I have always wanted to live and study abroad, yet the comfortable life that I had back home, held me in making it happens. Until one day, I decided to step out from my comfort zone to pursue my childhood ambition, and I’m so glad I did.
Sometimes catching dreams are like catching illusions. We tend to picture all the pretty things that could happen and ignore all the ugly parts of it. Pursuing a Master’s degree overseas is no different. It does look promising with the shimmering hopes and opportunities, yet it scares me. Going a thousand miles away, saying good bye to the life I have always known back in Indonesia. Should I settle with the lifestyle that most girls of my age have? Get a house, a husband, and kids? I know, it might sound strange to you, but it is a common practice in Indonesia for women to get married at such a young age. Sure, it will be easier for me to just go with the flow and get settled. Yet the fear of missing one-of-a-kind opportunity and the regret that may arise in the future for not taking this chance, drive me to break the cultural-stereotype and taking the leap of faith on this new adventure – hoping to transform myself for a better me at the end of the journey.
Nothing compares the feeling of leaving your loved ones behind and stepping into the unknown. With all the anxiety built inside me, I distracted myself with the constant research on where I wanted to go and apply to some of the most prestigious universities in UK. Yes, I did apply to more than one university since I have no idea what to expect and try to increase my odds. I was really grateful when The University of Manchester wrote to me with my unconditional letter, and so my journey at Manchester started.
Still, the nervousness of leaving the life I have back home still haunted me, especially since I have never been anywhere in my life. Thousands of thoughts rushed into my mind. What if I don’t belong there? What if I don’t have any friends? What if I miss home? And many other “What If’s” that gave me more anxiety as the day of my departure approached.
Yet, here I am months later, feeling happy, grateful, and full of excitement. Learning new things every day, meeting new people, doing things I have never been before. It has only been 3 months of the academic year, yet I have learned so much, even beyond what the classes have thought me. What makes present-me, and 3-month-ago-me different is on the mindset. The moment I arrived at Manchester, I promise myself to stop being too afraid of anything, and to make the most of my time here.
This mindset has helped me to make a lot of wonderful friends that come from all over the world, do stuff that I have never done like skydiving and join activities that enrich my experience. With time, I realise what makes studying abroad wonderful is not just from the prestigious degree that you will get, but the self-transformation journey that you can have as long as you are brave enough to leave your comfort zone behind.
If you are too afraid to take risks, because of how uncertain your life can be, well, aren’t we all? But that’s the beauty of life, isn’t it? We are all in the same boat, stumbling through series of events that take us to exactly where we should be. Stop saying ‘what if’s’ and do not let the fear, insecurity, or social pressure get the best of you. You will be amazed on where this crazy ride called life, may take you. Cheers for all the courageous dreamers out there.