As an international student here in Pécs, one of the first thoughts that came to my mind was how will I make friends? Will I find people my age to be around? It was such an overwhelming feeling, leaving behind a group of friends from high school whom I grew up with to go somewhere new where I would have to find myself and make new friends.
The transition from being a walking ball of anxiety to a social butterfly certainly was not a piece of cake, I had to force myself out of my comfort zone, come up to people, join in on the conversation, introduce myself and all.
No matter how fluent you believe you are in speaking English, when talking with other foreigners at first it rather gives you a scare, will they laugh at my mistakes? Or will they notice them? The fear was a bit constricting but with time and hearing others speak, you will realize that everyone makes mistakes and it’s okay, because we are all here to learn, from university, from life and from each other. The whole joy of studying abroad I believe is befriending foreigners and not your local people. How perfectly designed the world is, to bring so many people from so many different sides of the world to share cultures, stories, languages and build bonds that distance may never break. As soon as I settled in and got to know my classmates a little bit, I figured out that age differences are outdated. Not only had I made friends from my class, but also from other faculties and studies.
Throughout the two years I have been here, the knowledge and experience that I have acquired from them is priceless. It was also surprising that during conversations they said they had learned quite a lot from me as well, and that is the clearest proof that the best of friends do not have to be your age. I was only 17 when I first arrived here in Hungary, and it was the first time in my life to hang out with people who were in their twenties and thirties. It was heartwarming to be accepted in that group of friends because they did not see any age difference between us, the stories we shared and experienced put us all on the same level of maturity, something I will forever be grateful for. So if you are reading this, I hope you will be encouraged to go out there and find yourself a group of friends you can call a second family.
I truly trust that there are always people out there you are destined to meet and befriend. What is more rewarding than having friends from all over the world that you can visit later after graduating? I have seen that with my father, who is still in touch with his Hungarian friends, and they visit each other sometimes. It is true; friends are forever.
Written by Daria Palatova
English and American Studies BA
University of Pécs, Faculty of Humanities
Source: PTE EHÖK (http://pteehok.hu/hirek/)