From Albania to Zimbabwe: Staying Away

Hi! My name is Nitya Sudarshan from Mumbai, India. I will be writing about what Brown is like as an international student, and my many experiences that helped me make Brown my home really far away from home.

 

One of the biggest decisions I make each spring semester is whether to work abroad or go back home. Especially by the end of Spring semester, you start to hear all of your friends talking about where they are going to work over the summer, what exciting internships they have applied to and what they plan on doing. The difference, I think, for an international student is being so far away from home for the summer.

At the end of freshman year, I looked forward to the summer as my uninterrupted 3 months back home, when it would feel like I was living back in India again, and when I would feel like I had an extended period of time to enjoy in my home country. A lot of my other friends get to spontaneously go home for long weekends, go home over Spring Break, Thanksgiving and any other short breaks that we have. In comparison, being home for only 4 months a year, and going home only at the end of the semester itself seems tough. But then, there is the added burden of whether to also stay away from home for the summer. There is no doubt that there are brilliant internship opportunities in the United States, exciting research opportunities and grants available at Brown itself over the summer. I felt like the part of me that wanted to just be home for the summer was somehow compromising my education, and compromising the opportunities that I could have if I did not restrict myself to the city that I come from.

A few days ago, this topic came up in conversation with one of my Asian International friends. She had an internship opportunity in Europe, but was drawn to the internship back home, and was feeling almost guilty about wanting to be home. However, after talking for a few hours, the conclusion that we came to is that it isn’t weak to want to be back home. It is difficult being away from home. While all of our time at Brown is happy, and the friends and community you form here does make Brown seem like a safe place, missing home does catch up to you at some point. I eventually chose to do an internship at home, which is also a great research opportunity. But more than where I chose to work, I realized that had I not gone back home because of this irrational guilt I felt, I would have been compromising on my happiness, which would not have been sustainable over the entire summer.

 

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me at nitya_sudarshan@brown.edu!

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