was having comps. I got really stressed out, panicking, depressed, etc. which I don’t think I had experienced before. So I thought to myself: “If I encouraged and motivated people to study abroad and they will have to go through the same thing I was, would they be okay? Will I not feel bad and guilty?” Well, of course I’m feeling much better now. But that time was really miserable and I feel like I don’t want anyone else to go through all that. That’s why I felt dilemmatic about that. But of course I don’t mean to demotivate or discourage anyone who wants to study abroad. If people really want to go abroad, I’ll definitely support them. I’ll always encourage and motivate them. So here some motivation: If you really want it, go for it, fight for it! Don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t and you won’t, especially those that will let you down, the ones that will break your spirit and make you feel like giving up, don’t listen to them. Just focus on your goals. Don’t think of everything you’ll face as obstacles or hindrances, think of them as challenges. Don’t ever tell yourself or think, “I can’t, it’s impossible for me, it’s (going to be) difficult, I’m not that smart, I won’t make it, my grades are bad, etc.” Please avoid this. I mean, of course it’s human to have these thoughts and that’s perfectly okay to have them, but once this thought comes to your mind, fight it. Because if you always think it this way, you’ll never make the necessary efforts. Why? Because if you think that way, you’ll think that any efforts you make will be in vain, they’ll be useless, so why bother making efforts at all? So it’s better to change your perspectives, think, “Well, yeah it’s difficult but it’s not impossible. Well, it might be my day. Who knows that this time I’ll be lucky? Well, if I don’t give it a try, I’ll never know. Well, I’ve got nothing to lose, but even if I fail, I’ll still get the experience. It will always be worth the efforts. It will always be worth a try. Etc.” When we’re open to such possibilities, we’ll have a reason to make efforts. We’ll believe that our efforts will not go down the drain. Why? Because even when there’s no guarantee that you’ll fail, but there’s always a possibility that you’ll succeed 😊 That’s the only encouragement I can give. So it’s not that I don’t want to encourage or motivate people to study abroad, I just want them to have/make better preparation 😊

One of my most fav graduation pictures 🙂

2) The second reason why I feel dilemmatic about asking people to study abroad is that I often observe that many people often think that we, who study abroad, are cool, better, etc. I say, “NOPE.” That’s not true. Well, of course I feel cool about myself considering what I’ve been through to get where I am now and how many people want to be where I am now. Yes, I feel cool about it. But does it make me cooler than everybody else? NOPE. I’ve come to a point where I believe that the good and cool people are those who can do kind to others, who can create good and give benefits to others, those who are “useful.” And for that, you don’t always have to study abroad. I have always had some respects for my Indonesian friends who are not studying abroad but have been doing a lot of things for the society and the community. To me, they’re cooler and much better than me. So yeah, I don’t want people to feel bad, inferior, or insecure just because they do not study abroad. What I want to stress, highlight, and emphasize is “learn and be helpful/useful.” And it can be anywhere. It can be within the country, abroad, at school, or learn from everyone around us, etc. The point is: never stop learning. But, well, if by studying abroad you think you’ll learn better and be more helpful, then go. We can experience a lot while studying abroad. If we’re a part of majority in our country, we can learn how it feels to be a minority in another country. We can see different cultures and perspectives. We can learn to respect and value our own country without either feeling inferior or superior towards other countries. And it’s really valuable.

So, well, I don’t know if this is motivating enough. But if you want something, then go for it. Don’t make excuses, make efforts. I wish you the best of luck. And, oh, don’t forget to love yourself. Fighting! 🙂

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