Zawah's Odyssey: From Telangana To Tennessee, A Student's U.S. Tale

Zawah's Odyssey: From Telangana To Tennessee, A Student's U.S. Tale

Zawah shares her trials and tribulations of her journey as a foreign student studying in the U.S.

Zawah AliUpdated: Monday, January 29, 2024, 12:49 PM IST
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Zawah's Journey | Unsplash

I’m here to share my journey as a student in the good ol' U.S. of A. Buckle up, because the journey from India to the U.S. has been a rollercoaster full of twists, turns, and heartwarming surprises.

Let's jump right into the emotions. Imagine being the youngest child of the family, saying goodbye to your folks and home country – not exactly a cakewalk. But you know the drill – parents believe in you more than you believe in yourself! The cultural shock hit hard, especially watching my American buddies rock the solo or roommate life. Lesson learned: Independence is the game, and I've embraced it like a true champ.

Now, why the U.S. for higher studies? It's not just about the books; it's the academic exposure, networking opportunities, and the sweet cherry on top – flexible fees and scholarships! And did I mention the smorgasbord of universities? Diverse doesn't even begin to describe it. Every day feels like a cultural carnival, meeting people from every corner of the world. I'm the lone Indian in my course, but you know what? My lecturers have my back, and my classmates? They're curious about India – our movies, especially. Turns out, everyone's a Shahrukh Khan fan! Who would've thought Bollywood had such global appeal?

Tennessee - a green haven

The academic rollercoaster – online classes, self-study marathons, and presentations that could make your head spin. But you know what they say, hard work pays off, and it does! Right now, I'm soaking up the lush green vibes of Tennessee. Mountains, rivers, scenic trails – it's a nature lover's dream come true. And get this – it shares borders with not one, not two, but seven other states! I've networked with incredible minds, travelled to five states (and counting!), and attended conferences making strides in understanding South Asian mental health. It's a wild ride, and I'm here for every thrilling moment.

Living in Tennessee for a year has taught me a thing or two. Gun laws? Yeah, they're not the strictest. But here's the deal – know where to tread lightly, mind your business, and you'll be just fine.

Homesick

Let's talk about the feels – homesickness is real. But you know what helped? Opening up about it, reaching out to friends and family back home, and, of course, making use of those university counselling services. When it comes to challenges an Indian student faces is one authentic Indian food? Nowhere close to mom's magic, but are many Indian restaurants no matter which state you go. Accommodation game is another challenge. It's like a puzzle, but Facebook groups and WhatsApp groups saved the day. The living costs and expenses of Indian students are a whole lot of different ball games. Budgeting is my sidekick – bulk buying from Costco or Sam’s Club, student discounts, and hunting down the best deals online and offline, for example, Amazon membership, Apple, public transport, and movie theatres. Because let's face it, every dollar saved is a victory in the student life game.

So there you have it, my grand adventure from Telangana to Tennessee. It's been a journey of growth, self-discovery, and a whole lot of spicy curry cravings.

The author is a Master in Mental Health Sciences - Majoring counselling from the University of Memphis, Tennessee, USA

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