Life Of An International Student In The UK
Every year thousands of students flock to the UK in search of better opportunities and higher education. In 2009, I was one of them. Though I had come for the latter. Since my arrival here, in this majestic and wonderful island, I have had an exciting and challenging university life. My early days in the university were no different than others, who had come from other parts of the world. I was spellbound by the minute changes in my life, which was occurring in my everyday experiences. The everyday rigour of English language was the first obstacle which I was encountering. I am not accepting that I was challenged by the language, however, I had a pre-conceived notion that the UK has one language which was English. But that was not supposed to be. English was served to me in a variety of dishes, I mean, the language had different accents, which initially were hard to grasp. It didn’t take much time for me to cross my first obstacle though. Thanks to the BBC, English Premier League, Geoffery Boycott and of course, Freddie Flintoff. They are household names in India. With familiarity in language and accents, there was familiarity of people and places. The once hostile moments (ignorance of people and their origins, accents etc.) were now welcoming and hospitable.
I never imagined life would be so challenging and yet exciting in this new land. The most interesting part of experience in the UK was the fact that, despite knowing so much about this land, especially through books, media and movies, there was so much to be explored. The UK didn’t end with Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland. It however was just the façade, which people like me from other parts of the world view in a jiffy. The UK is more than that. It is more than the Stonehenge of Wiltshire in England, and the Buckingham Palace. The sheer variety of people, culture, traditions and religion would enthrall any new comer here. The establishment of various societies and associations propelled by their respective communities and cultures has added teeth to the cosmopolitan nature of this great land. Until now I had heard only India could boast of a multicultural society. If there is a second country, then it is the UK. In the developed world it is the only one.
Well, I am sure, by now every reader of this page would be wondering, whether I am from the UK or India? Courtesy, my afore-mentioned lines. These lines are accompanied by some truth. They are as follows.
Firstly, never before in my life, did I make the best of friends (British and Indians), so quickly, as I did here. The sheer multiculturalism of this land, caste away all my fears of being an alien to a new society and culture. The very thought of home-sickness and loneliness disappeared from my mind, and life came out be a bliss a midst the chaos of competition and challenges. It was this bliss that I was seeking since a long time.
Second, while the university life opened up new avenues for me to explore in terms of my career, the life outside university gave a new dimension to my social life. The robustness, the go-getter attitude, and the never say die spirit of the people here taught me a new lesson. I had only imagined myself as a student in the beginning. However, watching eighteen year-old kids, balancing work and studies and up to some extent play and party, instilled a new enthusiasm in me to do the same. I too began working, and yes, of course, party. The ‘social’ in me was born and I am sure it will never die.
With work, began, from what I imagine, my independence and my carefree attitude. I had become a manager of my own life, a bad one though. How? Here is the explanation. I no longer depended on my parents pay checks. However, the nitty-gritties of everyday expenses was taking a toll on me. I was becoming a spendthrift, not saving for a rainy day. Soon I realised, the value of hard-earned money. I was catapulted back to my childhood memories, whenever I faced financial crunch. My father was a saver. Although, he would heed to my slightest demands (that’s typical of an Indian family having only one son), but he would make sure that I learn the rules of the game. He would make sure that I value and respect his hard earned money. Hence, I used his teachings in my money management and became a good manager from a bad one. Of course! Some things have to be imported from India. So, I brought these values and teachings of my father. Well, they were loading my bag with home-made pickle while coming to the UK, but I refused. Pickle would have finished by now, but those teachings and values would remain life-long.
Life is more beautiful now. I am equipped and armed to face any challenges of this world. At one hand, I am in the company of one of the finest human beings of this world; on the other I am carrying the teachings and values of my parents. There can be no better moment than this. These feelings always compel me think positive, no matter how low or negative I feel, or how bad my day goes. The compositions of positives in my life far outweigh the negatives, and that makes me happy and blissful. That blissfulness does not end here. I make sure that I make the best use of mind and body by exploring the beauty of the nature, which is in abundance in the UK. I recently visited the Scottish Highlands, the Edinburgh Castle, the city of London, Wales, beautiful Northern Ireland and many more places. I was spellbound and mesmerized by the sheer beauty and liveliness of these locations. I feel so lucky to have come here and learn from both the people and the Mother Nature. I feel every university student; especially the foreigners in the UK should explore the UK, and learn from, the people, their cultures and the nature. I await a better future. If it would not come, I will bring it, make it, and make it the best.