Study Abroad is Exciting, but….

This is a repost. Originally I posted it here

My adventure of being an international student started on Jan. 8, 2014. Oh wait, not really, it actually started months before that.

After living at West Liberty for about five semesters, I would like to share the “struggles” that I have been and still will be experiencing as an international student.

1. Home. Where is my home?

This sounds like an easy question, right? Of course, China is always my home, as it was and will be the place where I spend most of my time at, and also where my parent lives. But after living in America for roughly 2.5 years, can I consider it as home? Sure I do. I get my education here, I make new friends here, I go to church here, and I spend time with my host family here. It is my home. But wait a moment, what about China then? Well, that’s also my home. Maybe I should call this world my home.

2. Homesickness. You guessed it right.

By definition, homesickness is the distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home. When being on the absolute opposite side of the world from home, there is always this feeling of homesickness, I try not to mention it too often but it is there. Especially when it comes to Chinese New Year, my fellows on the other side are having a winter break. But I have to be in class and finish assignments. Those days are rough.

3. The many goodbyes…

You think the goodbyes at graduation are hard? Yes and no. While being an international students, almost always the last week of the semester are bitter sweet. It is either you are leaving the country, or your fellow international students are leaving the country. And it’s not simply a “see you later,” because you don’t know how long it will take until meet again for next time, it might be couple years or never. These are the hardest moments of being an international student.

4. Language barrier.

Although I have been praised from many people saying that, “Your English is so good,” but from the bottom of my heart, I clearly know that there is a lot for me to improve. I can easily get help at airport, bus station, or other occasions, I can also understand Sunday morning sermons unless the pastor gets over-excited about the topic and speaks too fast, then I get lost. But it still takes forever for me to decide what to order at a restaurant, because I have never seen those food names before, and I don’t know what they taste like! Going to a restaurant is always an adventure for me.

5. “It’s in the 70s” … um, is it hot or cold?

America may not be the only country that uses Fahrenheit to measure temperature, but probably not in the majority. While being an international student and you heard the weatherman saying, “Next week it will be in 70s,” although from the number you do guess its in Fahrenheit, but is it gonna be hot or cold? No idea, so you look up and see how it translates to Celsius.

Having a privilege to study in a different country and experience its culture can be expensive when measured by cost, but its value is more than that can be measured by amount of money. It doesn’t matter how long it takes and how complicated it might be to start, but once started, this adventure is more exciting than just hearing others talk about it. It is a way of living, it is life.


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