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UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Life and challenges of an international student at UMass Boston

I remember stepping out of Logan International Airport and feeling that chilly breeze just grazing my face. I was lucky enough to be received by family and was taken to Target and Costco to buy my essentials and was dropped at my off-campus apartment. At this point, my journey as a completely independent adult had begun, although I had no idea. Maybe you, just like me, had never stayed away from your home with the comfort of being surrounded by your family and loved ones; juggling your assignments and emotions at the same time can be quite the challenge. I was honestly quite pampered with home-cooked meals and plenty of interaction from my family and friends, and even had a car of my own to get around places. But in a new country, we may feel we have limited resources and even less time to deal with all of these. But once you get into the groove of a beautiful new independent life, it does get easier—and I mean a lot easier. Life suddenly feels like a lot more than the comfort zone we just stepped out of.
Some may be financially fit, but some may have taken a loan for their studies, and it seems like each meal counts as money would be limited. But someone very dear to me had once told me to never compromise on the essentials and life will find a way to pay you back in the future. And it has almost always worked that way—provided, I had to work for it. All these issues can be successfully addressed as technology can help us keep in touch with our families back home, and even help us solve the most complex problems. Even limiting our external expenditures and purchasing from grocery shops like Trader Joe’s, a personal favorite of mine, could save you quite a lot of money while you eat fantastic food. So, no compromise. One challenge you may have a really hard time facing could be the new company you keep. Staying with people are who not like-minded and share the same ideals could potentially put a dent in your mental health, and I would recommend scoping the type of people before moving in. No amount of money is worth your peace of mind. If you don’t like something, walk away from it. You have more important things to do.
But one very important factor is the university itself. Every time I step into the university I can completely forget about every problem as the opportunities and activities are just endless. I like to spend some time with my professors after class discussing what needs to be done next week, and they do appreciate your interest and are more than happy to help out on the spot—except if they have somewhere else to be. This may sound extremely cliché, but I would say just go to university and you actually will be occupied enough to forget all the other stuff. I spend most of my time at the university and only come home to cook and sleep. I put on my AirPods and study at the university—as nobody tends to disturb me—and I can always take a break by the cafeteria and maybe even throw in a gym session to sharpen my senses. It is all about how one breaks down their day and wants to spend their time. I encourage each and everyone to make the best of it.
I can firmly conclude by saying that UMass Boston is my home for the next two years of my graduate studies and I cannot be happier. For all the ones away from their homes, you are in more than absolutely good hands, and making use of the opportunities will go a long way in shaping your future. Challenges will come and go, but experiences are only once. If you have a good one, you will remember it for the rest of your life. Let nothing get in the way of achieving your goals and dreams. I hope this puts a smile on every person reading this, and remember: You are you and that is your power.