Do it with passion or don't do it at all!

I would describe my study abroad life as an exciting experience and a complete eye opener. I made some really good friends, met a lot of exciting people with wonderful visions. Study abroad has offered me the opportunity to discover myself and boosted my confidence. It taught me to look at the world from a different perspective and take risk. On the other hand staying 8000 miles away from friends and family and not being able to see or spend time with them made me realise that we should cherish the moments and value the presence of our dear ones when we still have time. 

From my perspective I personally haven't specifically tasted any major cultural shock while studying abroad and there are two main reasons to it. Initially after receiving the offer letter from my university and while preparing for the visa and other official steps, I did a lot of research on pretty much every single aspect of Melbourne. I strongly believe that at an age of free information, ignorance is a crime. I familiarised myself with the demography of Melbourne, my university, the apartment I rented and some major transportation routes. Secondly, I've visited a few countries from a very young age which enabled me to to view at the world from different angles and perspectives. I would say this had a huge impact on me and prepared me on what to expect at a complete different and new place.
A lot of people usually face problems while communicating in a different language, adjusting to the weather, coping up with the norms and social etiquettes. But the biggest issue I faced was the access to Halal food on my first few weeks. Melbourne being a multicultural place, a lot of restaurants and butcher shops do not offer halal food. But once I got to know the city better, this wasn't an issue anymore. Loneliness can be a huge issue while studying abroad but having friends from few different backgrounds and sharing thoughts and feelings with them can help a lot or at least in my case it worked out nicely.

Studying abroad is expensive no matter what people say. Especially when you're coming from a country where the currency conversion rate is 1:60 so you need to plan your future beforehand. It's no secret that Melbourne is the world's most livable city and the most expensive one as well. The cost of living can be divided into 3 main parts, a. rent b. food & transportation and c. other expenses.
Renting out a room in a shared house will cost you minimum $550 per month but if you're planning to take an entire single studio apartment, it'll cost you upto $1200 per month including bills and amenities.
Food and transportation is the second biggest expense a student will have after rent. If you're habituated on cooking by yourself and comfortable with public transport your expenses will be below $500 per month. Public transport in Melbourne is around $8 per day but if you have your own vehicle it'll cost you minimum $250 per month just to buy fuel, registration, insurance and maintenance on top of the actual price of the vehicle.
The third sector of expense is miscellaneous and completely depends on yourself. It includes your purchase of clothes, footwear, eating out with friends, refreshment trips etc. If you're an extrovert like me and love hanging out with friends it'll cost you at an average of $100-$300 per month.
So on an average if you plan ahead, your monthly cost would be around $1200 and could be upto $2500 at max. However, on top of all these monthly expenses, International students usually need to pay four time more university fees than the dometic students and on average an international student pays $30,000 fees per year which sums up to almost $1,00,000 over the period of a three year course approximately.

My first year in Melbourne I worked at a few different places to gain experience and cover my own expenses. I worked part time at various chain shops while volunteering for my community and the university at the same time. All these work and volunteering taught me a lot of stuff and prepared me for almost any sort of situations. I was and am also involved in student politics at the university which landed me a landscape victory in the annual student union elections as a Welfare Officer at my university. My third year in Melbourne, I gambled a bit with my luck and opened up my own business with a very small investment that I saved up over the last 2 years all while being just a student. I opened up a Tech Shop at a shopping centre and had almost over $2,00,000 in revenue in my first year of business. I plan on expanding it and see where it takes me to!

My advise to anyone following the same path as me would me to get their aims fixed. Study a subject you love and choose a university that you think would be able to help your ambitions. Be you, don't do something just because of the fact that someone else it doing it. Follow your dreams, take risk, don't be afraid to experiment new things, be patient since living away from friends and family is extremely frustrating. And finally whatever you do, do it with passion or don't do it at all.

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