Why studying abroad is the best decision you will ever make?


Before I dive into digression, let me congratulate all of you on boarding one of the greatest journey train of life: The College Experience. I want to shout out for all the students embracing or currently enjoying academic studies in the foreign land. I will try to be as general as possible in this writing because I want to share some of personal points that I feel most of us can relate. I hope that you, fellow students, will find new spirit to move forward in your academic journey after reading this.

The decision of going to study abroad always comes with mixture of glint excitement and packed tense nerves. For most of us, this may be the time we will say goodbye to our loving family and the comfort of our warm cocoons we called home. Culture shock, different academic rigor and language barrier can be very daunting. However, my dear friends, I want to appeal to you that life’s journey is more than about getting enough. There goes a saying “A ship is safe in an harbor, but that is not what a ship is made for”. There is so much adventure out there in our big blue planet for us to explore and seven billion individuals for us to interact with. Just think of the possibilities! No matter how warm your home feels within, you are born to carve another wonderful world of your own.

Speaking about adventures, I am sure as teenagers or even young adults, we all have gone through a phase of frequent annoyance that our parents prohibited us from going into that awesome party or those night-outs with close friends. Trust felt like a scarce privilege and you couldn’t wait to flap your wings free. However, living away from home makes one realize that freedom does not sound so simple after all. The beauty of living independently masks an important life lesson that the given freedom always comes with a package of responsibility and consequences.

My dear friends, we will have our fair share of complicated situations and hard choices. This is even exacerbated when we live independently abroad. We are forced to trust on our instinct to make sound decisions – even snap judgments – at times. As daunting as it may seem at first, these are the golden opportunities of shaping your character and express your own persona. One of my favorite authors, Marriane Williamson, beautifully summed up this point in the phrases: “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure… As we let our own light shine, we subconsciously give other people to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Apart from my sentiments abovementioned, being away makes you appreciate many other feelings that you will never realize before. You will subconsciously miss the naggy, high-pitched ‘sermons’ from your mom and dad, even their routine advices ‘may’ surprisingly turn into a sweet music in your ears. You will learn that home is a place you want to leave growing up, but growing old wanting to go back to.

Yes, going home is a moment you will always look forward to. It is funny how counter-intuitive that we will enthusiastically Skyping (is this even a term?) with our family members about meeting them again after making a decision of traveling thousands of miles to pursue our academic passion. Squeezing in that chance to go back to gather around the familiar faces of old makes all the ticket bookings, several hours of seemingly endless journey, sore muscles in red-eye flights and jet lags seem to be a fair effort. But I guess that what makes life worthwhile. The journey of studying abroad is definitely a very humbling experience and makes reunion all the more delightful. It opens my eyes personally that the small things in life are the most precious.

So, my Indonesian friends in all corners of the world, I hope you are all enjoying whatever activities you are currently indulge in. I am extremely lucky to be given the opportunity to write in Indonesia Mengglobal as a columnist. I hope from this opportunity, I can reach out to you guys and share my two cents in surviving the study abroad. And of course, I would love to hear about your stories as well! My last piece of remarks: Carpe Diem! The world is for those who strive to make a difference.

Photo provided by Robert Gordon University Aberdeen

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Raymond Biondy Henka earned both his M.Sc in Technological Management in 2013 and B.Sc in Chemistry with minor in Material Science Engineering in 2012 from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He currently is the CEO of PT. Kharisma Semesta Hijau specializing in heavy machineries and several warehouse complexes in Jambi Province, Indonesia. Previously, he worked in Deloitte Ltd as associate consultant and journalist for the Strait Times Singapore during his stay in Singapore. An avid reader, his interest lies mainly in music, management system, investment and entrepreneurship. A passionate vocalist and writer, he enjoys good jamming session and composing lyrics with various musician friends during his down time.


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