‘Never let go of your dreams’.
One of the simplest quotes you’ll ever hear, yet it is one which rings true every time you hear or read it. After all, without our dreams, what are we? Empty shells walking on the brink of oblivion, before one day we become dust and ash.
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But then, in an age where the pursuit of unrealistic ambitions is given a dark look or a cynical chuckle, and where tried and tested methods of success are favoured, is this dogged chasing of dreams unrealistic?
If a student wants to go abroad t study and chase the ‘American Dream’, or if the student wants to follow his ambitions in any other land, far from home, is it a feasible one?
Well, unless you have a few hundred thousand dollars lying around, the prospects appear to be bleak. But as all things, appearances can be deceiving. Here are a few things you will need to consider when looking at the option of studying overseas, along with a few tips which may make the task a tad simpler for you:
For Indian students planning to study overseas, this is usually the biggest hurdle. Paying a tuition fee in dollars, pounds, or euros is a huge ask for the average Indian middle class family, especially since when translated to rupees, the amount goes into many lakhs; not a small sum at all. In this case, unless you are getting a scholarship of considerable amount, the cost of education will have to be borne by you and your family, in which case education loans remain the only viable option – and here you have to keep a sizable collateral against the money you borrow.
Think hard before taking the plunge. Take into account the value of the degree, whether it is worth the amount you are investing, whether you will be getting a good job there, or at least the opportunity to search for one and stay there at least until you recover the amount you invested. Important questions, and you have to think hard to answer them.
Every other problem and dilemma pales when compared to the tremendous tuition fees, but another aspect which should be kept in mind is the cost of living. It won’t be as high as tuition fees, but after having stayed with your family all these years, the sudden transition to living alone and spending in foreign currency while you are at it is another challenge.
Beyond the expenses, you will also have to take into account the sudden shift from staying with family to staying alone, or with room-mates, and the many psychological challenges (missing friends, family, and the familiar environment) as well as physical challenges (cooking your own food, doing your own laundry, being responsible for every activity of yours) that this involves.
The Psychological Aspect
This may seem like an unnecessary worry, but it is perhaps the most insidious one. You get to realize the true value of family when you are living alone. You will be responsible for every deed, from the smallest such as waking up on time for crucial work, to the biggest, such as messing up at something and not having a shoulder to cry one, a person to hug, someone to share your worries and fears with.
Having said all that, and having warned you about some of the travails and troubles you may face when you pursue the dream of higher education in an unknown land, I have one final thing to add:
Life is short, and no hurdle is large enough that you must give up your dream for it. There’s enough mediocrity in this world, it takes real guts to stand apart and stand out. In the words of my favourite author, ‘Ambition is not a dirty word. Piss on compromise. Go for the throat. Sure, it’s a harder journey, but it’s well worth it.’