Prior to moving, my idea of studying abroad was very one-sided. I was there to learn, explore a new environment and meet new people. That is all. During my college’s orientation, I was warned about budgeting my finances, the fluctuating emotions of homesickness and keeping busy. Unaware that the experiences here would influence the decisions I would make, my obliviousness has taken my personal life by surprise, leaving me both confused and unsure.
Before I went overseas, most of the questions I got from my friends and family were along the lines of, “Are you going to fall in love?” This was also in the midst of a complicated time. Without divulging too much, I would say that I was in between relationships. I had someone back home, but the uncertainty of my future post-Scotland held me back from pursuing it completely. He didn’t know what I would want in three months’ time and neither did I. Moving forward to my last week here in Aberdeen, I have realized that I did fall in love—with myself.
I was slowly building morale between me and the person I wanted to become.
The challenges that I face here consistently test my mental and spiritual strength. In Toronto, my comfortability in a place I have called home for years made me dependent on things other than myself, such as people and material wealth. I was unable to make decisions on my own, I was lazy, I waited for things to happen and I never took action into my own hands. Being away from home has forced me into independence. It lit a fire so hot that I needed to move or I would burn myself to death.
With no immediate family or friends to call during a moment of weakness, I had to fend for myself. At home, something as simple as buying groceries on a rainy day would have turned me off from the task completely, but with no one to do these things for me, I had to do it or I would starve. From eight flights of stairs (as I lived at the top floor of my building), I took out the trash out whenever I had the chance, so as to lighten the burden off of my flatmates. I had to schedule times for when I would be free to do my laundry, go to the gym, cook dinner, study at the library and hang out with friends.
Little did I know that all these minuscule tasks would add up every day and bring about the conclusion that I did these things for me—no one else. Out of survival and out of personal agency, I was slowly building morale between me and the person I wanted to become.
The foundation I have in my relationship with myself is developing so much that I am growing a unique confidence in being alone. While travelling alone started this journey early last year, my experience studying abroad in Scotland has solidified my need to continue exploring who I am by myself without external influences to guide me.
I feel so far removed from who I was before I came, but in the best way possible. It is hard to imagine that my feelings about moving away were once completely closed. I was scared and anxious at the thought of loneliness. Little did I know that in loving the process of growth, loneliness would impossible to come across—as I will always have the best version of myself to look forward to.Add this article to your reading list