Packing for a year to live in a foreign country is not easy. Before I came here for college, my mom and I had to sit down and figure out what I should bring to the U.S.

Warm clothes, boots and my teddy bear. My whole world was put into only two suitcases. As a fashion extraordinaire, both of my suitcase were filled with clothes and shoes. I even refused to bring food so I could have space to fit all of my favorite outfits. However, no matter how large the suitcases were, I still couldn’t bring mommy, daddy and my dogs with me, which are what I have been missing the most since I came here.

What’s it like to be a global citizen? Well, I must admit my first year here was the hardest one for me. I spent my senior year of high school in Michigan. After graduating from there, I came to Plattsburgh State for college.

Living in a foreign country, I felt like I had to start my life all over again by making new friends, working on a second language and getting used to a totally new culture. Luckily, the food wasn’t something I struggled with. However, learning how to be independent and more confident was something I needed to improve. And I learned it all through my first year here. Now I am chilling.

Coming to college, I always tell myself I should get involved in everything on campus as much as I can. I joined a sorority, participated in clubs on campus, became a TA and more. All of those keep me busy all day long, so I have no time to be homesick. Time seems to pass faster too. I often go back to Vietnam in summer. One year of college is not a problem for me at all.

Also, by getting involved on campus, I have many chances to meet new people and make new friends. All the people I met here played a big role in helping me experience my college life from going to the first hockey game to getting ready to go out with my girl friends over the weekend. I wasn’t missing out on anything in college at all.

I used to be the shy kid who was even afraid to speak my mind. However, time by time, everything gets better. I learned a lot along the way and gained my self-confidence and experience. There would be some times when I feel homesick, but then my friends would drag me out of my room and show me love. My abroad experience in the U.S. was amazing. I am looking forward to collecting more memories here and having fun.

If I could give any advice to anyone who decided to go abroad or study abroad, I would suggest trying to get involved and be active wherever you are. Try to find something that sparkles your interest to do, get out of your comfort zone and stay authentic.

Email Hilly Nguyen at opinions@cardinalpointsonline.com

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