What changes when you study abroad?

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30 Kilos was all the allowance I had to carry my belongings when I boarded my flight from India to Germany. 30 Kilos to fill in the clothes I wore to the groceries I had to use to possibly ‘feel being fed at home’. From the currency I spent to the restaurants I visited. Everything was about to change. From the faces I saw every day to the way I moved about the city. A new set of rules to be wary about. Put in a nutshell, the whole way I had been living so far had to be flip-flopped. Awe filled thoughts were too intense to ignore. What was about to happen in the classrooms did not sum to much of a worry, whereas the outer world was the main part of the concern. Keeping in mind the countless things that were about to change, I was all set to take on the things that I was about to face. I must admit the contemplated metamorphosis did have some essence of excitement.

It was a couple of years ago I took this decision of coming to Stuttgart to do my Masters. With no intention of exaggeration, the decision has had a profound impact on the way I live. With career progression on one hand, a lot other things have evolved. So, before wasting any more words on the preface, let’s get straight to the point. Here we go!

You start exploring!

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Exploring becomes a part of your daily life. You start seeing or hearing new things almost every time you go out. Over a period of time, you kinda get used to it. Exploring becomes a part of you. The music you listen to, the food you eat, the places you go to. Everything is new for a long period of time. What could be more exciting than not to expect anything normal every time you go out. Particularly, in a city as international as Stuttgart, the chances just multiply as you meet people from across the globe and with them, a peek into their culture and food as well. And, of course, the Schengen visa makes traveling across Europe so stress-free, that every time you have enough money and time, you tend to travel owing to the excitement a new place holds. Never fails to disappoint! Every single time! After all, variety is the spice of life.

Your mind opens up! By Folds!

Our mind usually tends to create a boundary of veracity within! (Excuse the philosopher in me! He’s grim when I write) When we are at home or in an environment for a long time, the thoughts within the boundary seems like the eternal truth and we conveniently stick around to that and sometimes, going a step further preach it to others as well. Coming out of the cocoon shatters these boundaries and makes your mind open up to the world and to the facts (possibly the true ones!) that come along. One good example of this could be the way you drive. As long as I was in India, I was pretty much convinced that I was driving the right way and did not let anyone question me. My truth was what I knew. I started realizing the mistakes I had been committing after coming here. That was just one example. You actually tend to open up to many such things and eventually mend into being spot-on.

Money matters!

During my bachelors, all that I had to get money was a simple message to my Dad. I got the money credited in a day or two and months went by without appreciating the true worth of my Dad’s money. It was not the same anymore and I had to make every cent in my bank account count. A frugal lifestyle was on demand. Money management became a thing in my otherwise reckless life. I started looking for ways to make both ends meet. I now am able to appreciate both the ways of earning money as well as the money. In essence, you realize that money doesn’t grow on trees.

You start discovering the secrets of kitchen

This may not be true with those who do not give heed to the demands by the taste buds. I am a foodie and the situation was not helping at all. To add to the woes, my wallet was not supportive of the fact. I was in a pickle. The only way left was to sway the ladle or to kick the bucket. Having entered the kitchen succumbing to the needs of the stomach, cooking has become one of my skills I do not flaunt of in my CV. If you are reading this and studying abroad is on cards, consider this tip my gift, learning a to cook a couple of dishes goes a long way.

Your comfort realm unfurls… every passing day

Well, that holds true only to those who embrace change as it comes. We meet new people every day from a different background and with a totally different way of leading life. As you meet new people, as you see them look things in a different way, you may think, lemme give it a try. And as long as you keep an open mindset, you keep adding more to your bucket of “I have done that” and that makes your comfort zone wider and wider. You’ll realize this when you look back and realize how far you have come.

Career takes shapes you did not expect it to

Apart from all the fun, studying abroad itself is a major leap ahead provided your course is in line with your career goals. As you inch towards being a cosmopolitan (a true one!), the opportunities open up. If this happens to be your time for exploring your interests, that works fine as well.

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Because when you study abroad, you are basically mending yourself into being someone who fits into any workspace. The international market that you are exposed to also might have technologies that are not used in your home country. On the other hand, with all the time you get to explore the within, you may end up finding that exact thing you would love to do for making money. A 9 to 5 job, or a freelancing traveler, or an entrepreneur, or maybe get deep into researching something nerdy and at the same time, cool!

With all that preached, time to call it a read now! All those who are already here, I hope you agree with my notions. If you have more to share, comment below. And, finally, if you are reading this and thinking if you should study abroad, do it! There’s no time to think and all of this is so exciting!

 

Saleem

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