‘A new girl in the city’ – Megan had seen a movie ages ago where an aspiring journalist, in a new city, started her column with this headline.
When Megan moved to Australia for her studies, those words came alive for her. The excitement to be in a whole new country, to live all by herself, to be able to experience a new world, made her heart beat with more speed.
This is what most international students feel, along with a feeling of anticipation. All those young eyes are filled with dreams, joy, and nervousness for a new kind of life to be experienced.
Megan was ready to faced her new life with a bold smile. But, as days passed by, the reality of loneliness struck her. She was unable to share her feelings and gradually became reclusive.
Many international students are fairly young when they leave their homes to study abroad. Many of them leave homes where they had a comfortable life with pampering of parents. So moving to a new country can make them feel isolated and the non-acceptance of locals initially can make it more difficult too.
International students not only face loneliness, there can also be issues of racism, cultural differences and scarcity of money.
There are students like Karen who faced racism. Remembering his traumatic experience Karen says: “The attitude meted out to me clearly depicted that I was certainly not welcome to this country or to their society.”
Racial slurs can force students to become sheltered and guarded, meaning they are less likely to open up about the problems they face.
Mario was one of these students. He felt helpless and traumatised. He drew a lot of criticism for his poor English language skills and his self-esteem went down further.
Stephanie, who used to live a very comfortable life at home, found living in Australia very difficult because she struggled to afford her essential needs.
But then, there is Diana who faces every difficulty with a determination. “I made my mind to overcome all the barriers,” she said.
In spite of all the difficulties, the students are confident they will achieve their dreams.