I still remember the first time I arrived in Australia. I got off the plane alone. There was this whole new world called Melbourne greeting me with its cold weather. It was June 2010 and the temperature outside hit 10 degrees Celsius. I was very unfamiliar with the place and to be honest, I was afraid. I would live in this place for the next three years. “Can I survive?” I asked myself.
I did. In fact, Melbourne has been such a pleasant place. I got to experience many cultures that I grew to love. I managed to survive; wait no; I managed to enjoy the past three years I have spent here in Melbourne. Indeed there were some hardships, but the gaiety greatly outweighs them. I am also changed as a person; for the better I believe. This journey has been a life-changing experience for me, and it is something that you can experience too.
Hence to you who would undertake this journey abroad, I am writing today. I am here not to give you advice on how to survive living abroad, but more on helping you to mentally prepare what should be a great pilgrimage for you in another country. You might experience fear and anxiety, which is normal, but remember, you are given the chance to experience a life you could probably never do back in Indonesia, so do not let it go to waste.
1. Who am I right now?
This is probably the first question you should ask yourself. Get to know who you are. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you like and hate? Knowing this will help you to shape and plan your future better. During your university life, you do not want to end up choosing a major you do not particularly like just because many of your friends are doing it. Believe me, you would not be able to enjoy your study and you would end up wasting your time and money. Do not conform; you are a unique individual with your own aptitudes and flaws. Do not give in to peer pressure; you are walking towards adulthood now. Taking control of your life begins from knowing who and what you really are.
2. What do I want to be?
This is the next question you should answer. What are your dreams and goals? Do they match your strengths? Do you think you can achieve it? You may hang your hopes high, but you have to be realistic at the same time. If you are not confident with your Mathematics skill, you might not want to consider becoming an actuary even though the job pays well. However, you should not also aim too low and end up taking a subject or a major just because you think it would be easy. Challenge yourself, but within certain limits. You might be surprised with how well you can do things you think you could not do. In other words, you might discover more about yourself. It is okay if you are not sure yet on what you want to be; you just have to keep trying to find that one thing that would motivate you to wake up and live life in the morning.
3. How can I achieve it?
Now it is time to start working on achieving what you want. You have to start somewhere. Studying abroad offers many opportunities you probably should not miss. Take chances when you have to, but be smart about it. You may have to adapt to the cultures there and your principles might be challenged, but remember to stay true to who you are. Do not give up trying. You are now stepping into adulthood, where things do not always come in an instant. Work hard to pave your way for the future and always remind yourself why you are here. Keep that in mind and keep moving on.
If you think that your journey abroad is only about pursuing formal education, then think twice. You are given the opportunity to start anew (sort of), with a blank canvas to be painted on with whatever you like. Remember that resolution you made that you want to improve yourself to be a better person? Or when you said that you wanted to do more in life? Hey, maybe this is your chance, so make the most out of it!