The decision to study overseas was life-changing and one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. It wasn’t easy to be alone in a foreign country, adjust, adapt, find a job and pay for studies, but there are no regrets. In this post, I want to focus on the advantages of studying abroad based on my own experience.
Discovering the potential
One of the reasons why I came to Cyprus for studies was a desire to discover my potential. I didn’t know what I am capable of when being on my own. I have never left my family and homeland before except for some short holidays at relatives’ in Russia. I have traveled to Greece and France but these trips were with a group and my parents. I was wondering what could I do if no one is near to support and protect?
Cyprus became a great school. I learned to ask (I hated to do that back home), I realized that I could work as a waitress (in Armenia I would never consider it), I understood that waking up at 6 am, changing two buses to get to work, then doing the same to get back to university at 8 pm for classes until 11 pm is possible even for me ( I hate early mornings).
With 2 euros a day I considered myself rich, there were days I ate once only, I was about to lose a roof over my head. I realized that I am capable of knocking at the doors of the shops, cafes, asking for a job. I learned to talk to the finance department of the university asking for an extension since I couldn’t pay my tuition fees on time. I was able to make new friends, learn a new language, get a job because there was a goal: to complete studies.
There were many nights of crying, but there was not a single day of regret. That’s when I knew I was doing everything right.
So many problems in our life are caused by having the wrong stereotypes. Traveling, communication with people from multicultural background open up our minds. I am so grateful, that during my studies in Cyprus I have met people from all over the world. I could chat with Africans, Nepalese, Indians, Europeans, Asians, with some we became friends. So many of my stereotypes were broken in a split of a second.
I think that getting rid of the stereotypes made me a better person. I learned to see a HUMAN, not a race, not a color, not a straight or a gay. During our combined projects that we had to do for studies, we learned about each other’s countries, cultures, exchanged ideas. I realized that they also had some stereotypes about Armenia. It is normal because most of the times we are not the ones to blame for having those stereotypes. We were brought up so or were told specific things. However, we can do whatever depends on us, try to travel and learn about foreign countries and cultures as much as possible.
Becoming responsible and organized
As I said, I am making conclusions based on my own experience. Many students are having a lot of fun, or at least their life is easier when parents can help financially. I didn’t have any scholarship, my family was able to pay for the first semester of my studies after that I had to take care of myself. I knew that from the beginning. Even when I spoke to mom and dad, I assured them that I was doing great, they didn’t know about any of my troubles; there was no point because it would just add them worries and that was the last thing I wanted.
I don’t say that my student years were not fun. I met many interesting people, made friends, as all the students we were attending parties, discovering new places. It is just at the same time, I had to study, work, pay for studies and rent. This required some organization skills. I was responsible for myself. This was new since I was a mommy’s girl, never was on my own before. My biggest fear before going to Cyprus was that I didn’t know how to use a washing machine 🙂
My 2 years MBA program was stretched to 4 since I could pay only for 3-4 classes per semester, not more. I graduated, found a job, made great friends, learned a language, got Cyprus citizenship along with existing Armenian one.
I am not encouraging you to go abroad and study without money. I just want you not to fear and don’t give up on your dreams.