Living in two worlds —life of an International student in Ireland

Mahima Arora

I had grown up learning English and French more than my native language and the kid in me couldn’t even afford to dream of being in Europe one day, but — here I am! I finally moved to Dublin and came here to pursue my masters, crossed the oceans to live my dream, and drowned in a pool of assignments.

I never knew that living the European dream contained getting my own groceries without a car, having to cook and clean on my own and then I was expected to write essays and assignments amidst all this?

For someone who had always hated Maths I gained an expertise in converting the currency quickly in my head, to check and compare the prices of everything! In this cold country, I was missing the warmth of having my people around. While I was chugging Irish coffee in my home country, here I wished to seek comfort of having a simple bowl of my mom’s homemade food. 

Five months into living here, the loneliness eventually converted into peacefulness, and I was at times surprised at my own capabilities. I am discovering myself more than ever. The roads have started to look familiar now and I have started finding my ways. I have tried pubs, seen some beautiful views atop the cliffs in Ireland and most importantly — learnt to cook my mom’s special dish my own way!

Although I live alone, I am finally living for myself, and this is the feeling that makes all the struggles worthwhile; that’s how you know that no matter how the experience turns out to be, you are growing the most from it. I believe moving abroad and adapting to a new space requires unlearning first, it’s like clearing up the storage of your phone to make space for new things. 

I remember, when I had to travel here, my airline only allowed me to carry 40kg of luggage. Therefore, I had to pack every bit of my life into two suitcases. I was happy to start afresh and leave the old things behind, yet there were still some precious moments and special people that those bags couldn’t contain. There are still parts of me who want the precious things but also don’t want to look back at what I’ve left behind. I can’t wait to go back home, but I also can’t wait to return to this new home that I have found. So now there are some parts of me that belong here and some back in my home. I love the idea of having too many options in life but hate making choices amongst those.

I believe being an international student or immigrant always comes with a dilemma of comfort versus the curiosity to explore, and it’s not easy to choose. I know a lot of people are sailing in the same boat as me or have already been through the same, I have to ask them this question: does it get better or is this the better?