I am an introvert. My uncles and aunts often describe my childhood self as “the girl who used to hide behind her mother”. I was quite shy and only comfortable around my immediate family and close friends.
When I was in high school, my older sister went to Wollongong, Australia to complete her undergraduate degree. She has always been a people’s person and loves making friends. Looking at her having a great learning experience there – both inside and outside the classroom – I had decided that I would also like to go study abroad.
After high school, I decided to join the University of Wollongong in Dubai, with the plan of doing the first two years of my Bachelor’s degree here in Dubai, and the last two years on the main campus in Wollongong. However, as time to go came closer, I started having my doubts.
“The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.” – Arnold Jean Palmer
This holds so true in my case. The thought of living away from the sheltered life my parents had made for me – from getting delicious, hot meals everyday to being taken care of when I fell ill – seemed scary and overwhelming. Let alone the thought of making new friends in a very different culture and environment. To top it, I had just started dating my husband then, and the thought of leaving behind this beautiful and special friendship was heartbreaking.
Finally, in the summer of 2002, the day arrived when I had to travel to Wollongong. While there, I did struggle initially and craved to come back. But I hung on and I think it was one of the best decisions of my life to have done so. I made few but some great friends there and learned to manage all aspects of my life by living alone. Living by myself gave me the confidence I needed, to achieve everything I have in the last 10 years.
I don’t think I will ever lose the introvert in me, but my time in Australia has made me a more confident person – socially and otherwise. I know I can achieve something if I set my heart to it and work for it. This would not have been possible if I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone and been strong enough to stick to my decision. Thanks, of course, to my family and friends who gave me the strength to do this for myself. Going to study abroad was indeed the biggest learning and most rewarding experience in my life.
This post is a part of the “Quote for thought” Blog Hop hosted by UAE Mom Bloggers. See more posts from fellow bloggers here:
The dilemma of Expat Parenting – Sand in my toes
Embracing the woman I am today – Cuddles & Crumbs