University

10 things you only relate to if you’re an international student

international student, student, backpacking, college, university
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

When you’re a university student, away from home, things are always a little hard to get used to. Learning to wake up early for those 9am lectures without the alarm- your yelling mother- that comes with home, surviving off microwave meals, and making new friends. All hard right?

Now, if you’re an international student, you come with all these problems, plus being a million miles from home (not literally, of course!)

Here are ten things that every international student can definitely relate to;

The unbounded joy in finding someone else from the same country as you

When you in another country, getting used to the culture, language, food, and weather, takes an incredible amount of effort, and it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who feels that way. So finding someone else who feel exactly the same way as you, is like finding treasure!

Starting conversations with the phrase “Back home…”

It doesn’t matter if its positive or negative, every international student has started at least one conversation that makes some sort of comparison. Often starting with phrases like, “Back home…” or “It’s so different to…”, these conversations can range from talking about food, the music in your country to the differing sociopolitical situations in your current country to your home country.

The food just isn’t good enough!

It doesn’t matter how culturally inclusive your host country is; with the best cuisine on offer. It’s just not the same as the food back home. Something is always missing! Rumour has it, the missing ingredient is a mother’s love, but that’s unconfirmed as of yet!

 Speaking nonsense in your native language, knowing no one around you will understand

When a group of people speak the same language, it’s like you’ve turned completely shameless. We can talk about everything and anything, simply because others won’t understand. Can you blame us though?

We’ve been speaking a foreign language for so long,  we’ve forgotten to speak in any other language. Massive relief, we haven’t, but always good to keep talking just in case we forget later!

International festivals celebrated in your host country

Yes, yes, a bit mean, we know. It’s not that we don’t appreciate it, it’s actually great, and we are always excited for it, but it just feels different.

It’s not you, it’s totally me!

When you understand an accent different from yours

You understood what the barista at the coffee place said to you? Highlight of your day, suddenly this country totally feels like home.

The mispronunciation of your name, and general acceptance

Malvika? Mal-vee-ka? Ma-laa-vika? Well, it’s all the same, isn’t it?

I’ll respond to anything because A+ for effort after all, right? We do genuinely appreciate the effort people put into getting your name exactly right, so what if they enunciate the wrong syllable once in a while?

Falling ill, and subsequently, homesickness follows

Everyone is cranky when they’re under the weather. For international students, falling ill means realizing that you need to look after yourself.

There’s no mum to turn to, the doctor probably isn’t your family doctor either, and you can’t really go back home to recuperate. So it’s understandable, if suddenly just absolutely everything around us.

We’re sorry, please still our friend, when we recover from this cold, that never goes away!

Having your family come visit

When you haven’t seen your family – beyond terribly glitchy Skype calls – for months, the thought of seeing them is the best possible thing. You’re beyond excited to see them in person, show them around, and showing off how independent you’ve become.

Just need to clean up your room, don’t want them to think you’re living in a bin.

Meeting people who make a home away from home

Living so far away from home is hard, but look around and you’ll be sure to find people who will make you feel like you’re right at home.

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