I have completed 1 year now (kinda like my first anniversary living abroad) outside India. The journey embarked on 2 October 2013 has now been going strong full of fun and enthusiasm and there is no stopping it. And without any doubt this has been one of the best experiences and decisions i have ever took in my life. Looking back at the past one year and the experiences and things i have learned , i realized that i should definitely write a post about why studying abroad has made me what i am today. A completely changed man !!
If you are from a country like India where you have to live under the shadow of parenthood from the moment you are born and at least till the moment you marry (unless if you study or work in some other place but still this is not possible until you turn 17 or 18 and its actually pretty rare) you will realize how awesome or how troublesome(for some) it can be travelling abroad. People or students usually don't travel around much outside India or even in India the trips are usually taken with parents or some family member (of-course you go for trips with friends but still it doesn't last long and still parents are to be informed). And yes its not applicable to only Indian students but it happens all around the world(albeit more in India or other Asian countries for sure). So many students actually dunno what real life experiences are or what is the culture in other countries or how people are. Heck India is a culturally diverse country and every state is a foreign to another and there is no doubt even travelling around in India can be quite a hectic challenge sometimes. but there are lots of similarities and scenarios which are pretty much common throughout the country (right from taking a bus ticket to shopping etc). and even if there is a language barrier throughout the country (mostly in south and northeast since Hindi is not spoken much in these places) there are lots of people throughout the country who can speak Hindi and English.So its an entirely different scenario travelling and living abroad and in India and travelling and living in foreign(and particularly in a country where the language you speak is not spoken like Germany and most of the countries in Europe). So in this blog post I am gonna discuss or I mean I will just point out some of the changes which happened within me and why i think i am better than before (even though there are lot and lot of betterment necessary in me and maybe some things have changed in me which people think are not good and actually have made me worse :P )
It made me very open and friendly from the guy i was back in India
Well in India , I was not into making many friends maybe because i did not like the attitude of the few i met and i had many awesome friends anyway. I was quite open to them and was pretty much straightforward about stuff. But still never had the opportunity to go to parties , meet a lot of people and make a lot of friends just like that. There were usually no social gatherings or meetups which are typical here and in other countries all the time and usually the college tours was the only way to meet some new people ( but again the other people or students have to be open and friendly and Indian culture just doesn't allow that to happen in a free and easy way). But yes my best friends are still Indians with whom I have been in contact for 8 years now and I just love them very much.
|I could make friends easily and talk with Locals|
It made me independent and I realized my responsibilities
Well of-course i had to cook my own food, take care of the room, take care of clothes, shop stuff for myself, schedule everything and learned to procrastinate stuff a bit less( but still i do it quite often since i am a lazy douche). This the first time i started spending money from my own pocket earned from my own job and the joy it gives me is just immense.Even though i am a bit careless when it comes to money and I lament it quite often but still at least its not the hard earned money of my parents (now that i think of it , i will spend it in the same way even if it was from my parents but still happy that its my hard work which has given me the power to earn my bread outside :) ) Also it gave me the power to try things which were not possible due to no income and yes money is power sometimes.
|Kebab Pizza quite a handful|
.It made me open to many other activities and sports
In India all I did ever was meet my friends during weekends, or watch movie with them or play cricket or do a bit of jogging and exercising. Pretty much nothing unusual happened in weekends. It was monotonic and pretty much nothing was planned beforehand. Now during weekends I travel , plan or go for meetings or meetups, cook dinner with loads of people and have fun watching football or rugby. I realized how cool it is to drink beer and believe me there is nothing wrong in it ( research actually suggests beer is good for health and increases lifespan). and even though i am not suggesting people to drink beer, just wanted to tell you people its fun to drink some during social meetings. I started eating non-veg food when I was in India because even though I am a Brahman, I realized one day the word GOD means nothing to me and consequently no religion or caste or culture to follow. And even though its sad animals are being killed and being vegetarian removes that guilt from people but i just love meat and so no guilty consciousness. So after i come here I tried different varieties of food and i just realized that not only the Indian food tastes awesome but there are lot of superfluous yet awesome tasting food around the world.
It made me realise that nothing is perfect and experience is the only thing to realise that
Well everyone is proud of their country and I am a proud Indian as well. But people in India just boast how good the Indian culture is and actually think bad and low of foreign cultures (my parents specially my mum does this and so does most of the others). They just think that people in foreign just marry each other without thinking anything , have sex before and after marriages and then divorce happens. And it might be true to some extent. That's the image of a foreign land specially of white people. But nobody talks or knows that people here actually also fall in true love and take care of their family as Indians(or any other race which thinks this way) do. Its true people are pretty much open here but that doesn't make every girl or a guy a slut or less worthy than us. Indian arranged marriages are successful but divorces happen here as well and the only reason why the divorce rate is low is because women are much less independent here and have to depend on their male counterpart to feed the family and the kids. And its not just a bluff. Before leaving India for pursuing my masters in Germany few incidents happened in my neighborhood. I have seen two cases where women wanted to give divorce to their husbands but could not because they are just housewives and can't earn on their own. And in one of the case the male actually beat his wife after consuming alcohol (which you can't witness easily in abroad).
|Oktoberfest Weekends were quite amazing|
But then same applies to Germany and Germans. They are just so proud of themselves that they just consider themselves to be better than most of the countries. Again even Germany is not perfect and there are many things I prefer the way its done in India rather here. I discussed some of them in one of my previous articles and maybe you can check that out. For examples most of the children are not able to take care of their parents and just leave them and the parents don't expect much from their kids as well (not true for everyone but applies to many here). The relationships here are kinda shaky sometimes. All in all,different cultures and different lifestyles. Lot to learn from each of them. But unless you stay in a place and spend time with the locals you won't realize the positives and negatives from a culture so its not right to compare and to just talk that one is better than the other without experiencing it.
It made me a much much much better cook
I can cook most of the Indian foods now which are being cooked in the household everyday around India.I can make roti easily,daal,dosa varities,upma,pongal ,pasta,pakodas,biriyanis,rice varieties,panner matar, butter chicken, different curries and sabjis(in german its Gemuse) and ofcourse now many german and bavarian foods(currywurst,schneitzel,
salad varieties, potato salad,dumplings) etc. Germans enjoyed my food a lot and were becoming pretty lazy sometimes because I cooked food for them. :)
It made me embrace various cultures and lifestyles and take the positives out of them
I realized there is a lot to learn from each culture. Some of the common characteristics I found in some of the cultures were Honesty beyond ordinary,drinking beer like its their last day, and very good in managing time from Germans, being cheeky and take a chill pill attitude from australians, being very open and making the first move from americans, caring and being polite and humble from Indians, and also I love the accents of Irish,Australian and Spanish people who speak english. Ofcourse the characteristics are not in everyone but its just a general perception which I got from my friends which I made living abroad. Kinda matches with the stereotypes about these countries but these characteristic are in friends. So I am not being stereotypical but just being realistic. :)
For the First time in my life I started planning my weekends and made every weekend and day count
In India I did not care much about Holidays and Weekends and after i came here I realised the loads of possibilities and stuffs/things I can do during any weekend. Wish I was like this when I was in India. I could manage my time better and also did something worthy and unusual now and then. One of the reason might be because I started earning on my own and so I could spend and travel without much worries but I think I started utilizing my time properly because I saw my friends here and saw how cheerful they were about everything including weekends and realized that's how life should be. Also I became a travel freak and since Europe is actually diverse that there is so much to explore.
Yes I am still learning Deutsche und es ist sehr schlecht aber ich kann verstehen wenn meine freunde sprechen. Learning a language is awesome and it gets you closer to a race/culture and you connect with the people. Even though I would rather prefer learning Japanese and Spanish because I like both of them especially the former but in the end I still have to learn German at least for better job prospects and I sometimes find it funny(like someone is given a throat-job) and harsh(to kick ass). No offense to German language even though that's my personal opinion :) . I also improved my English a bit (which should not be expected since I am in Germany but it did somehow :) ). I was close to western culture more than ever in my life and so I watched more and more English movies and listened to lots of new albums in English and also my openness to different music genres changed (i moved on from Enrique Iglesias and even though I still like and Love him , I started liking music from Ed Sheeran, Seether and many other different vocalists). But I still must say even though that I love English albums but the feel and passion/romance in some of the Bollywood songs are still top notch maybe except few artists like Sam Smith, Adele, Bruno Mars in West (but the plot and theme in most of the Bollywood movies are still shitty and worse compared to most of the Hollywood).
My perspective about life and people changed entirely
It made me more enthusiastic and I have really started loving life more than ever. Even though it doesn't mean that I prefer living here than in India , but its just that I realized that life has so many adventures and beauty to be discovered that there is no use crying about so many unnecessary shit happening around you. I realized that its time I stopped living for others (which is pretty common in India) and satisfying other's need and start living for myself.
In the end I could feel the changes in Me and I am still glad the day I decided to go for Masters rather than doing a job in a software firm in India. I am not sure if everyone will go through these changes but you never know unless you try. I hope you guys found this article and its just a personal perspective. Comment below the changes which happened to you and maybe where you study and what you learned from their culture.