Published: 26th September 2022
Coach Calling: To pursue education abroad or not — if that's the question, these tips might help
Always remember the endgame and WHY YOU ARE THERE. Focus on your goals and do your best to not stray
Pursuing an education abroad is not just an aspiration, but is also quite an exciting chapter in the lives of many students. The pandemic had disrupted our lives to such an unimaginable extent that it was impossible to go out of the house to even buy basic necessities, forget about going abroad for studying.
Now that things are slowly getting better, it has enabled many universities abroad in different countries open their doors to international students. The surge in Indians travelling abroad has led to many challenges like the delay in visas, accommodation issues and so on. It doesn't end here, there are many other challenges and uncertainties that students have to ensure and face when they're abroad. If you've read my last week's column, you'll remember that war was one such horrific uncertainty that Indian medical students had to face in Ukraine.
What are the factors to consider before going abroad for studying?
It was my dream too! Studying abroad. But maybe I really didn't put in too much effort as I was quite hypocritical when it came to this. I WANTED TO STUDY ABROAD, but the life I had built here had too many factors that were tying me down. If these factors mentioned below don't affect you, then it's half the battle won.
Money makes the world go around...or in this case, is required by you to go around the world!
I wasn't ready to make my parents borrow, take loans or stress them out with extra commitments which would have led them to either compromise or sacrifice in any aspect of their lives. Hence, the first piece of advice I have for all students is to ensure that their parents have enough financial resources or disposable income that will enable them to lead a comfortable life even after taking care of all your expenses.
Homesick or sick of home?
There are two types of people, in my opinion, those who have the tendency to get homesick very soon and those who are sick of staying at home and want to explore. I belong to the former and just couldn't stay away from my parents, but if you're confident of managing yourself or belong to the latter, you'll be able to manage.
Mr Popular = Mr Safe & Sound
I had acquaintances and friends in almost every nook and corner of my city. This ensured that I was pretty safe most of the time and always had someone whom I could depend on in case of any emergency. Going to a place where I didn't know many people gave me quite the jitters. I was pretty confident that I could easily make friends, but even that, is a completely different ballgame when compared to the place that you're born in and a place which considers you an outsider.
Pro Tip: It's always better to reach out to all your close and genuine contacts to enquire if they have any family, relatives or well-wishers in the place where you're going to study. This sounds like common sense, but why do I say it's a pro tip? Because we generally only stick to family but don't put in the extra effort to reach out to people in our network. And experience has taught me that in times of need, we get help from the most unexpected people.
Health is wealth but out there... Health needs wealth
We have a range of options, references and one contact or another for our medical needs here at home. But abroad, though things are developed and you might receive excellent healthcare... home is always home. Yes, there's insurance, good infrastructure, responsible doctors and so on. But having a family to take care of us and to manage alone or with friends isn't the same. So ensure that you take all the required vaccines and carry a medicine bag from here which has all medicines you might need as a precaution
Please ensure to fill out all details and activate the ICE (In case of Emergency), medical information and emergency contacts on your phones. It is essential and used more often than you think. Do your best to put in a local contact or two rather than all of those at home as it only makes them more tense during an emergency as they're HERE in India and feel even more helpless.
Focus on your goal, avoid every foul
Always remember the endgame and WHY YOU ARE THERE. Focus on your goals and do your best to not stray. One main issue that I see is the party culture that youngsters adapt to as there's no one to supervise or because the nightlife, culture and chance to meet strangers excites them. This along with the urge to do drugs only to get ADDICTED is a REPETITIVE experience that I face in my clinical practice.
Giving in to this kind of lifestyle not only has made many parents lose all their money that they had mobilised for their child's education, but also leaves them heartbroken when they run from pillar to post to get their young ones treated. So my appeal to all those embarking on a journey to fulfill your academic adventure is to have fun, and party responsibly but party hard and you'll be caught off guard.
Irrespective of whether you plan to stay back, or return to our land...always remember that you began this journey to either look after your folks well, look after yourself well or both. You need to be as responsibly SELF-DIRECTED as you can be and it's an immense responsibility. I pray that you have a wonderful time, are safe and somewhere hope that you come back and make our country better thereby stopping the BRAIN DRAIN.
With Regards and wishing you all the very best for your future endeavours,
Adarsh Benakappa Basavaraj