I'm Studying Abroad in the US

Why SHU was probably my best bet…

Late last summer, I packed my bags and flew halfway across the world to study abroad in the US.  So far, I think I’m having the time of my life.  Here at Sacred Heart, I’m certain I’m having a worthwhile college experience.

First off, a little bit about me. I’ll be honest, introducing myself here has been more complicated than that darn Art of Thinking class (actually, don’t hate the foreign kid, she happened to enjoy it quite a bit).  It goes a lot like this: “I’m from India but I grew up on this tiny desert island no one’s heard of in the Middle East and I somehow ended up here at SHU to pursue my college degree".  I now know the drill like the back of my hand.

I’m a pretty introverted person so when I was first thrown out into the wild here on my own, I was pretty nervous about getting around and meeting new people.  But adjusting to this new environment has been a breeze because of all the friendly faces and encouraging people who’ve crossed my path. (For the record, I still haven’t got sick of hearing “You’re an international student? OMG THAT’S SO COOL").

The other day, my roomie bombarded me with questions about being an international student here as we walked to the gym. I could go on forever telling stories but if I could narrow it down, here’s five things you could know about my experience so far:

1. Time-zones are the bane of my existence.

I’m always asked how on earth I manage to cope with being so far away from where I live and my family (a 15-hour flight to get home really does suck).  And I do miss my mom, dad and younger siblings every single day. But in all honesty, that isn’t even half the battle. Time zones…they’re the real pain.

I wake up every morning to see endless notifications from friends and family back home and around the globe only to get their reply to my reply the next morning. Real-time conversations rarely happen with my old folks. The struggle is real.

2. It’s cold here. Like really, really cold.

I’ll admit, I was warned. But when roughly 3% of your closet comprises winter clothing after having lived in and grown used to scorching desert climate all your life, you reeeeally need to step up your game before you freeze your butt off.

The plus side though? This past December, I saw snow for the first time ever and like any regular kid who’s only ever been through 90-degree weather, I. FREAKED. OUT. It was magical. (And how about those mesmerizing campus views?) Maybe the winter won’t be so bad after all.

3. Going to class is kinda fun.

Let’s be real. My endgame is graduating with a degree. Which is why I move heaven and earth to create a schedule full of classes I’ll optimistically, hopefully, probably like (just ask the Registrar, they’ve seen my face far too many times in the last two semesters).

I’ve taken some pretty great classes here so far (special shout-out to my ‘Intro to Media Culture’ course last fall that has me second-guessing my business major) AND have strategically managed to avoid 8ams which has translated into quite the positive learning experience. I honestly can’t complain.

4. Getting involved on campus is hands down, the best advice I was given.

RSAs, transition mentors, advisors, professors, you name them…all had one piece of advice in common that rang loud and clear: GET OUT THERE AND BE INVOLVED. I figured I should take it and can now definitely attest to the truth in that statement.

A lot of people don’t take advantage of the great clubs and organizations here on campus. Personally, I went to a high school where extra-curricular activities were pretty much non-existent so being a part of campus life here has made my college experience more interesting, well-rounded and FUN.

Green SHU park cleanup back in November.

5. I am living some of the best years of my life in the right place.

The answer to why I picked SHU isn’t straightforward; in fact, it’ll most likely take me four years to perfect the response to that question. But I have no doubt in my mind that I chose the right place to live out the next few years before I finally step out in hopes of making my mark on the world. Fun fact: the name of my high school was Sacred Heart School. This was clearly meant to be.

 

The past couple of months have without a doubt been life-changing; new place, new friends, new routine but most of all, new opportunities, experiences and memories that I look forward to with every ounce of excitement running on four hours of sleep and unhealthy amounts of coffee will get out of me.