Studying abroad is an amazing experience. But with every experience there is good and bad. I wanted to share with you all some of the challenges I experienced as an international student living and studying in Los Angeles. If you are new to my blog, welcome! I am from Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam and I have lived in Los Angeles for 3 years. I study communications and go to LMU. I love the photo I used for this blog post because it was taken in 2017 when I first arrived to LA. Oh the memories…
Here are the top 10 challenges of studying abroad and how you can overcome it:
This one I struggle with the most. Most of my friends and family are back home in Vietnam. When I have a bad day and I want to see them and talk to them in person, I can’t do that. I have to wait until Christmas break or summer to fly back home. But to overcome that I created my own network of friends here in Los Angeles. It was hard to find a group of friends that I really connected with but overtime I am happy to have found a few that I click with. 🙂 And even if you cannot physically do that right now with Covid-19 calling, facetiming or skyping them is better than nothing. I know life right now is not the same but it does make you feel good to talk to a friend and catch up with them after a long time. Keep going, don’t give up. I know this pandemic makes you feel like you want to throw everything away your hard work, joy and sacrifices. BUT DO NOT DO THAT. Keep going. There is always light at the end of the tunnel.
This year marks my 3 year anniversary living in Los Angeles. I moved to LA back in 2017.
To celebrate this awesome milestone I wanted to share with you my experience living here in LA. This is going to be a very honest review from a person who is not from America, but from abroad.
I am from Vietnam. I went to ISHCMC and graduated class of 2013. Afterwards, I left Ho Chi Minh City and studied in New York. I was accepted to Sarah Lawrence College and dropped out after one semester. Sadly, the school was not a right fit for me and my dream of studying and working in New York completely derailed.
I then ended up moving back to Vietnam and attended a local university there which I felt even more depressed. I decided to return to America but this time not the East Coast but to San Jose, California. Living in the West Coast compared to the East coast, made me realize how much I love the sun. Having sunny weather not only improved my overall mood but made me very productive.
I lived in San Jose for 4 years while studying at De Anza college. When I was done with community college I got accepted to LMU. And now I am here! I did not get into USC which made me sad so it was between LMU or Santa Clara university. I wanted a change of scenery and so I made the decision to move to LA.
So far I love it. But, there are days where I absolutely hate it and dream of moving to somewhere more quiet and less crowded. It is a love hate relationship.
There is something for everyone: There is K-town, Manhattan Beach, Downtown LA, Pacific Palisades…and more. That is what I love about LA. There is always something for you. If you’re into fashion, DTLA, Rodeo Drive, Melrose is for you. If you’re into fitness, Venice the bodybuilding mecca is for you. If you’re into real estate, Malibu, Beverly Hills is for you. You like dancing? Drive to Studio city and enroll yourself at Dance Millenium complex. All I am saying is that there are so many opportunities here compared to when I was living in San Jose. San Jose was predominantly tech related because it was silicon valley. Nearly everyone I knew there was a software engineer or worked at Google. :p
I never thought I would live to the day where I would be experiencing a lockdown. I thought these things were of the past, during my grandparents time. My school is closed for the rest of the semester. All my friends returned back home and it feels like the world suddenly stopped and I am left alone in the dark. I feel so angry. For the first time in my life everything is out of my control and all I can do is sit back, and watch by the sideline and feel helpless. I feel scared and very alone.
Luckily, I have my younger sister who lives with me so it makes time go faster. But still, the fact that we are living in such an uncertain time gives me so much stress and anxiety.
Right now the last thing, I want to feel is “positive.” If anything I feel the complete opposite. There are days where I feel so sad and not motivated to do anything. Some days are good and some days are bad. But when I feel like that and feel down, I just remind myself that I am not alone. We all are grieving and frustrated with the unknown. It’s just a matter of time when things will reopen. I just tell myself that this pain is temporary and I’ve got this. And I have more control, than I think I do.
Keep saying this to yourself every time your inner demons want you to feel sad and depressed. I know how many of us were on a roll, doing well before the pandemic hit. But just because we are now stuck at home, do not let that make you feel any different.
I’ll admit to you right now. Believing in yourself is tough. It really is hard. Because for once you are not asking anyone for validation. You’re not asking anyone if your decision is right or wrong, or if you should do this or that and etc..
You’re not asking your friend, your mom, your therapist, your psychic for advice. You just do it because you know deep down inside of you, you’re right. And I truly believe this is what matters most at the end of the day.
We are all born with intuition and natural confidence. Over time as we grow up, we become reluctant to listen to our inner voice, our needs, what we truly want because:
But you need to believe in yourself in order to grow. That really is what becoming an adult is all about. And this is a lesson I am still learning in my 20s.
When you start to believe in yourself and act accordingly to your highest good. You demonstrate to people that your values, opinions matter as well. That you are on the same level of the playing field. But most importantly you teach people how to treat you.
If you fast forward to 20 years from now and look back at your life. I am sure you would agree that you would have wanted to believe in yourself more. Because believing in yourself far outweighs the opinions and critics of others.
Even during the most difficult times, when things aren’t going so well and you’ve got no one but yourself to depend on. Have faith and listen to your intuition. What is that voice saying? What is it that you really want? Listen to that voice that’s responding back to you.
Happy 25 year anniversary to my beloved parents. My everything. My entire world.
The next few months I want you to start to get to know me and my family. I’m shocked and ashamed I haven’t talked much about them on my blog. I have shown pictures of them on Instagram but I think it’s time you really get to know where I’m from and who I am.
When I see photos of them I can’t help it but think of home. My beautiful country, Vietnam.
The place where I was born, went to school and grew up my entire life. It’s so important for me to keep the traditions that I learned back home, but at the same time remain modern and progressive.
I can’t wait for you to get to know the real me. Not the version you’ve been reading back home in Vietnam on the news. All of it does not accurately resemble who I am as a person. That’s why I’m so incredibly grateful that I have my blog, my Youtube and Instagram. All these platforms where I can showcase who I am and voice my opinion.
I’m not sure what time it is where you’re from, while reading this post ,but it is 9:09pm in Los Angeles. I just finished a long day of class. I am studying philosophy and law this semester. I’m having a great time so far and look forward to Christmas break so I can be reunited with my loved ones in Vietnam.
I hope you enjoy the photo. Here’s another photo of them on their wedding day.
Originally born and raised in Vietnam. I moved to America by myself to strike out on my own and pursue a college degree. Since then, I have lived in New York City and California, meeting new people and learning American customs, and the ups and downs of college life. I like to share my adventure with you. Read more →
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