Expectation vs Reality of Living Abroad
If moving abroad was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?
From watching Yeh Jawani hai Deewani to F.R.I.E.N.D.S and Gossip Girl, I eventually decided to move to New York, the best city in the world!? At least that’s what I thought!
Having the time of their lives, partying with friends every night, chilling in the coffee shops. This was all I imagined, you do the same, right?
Once you move abroad, you will have the freedom to do anything, not answerable to anyone, living the best time of your life, sounds cool, right?
Well, in reality, it was totally the opposite. I planned to do my master’s from the US, Newyork, to be specific to live my dreams. The easiest way to land in the US right!
I landed at John F. Kennedy airport at 2.30 A.M. I was scared AF to take a cab to my college dorms. It was the first time I traveled alone, that too, to a different country.
New York, the city never sleeps? I could see no one on the streets. Damn! I somehow managed to reach my dorms using those yellow cabs and I entered my room.
I was expecting a kitchen, a bathtub (maybe) and a great view. LUXURY! C’mon, I am living in the Upper East Side. It is one of the posh areas in Manhattan, surrounded by rich people.
WHAT? Just one 200 sq. ft room? I will be sharing this with someone? For cooking, I have to go downstairs to use the common kitchen which is shared by 18 floors. You got to be kidding me! I am paying $2000 (Around 3 Lakhs in INR) per month for this? (I could rent a 3 BHK house in just 1/4th of this price in India!!!)
I realized, moving abroad is hard. It’s challenging, and you don’t always find what you are looking for. The movies rarely talk about the hard times, and they make it look so effortless whereas the reality is far from rainbows and unicorns. Damn you Bollywood and sitcoms!
After the initial euphoria has ended, the panic sets in. Wait for a second, this is a huge life change. You have so much to do: you have to research banks, think about travel or health insurance, find somewhere to work.
If you don’t find yourself thinking “What have I let myself in for?” every once in awhile, then you’re doing it wrong.
People idealize New York City. They think it’s where people can go to achieve their dreams or meet celebrities and really cool people.
The reality is that living in New York means constantly being worried about money in order to pay rent for your tiny apartment, having to either spend $10 on a salad or $2.50 for a slice of pizza, paying $2.75 every time you have to ride the subway, and it means having to brave disgusting smells (I don’t even know what they are, but they are nasty), thousands of people who are rushing to get to the next place, noise, and pollution. On TV and in movies, it always seemed so easy to meet people in the city. I literally thought that people in stores or eateries would just end up talking to someone and become friends with them. On the contrary, most people just stay to themselves. Anyone will strike up a conversation with you in public places, but it’s not common to just make friends that way. Most of the time I felt that I don’t fit it.