Phases of an International student
The motivation of an International student is not the same when you land and are learning to adjust in a foreign country, it is never constant but it’s going to move like a goddamn roller coaster. There are many ups and downs which you cannot escape. But if you are prepared and you are already aware of these ups and downs, you will indeed have the strength to make the decisions according to the situation. An International student life combines moments of extreme bliss, ecstasy with sudden changing thoughts taking us towards imaginable negativity but you got to note that it is temporary and you are scared of the suffering.
All I can is share my experience in words here and you can decide and design your own ideal state when you are at the exact same moment.
Phase 1 – Bang Bang Energy – Which you cannot control or understand
What is the thing that will make you succeed as a Happy International student studying in an unknown country, among unknown people, culture and possibly unknown language?
So, you have started your journey as an international student, everything is new and exciting. It feels like you are going to live your life, get settled and you might get a big job, work well and your life will be smooth like butter. Sounds like what you want to hear? It is a similar feeling just like starting a new relationship or learning new sports, everybody and everything is on cloud 9 as compared to previous things in your life. And it is by far better organized and the only thing you needed in your life. Give it some time and understand the pattern, it usually happens every now and then when you are starting a new project. It is a courageous step that you are taking actions and entering into your uncomfortable decision which is indeed the best decision of your life. But you got to learn to control the BANG BANG ENERGY PHASE to use to more effectively. Otherwise, it will drop.
Phase 2- You know but you still don`t know– You are John Snow (Phrase from Game of thrones if you are not aware of it).
You have studied, lived and enjoyed for some time in your new country, university, you understand the new country little better. But, unfortunately, it is still unclear. It is like the phase of teenage years are coming back. You don’t see yourself going in your desired or exact direction the way you planned before coming, you might have a mixed feeling either about the subject, place or anything around you. It is indeed the most common feeling and phase in International student life. This phase can get severe if you do not understand, it is part of the process for you to learn the importance of patience and living in an unknown zone.
Phase 3 – Deep hole of new problems – Visa problems, Money Issues, Jobs and other million things.
You are about to finish or you are in the middle of your International course and you have a crisis just like million other students. Since you don’t have money and the job that you desired to have before you came to a new country, you just cry in your heart. You think “it’s finished”. I have failed. The journey is not full of flowers, money, fancy food like you thought, in fact, you are struggling and working your butt off to ﬁnish a minimum work to meet your daily needs. It depends on what are your daily needs. If just 3 meals and can compromise until the whole process is finished to reach your desired goal. It is going to be just fine. Otherwise, you will feel that you have wasted a lot of time. Don`t let that thought enter your mind. You are learning to manage your administration work, learning how the new country works, learning how money works, learning to integrate into the new culture. All these things were completely new and it’s indeed hard to get used to them just in 1 or 2 years. Now you have this thought in your mind. Sometime later you will connect all these dots which are the starting points of something great.
So now you are aware of all the phases which you might go through in your International student life.
Understanding or having the idea about possible different phases that you might go through while you are in the abroad destination can prepare you for the coming unknown situations every now and then. What can keep you going during the long journey of an international student when nothing seems to work?
Some of your decisions will suck, you will screw up many things as a student in your relationships, academics, group activities, etc. It is all part of the process of being an International student and possibly you will have to redo everything involving your change in a social group, projects and even your course. There will be rejections both in the personal and professional life of an international student, you might struggle in integrating into the new culture either because of you or the people around you. It is the fate of an International student. Accepting these things as part of the process and normal will keep you on track. Moreover, if you are prepared beforehand, you will always find a way to channelize your anger or stress towards something more productive.
You will need this the most when you hit phase 3 of International Student life, aka the “Deep holes of new problems”. At that moment you might want to give up, it happened to me when I was in Spain. Some months I was in a negative mood, even though I had incredible friends, an amazing girlfriend, delicious food and I was living by the beach.
It was the project which I was enjoying to the most which raised many questions in my mind if I should stay in Spain and continue my project. What my parents are going to say? I am only worried about my parents especially my father, rest I don’t care about any single person in Planet Earth. But I made a call and make everyone understood my situation. Ofcourse, in this case, I had to take a step back but I still had to go through all these phases which I did with ease but not so gracefully. The lesson was very useful and if by chance I have to go through this phase again in the future, I am just going to go for a swim or a hike. For a fact, these situations are always there in an international student or immigrant life but if you let these phases take over your daily life, you will not produce any good work during the time.
At that moment, be aware of the 3 Phases of International Student Life. Do not quit and get stressed out but instead wait for a week or two to pass by before you take any stupid decision. Things will improve and you will reach new doors to open. You will soon see the clear pathway, moreover, you will have an amazing story to share it with your family and friends.