On studying abroad

This month’s guest writer post is by a friend of mine who asked for this to be posted anonymously (but I’ve decided we’re going to call him J because I want to add in my own little comments), he does have a little bit of a strange personality so apologies in advance if this gets a little odd. The article is based on his experience moving abroad for the first time for university and on the lessons he’s learned so far, my comments are in green so you can differentiate between us two. We hope you enjoy!

SO! Studying abroad? quite a scary thought right, especially when the people there speak a completely different language to you, and you’re left staring at their faces + using google translate for more hours a day than you could ever imagine! (google translate is every international students’ best friend for the first year at least tbh)

Well, it really isn’t too bad… I’ve come across a quote/saying recently which is “motivation doesn’t come before an action, rather it comes after completing an action.” I guess this might be kind of out of context, but the way I’d apply it to this, is that, you’ll never really know the skin you build from moving away, until.. you move away? yeah, completely wrong use of the quote… 


So, here we are, at the airport, waving bye to the family and going through the whole airport process alone for the first time… damn I feel like an adult!

Completely fine and feeling a slight bit of excitement until we get halfway there and then good old homesickness kicks in… yeah, wasn’t expecting it this early… we’ll get into more details about my good friend ‘homesickness in a bit- BACK TO THE COOL STORY!

So, we land and we’re surrounded by other students with previous travel experience (from boarding schools etc..) just seems like a normal day for them, but for me, as soon as I heard the word ‘family’, or anything related to it, I found a weird lump in my throat.. (okay fine, I may have cried A LITTLE// (thankfully this is anonymous) (very much feel like exposing J now because there is absolutely no shame in men crying and admitting to having emotions!! Cry if it makes you feel better bls.)

To save you reading loads of paragraphs (*proceeds to type 10 more paragraphs*), I’m just going to put down a few points for you to understand how it’s like during your first few weeks:

  • Being completely lost
  • Not understanding a word people say
  • Homesick and a half 
  • Find it hard to adapt to a new culture

On the plus side though:

  • You find out new things about yourself (e.g. how important fabric softener is to your life)
  • Learn new skills
  • Develop a lot of independence 
  • Realise the fact that “yeah I’m gunna die alone.” I know it doesn’t sound like too much of a positive point, however, it really makes all of your other small worries that you may have been carrying along with you about people, feel pretty small.

There are many points which really vary from person to person and I guess you end up finding the real you? (yeah that was a bit deep.) (Rimz seconds this point but I’ll post about my own studying abroad experience at some point)

New Friends 

Okay I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit of an introvert, which is good for my studies in a way, but bad for socialisation when you’re around people you’ve not met before. Having a good friend or a few friends (actually this boy basically has no friends) who are positive and have ambition can really help you focus on the reason why you’ve moved there in the first place, you have an unspoken feeling of comradery and feel a huge sense of brother/sister-hood whilst with them (all brotherhood in J’s case). You sometimes find yourself imagining bumping into these people after you return and reflecting on all the memories you’ve made together! (I did say he’s a little strange..)

The New You

Half-way through your first year, you start to see changes in yourself, changes on how much care you give certain things and I know it might sound a bit bad… but changes in how much you care about people??? I guess you kind of realise that you didn’t really need another human throughout the biggest days in your life and the only thing that really got you through was faith in Allah and you becoming an INDEPENDENT MAAACHINEE!! trust me, you feel sick… (sick in the good way for all those who are reading this and are older than 30) (J did however also physically feel sick from all the takeaway and never cooking) 

You find yourself thinking…

I guess this is kind of what I needed, a fresh start? I have different interests; I feel mature and I feel like I’ve got a different skin? It gives you a confidence to take on new challenges in life and you believe in yourself a lot more! The reliance you used to have in people becomes a “yeah okay, it’d be helpful if you could do this… but if not… cool. I can do it myself dude.”

I WON’T KEEP THIS TOO LONG- although I know you’re probably thinking, damn, “how doesn’t this person have books, THE BEST WRITER EVER”… yeah guys, I kinda think the same sometimes, but don’t worry, when I have some time on my hands, I’ll start in sha Allah.. (I know you thought that was a joke, please grow up, this is adult stuff) (to give you guys context… this guy has a thing for books.. a little obsession if you will)

Anyway dudes, do I recommend moving away for a while? well yeah.

Please excuse my spelling and grammar (rimz went through and corrected actually), I’ll be honest, not my strongest point (wow a self-burn- those are rare)(basically only wrote this bit because J knew I would be mean to him otherwise). Other than that, hope you have cool lives dudes.. 


one of the duas that really helped me get through tough times whilst going through this was:

Yā Muqallibal-qulūb, thabbit qalbī `alā dīnik

O turner of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion.

Other than that, guys (and girls??), thank you for taking the time to read this! ADIOS!!! or as I should be saying// Assalamu Alaykum dudes *Hashtag* Spread the salam- (sorry I haven’t figured out how to get the hashtag on my laptop yet)

(I decided to leave this unedited, so you get what I mean about his odd personality loool)

– Anonymous (yeah I know you’re burning to find out who the writer of this amazing article was, however…)

(I thought it’d be cool just to leave you on however! bye for real now!)

السلام عليكم ورحمةا لله و بركاته 

Okay so, I hope you guys enjoyed that and maybe took away some sort of benefit as well. Overall what J was really trying to say was that moving abroad will push you and change you and help you grow as a person and help you find out who you really are. It teaches you things that you wouldn’t be able to learn in such depth otherwise. As most of you know, I also study abroad (in a different country to J though) so I will be coming out with a whole studying in Bulgaria series at some point in shaa Allah.


2 thoughts on “On studying abroad

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: