Anxiety While Studying Abroad

in #travelfeed5 years ago

I have been meaning to write about this for a long time now. 

About three months ago, even before opening my Steemit account, I had one of the saddest days in my life. I was at a coffee shop, trying to eat up regardless of my lost appetite and trying so hard not to burst in tears. The waitress brought a plate with milk tart in it, telling me that it was from the woman two tables from my seat. The woman who sent the milk tart said "You look really sad, I don't know what to do but I hope this helps". That small favor was the reason for a huge emotional outburst for me.

Three months ago, my life took a turn of events in a very unexpected way. Someone valuable who took up a huge part of my life just slipped out of my hands. That was the moment my anxiety struck me the worst, bombarding me with many question marks. I felt so lonely all of a sudden: "I can't tell my parents, they will not approve it", "I can't ask help from my friends, they are probably busy with their own problems", "What if I go crazy if I stay on my own", "Where can I go?", "How will I go to the school tomorrow?", "How will I continue my studies?". These questions merges and turned into an abomination that took over my brain that could no more think rationally. All I was able to do was weep at that moment.

When I first moved abroad to Cape Town, I would always imagine my life getting better and better ascending on a straight line. I never imagined getting slammed into brick walls at times and collapsing into a local minima.

My new life in Cape Town has facilitated an environment where I could freely discover myself. With that, would come consequences. Sometimes I am happy for this developed version of myself, but sometimes I look at myself from a distance and fear that I have alienated myself from my old values in an irreversible way. Yes, change is scary.

There are times that we feel our problems are unprecedented. Especially students trying to make a living abroad will learn it the harder way.

Not having the support of your parents is the worst, especially if you know that you are doing nothing to disgrace them regardless of their claims and that you are being a hard-working, conscious, self-aware person. Trying to convince them is like pulling teeth. Those are the time you feel completely alone and abandoned.

Financial problems are also struggle-causing for students abroad like me. It can be so exhausting to worry whether one will be able to pay the next month's rent, all the while comparing oneself to other people of the same age group living much more comfortably just because their field of interest pays them more.

At those times, the Cape Town that I find dazzling becomes very daunting. Anything would be enough to annoy me, from cars not slowing down for pedestrians to the shuttle not arriving on time or the girl who makes noise while typing on the keyboard.

What I find in these moments to be the best solution is to try and reach out. Talk to people. I can't tell you who to talk to because we can't choose our family and how they will perceive our problems, or our friends may not emphatise with us. But a friend of mine once made a very good resemblance of a problem to an oil drop in a glass. When we talk to other people, we start filling the glass with water. When it starts flooding out, it will also drag the oil drop away eventually. When you talk, you will realize how you can look at the issue as an outsider as you hear your own voice as if that of a narrator.

One thing I can also recommend is, find the counselling service at your university, they will help you for free (as far as I know, it is free at UCT). The universities take great care in the well-being of their students, especially the international ones. As pragmatic as it sounds, the overall well-being of the internation students is one of the major indicators of the success of a university.


What do we think of the people whose posts we see on social media all the time? Judging from what we post here or on Facebook or Instagram, it seems as if we all these flawless lives. I would get comments from people with a false perception of my life. I can guarantee from my first-hand experience that it's not how it seems. Social media is the tip of the iceberg. 

Anywaaaay, I just wanted to share my general thoughts and concerns in a very irregular way. There are still things I need to resolve for my short term problems as well as the long term ones. Maybe I will write about them in the future, let's see.

Cheers everyone!



Hope you are feeling better, and glad that you are reaching out for counseling.

Great advice @haritakurdu! hope you are following it yourself :) You are never alone in this world. Turn outward to find answers. Peace my friend

This post was shared in the Curation Collective Discord community for curators, and upvoted and resteemed by the @c-squared community account after manual review.

Life is never easy, sometimes writing things down help to clarify areas you are battling in. Stay strong!

We can all only try to do our best, one day at a time.

@haritakurdu I really hope other students will read this. I also had a harrowing life, but the lessons must be learned and the anchors of the past has to be lifted! Reach out and speak out seems to be the answer and you seem to be on the right track my friend! Blessings!

A huge thanks to everyone who commented on my post, I am obviouly doing much better compared to three months ago :)

I know the difficult you faced however we are never completely alone even if we so far from our country . I tell you as my learning experience living alone in Poland, India and Australia. Plus nowadays the technologies helped to keep on touch with our dears. Overcome the difficulties make us stronger. Anyway Hope you are feeling better

It is tough when you try to walk your own path and things that are so different to those who are not used to it (your family as is the case with me also). I have done things that are so far away from "normal", like travelling on my own and joining tour groups, faced the inevitable resistance and it's mental torture.

Being with others who have similar motivations to you and want to do something with their lives are who you need to surround yourself with. Getting confidence only comes with experience and you have had experiences that most others will never have. Use what you have already been through in your life to increase your own confidence and always talk to others with a like mind and situation. Hopefully this will help with the anxiety.

Thanks for sharing your personal story. Let's not talk about social media as it creates many a psychological dilemma of its own...

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