We asked fourth-year international students, in the hypothetical situation that they could talk with their three-year younger self, which advice would they give themselves?
Everyone has difficult decisions to make, and as a first year international student, you actually have had quite a few difficult moments. In those moments, wouldn’t it have been handy to look into the future and ask your future self what the consequences of your decisions would be? Well, we tried the second best thing, and asked four students to give advice in retrospect. Not for themselves maybe, but any first- or second-year might think they’re advice is quite useful.
I was not sure if I was going to find friends, and be accepted for who I am
‘The advice I would give my younger self would be to think less about what the future will bring, to be less afraid of this uncertainty, and just follow my heart, my inner voice, which always knows what is right,’ says Egle, a design student from Lithuania. ‘I remember being a bit scared of how was I going to cope with living in a foreign country. I was not sure if I was going to find friends, and be accepted for who I am. I was constantly making different scenarios in my head what my life would look like. But it is actually way better than I ever imagined! After starting a new life abroad, I realized that everyone feels practically the same, every other international student was as scared as I was in the beginning. Realizing this helped me lose all my fears. Now thanks to my shifted mindset, I make friends easily and I emerge myself into a new culture. And this led me to amazing experiences.’
I found out that new opportunities, no matter how scary they may seem at first, will often lead to something amazing
So what if she would have known this three years ago? ‘I would have probably said: “Yes, yes, I know” and kept worrying, but at the same time that would have made me think, that maybe it wasn’t that scary and everything was just in my head. But it would haven’t caused a huge switch in my mindset. I think one really needs to go through some experiences to embrace its meaning. But right now, I am more open to everything in my life, and I found out that new opportunities, no matter how scary they may seem at first, will often lead to something amazing, something you can’t really predict!’
Going the extra mile means putting a bit of an additional effort into everything you do
‘Always walk the extra mile,’ is what Michaela, a Bulgarian Master student in Science in Business Studies, would have adviced her younger self. ‘I say this to all prospective students I have the chance to meet, because I wish someone would have adviceed me the same years ago. Why did I choose this advice? Because going the extra mile means putting a bit of an additional effort into everything you do. And this approach helped me make the best of my student experience, achieve good results, and kick start my career early on. In these years, I have adopted this mindset also in my personal life. Indeed, it helped me create genuine bonds and close friendships with other international students. Going the extra mile when it comes to friendship, means be really present when people need you, surprise them and make them feel they are honestly important to you. It is basically embracing the true meaning of the world friendship.’
Sometimes you can be depressed and think something is wrong with you
Daria, a third-year International Business student from Ukraine, would have adviced herself to not be so hard on herself. ‘It took me years to realize that it always takes you time to get used to the environment, the people, the language, everything. Sometimes you can be depressed and think something is wrong with you, it’s completely normal, so just give yourself time to adjust. Everyone is experiencing the same culture shock and is trying to create a group of friends. In my first year I was very much into studying and I was not that sociable, but now I am strongly trying to change this and open myself up much more. So to my younger self, I would just say: ‘Go to people because we are all equal, no one is better than anyone. And you should understand you can always contribute. So get yourself out of your comfort zone, cause something great could be waiting for you.’