How one year living abroad changed me.
On 2nd September 2016, I left my home, Malaysia. That was my first time taking a plane to somewhere else. Four to five hours flight from Malaysia to Taiwan. Since then, everything has changed. To survive in a completely stranger environment, i have to change.
Before that, let me tell you what kind of person i was for the past 19 years before leaving my house to study abroad. I was a super shy person, i didn’t know how to take public transportation. I even couldn’t order food by myself without my parents beside me. Making a phone call to my interviewee makes me sweat within just a minute. Also, i was a person who has social anxiety. Everytime there’s an occasion i have to attend, i feel super anxious and nervous. Last but not least, i was a person who had super low-esteem who wasn’t dare to chest up because of the man boobs i had when i was overweight and etc.
Three days after i came to Taiwan ( 5th September 2016 ), i finally stepped in my university ( National Taiwan University of Arts ). The moment when i stepped in my school, there is only one thing that popped up in my mind: It’s all lies. Thing that popped up in my mind is getting stronger after i stepped in my dormitory’s room. From that moment on, i know i shouldn’t trust TV anymore because everything that appears in TV, they are rarely accurate. It’s a room with 4 desks and 4 beds, which means I am going to live with another three roommates without any privacy. That night, i felt really upset, afraid and anxious. I will never forget that night, i slept with a face that full of tears.
It was one week before the school starts. I had 7 days spending in a completely new environment before the school starts. Guess what? I will never forget that the first three days in campus, except going to the public washroom, i didn’t step out from my dorm, at all. I ate a pack of biscuit for every meal, because i didn’t know what i can get from my school and this area. Yes, three days i had at least 9 packs of biscuit for my meal.
These three days, i have no friends around me, Youtube channel and Google are my friends. I kept searching for funny videos, bloopers and some funny videos to make myself laugh. The same video I’ve watched for more than five times.
At night, which is a period that people easily feel lonely and insecure. I was wondering what if i have no friends like I had during high school in university? What if i have to be alone always in the campus? What if i have no eating partners so i have to eat alone in this land? So, I just searched for some articles from the internet, such as “ Is it O.K. to be introvert in university ”, “ It’s O.K. to be introvert in university ”
I will never forget those days i kept finding such articles just to convince myself, or i would just say giving myself an excuse to not stepping out of my comfort zone to make new friends. I know i’m not an introvert, just an extroverted introvert. However, to me, making a new friend was not an easy thing because i was afraid of being embarrassed.
Anyway, after a couple months living in Taiwan as a student, thing started to change. I feel O.K. to be alone in the school. I don’t even give a damn if i’m eating alone in public or not. I don’t really mind walking around the campus alone when most people are having a company with them. I started to care less about how people look at me.
I started to join some activities i found on Meetup. Hiking with a group of strangers might be really awkward since i wasn’t really good at socializing. However, that was the very big first step I’ve made to step out of my comfort zone. Soon, i started to join a board game meetup and make friends in that place. I started to get less anxious and nervous when meeting strangers. I started to get brave to try something new. I started to change and become who i am right now.
“ Nobody knows me anyway, so i can just do what i want to do. ”, I old myself this, and this sentence gives me power to do what i was doing to step out of my comfort zone.
Anyway, there was a lot happened within a year. Although not everything that happened is happy, but i learned a lot while experiencing my new life. I’m not sure if studying in Taiwan is a right choice or not, but at least i know, things i’ve experienced in this country has made me who i am right now. I found myself while experiencing everything in this country.
I appreciate everyone I’ve encountered in this country. I appreciate every person I had a crush on. Appreciate friends I’ve made who support my drawings so much. Appreciate everything that keeps me survive, although it’s not easy. Last but not least, my parents. I love you all, though i don’t know what kind of way i can do to show how much you guys mean a lot to me but all i can say is, without you guys, i might not who i am right now. Thank you.