Student life is filled with challenges and ordeals of its own. You are expected to study, work hard, submit your work on time. There are so many more expectations imposed on you as a student, irrespective of your emotional stress.
Now imagine getting your degree in an entirely new place and country. I know it’s hard to fathom the troubles international students face. Several students travel thousands of miles to study at their dream colleges or in their desired fields.
They leave behind their family and friends, and they adapt to the new culture of a new country and atmosphere of that college. On top of those adjustments, international students must perform well to keep up with their grades and excel.
This journey of coping with multiple expectations and multiple adjustments can be very exhausting and overwhelming at times. However, friends who eventually become their family here help them to survive all these conditions with a smile on their faces.
Universities help international students to adjust and adapt to this entirely foreign place and give them support through international student organizations. ISU has one group where all international students meet occasionally and assure each other with immense amount of love and support.
International Student Leadership Council (ISLC) works towards assisting international students in every way possible. Their support is persistent and has been ongoing even during the unprecedented global pandemic.
Now I want you all to imagine the predicament of these international students, including myself. We must not only understand a new culture, but we also must understand the currency, the living style, living expenses and conditions.
For example, finding an apartment in India will be completely different than finding an apartment in United States. In India, we don’t have to sign a lease; we just pay two months in advance and have to inform the landlord two months before we vacate.
But in the U.S., we have to pay a deposit and sign a lease, and the rent changes according to the length of the lease. If your lease is for one year, then the rent listing will be different than if you sign a lease for six months.
So, to understand these policies and rules is a challenge in and of itself.
Let’s not forget the transportation conundrum that is difficult for people who live here as well. Understanding and using transportation facilities is not very easy or straightforward.
I agree that all these endeavors are same for all who relocate locally, but we must remember that international students are not just relocating to a different state, but an entirely different country.
So, the struggle is real on a whole other level.
Now, since we know all the general crises that international students experience, I want you to imagine the pains of a graduate student.
It’s not like international students get some special permissions to submit work late. They have the same deadlines, and they have to meet the same level of excellence and maintain GPA to uphold their visa status.
Even if their GPA drops below a 2.98, they will be under probation and have to recover their GPA by the next semester to keep their visa intact.
And some like to argue about why learning has to focus so much on grades instead of the skills, which is unbelievable. However, that is a discussion for another day.
Anyways, there are hundreds of issues that many are unaware because, from the outside, it looks like we got to travel to an entirely new country and are enjoying our holiday trip.
However, no one else is able to see through our painful journey as an international student working towards simply graduating. The struggle is real.
The only request to all my readers is to please understand our pain and be supportive because we see family in you.