Indian Student Ambassador Bindhu Purushothaman had lots of anxiety about coming to study in Ireland but she is now glad she made that choice

Being an independent or dependent person is a choice which we make in life. I am Bindhu Purushothaman, born and raised in India, and now pursuing my Master’s dream in National College of Ireland.

Questioning ourselves
Moving to a different continent approximately 5,000 miles away made me anxious initially, to let go of loved ones, of having the luxury of food on time and no big responsibility. Trust me: I was that excited person until I reached the airport, waved to my family and friends with a big smile saying meet you guys after a year.

However, it all changed the moment I sat in the flight and peeped out of the window, realizing it’s going to be 365 days or more to feel or hug those same people. It may make us feel low and question ourselves: ‘Have I made the right choice? Have I grown enough to handle the situations or be responsible and independent?’

Tiny fears
It is good to question ourselves is what I realised after being on my own terms in Ireland for a year now. As I reached Dublin for the first time, I became a self-reliant person without my knowledge. I had to be aware of my surroundings and keep an eye on my baggage to reach the first place I stayed in from the airport without getting lost. Tiny fears from climbing onto the Luas for the first time to buying and paying for my first groceries, which turned out to be my weekly routine.

Just the thought of doing it makes you nervous for the first time. You can be fortunate like me, where you come across friendly and pleasant Irish people who can guide you through it with a smile.

As the days passed by I felt as if I was one of the people of Ireland. You start gaining confidence by interacting with new people across Ireland, petting dogs on walks, talking to bus drivers about the weather and meeting many joggers even when it rains. Being an introvert, I had many deep conversations during my travels in the short period of time before Covid-19.

I became more aware of the Irish culture and their routines through the small talks I had with many cab drivers and neighbours who were walking their dogs. I realised down the line, no matter how far I have travelled and visited a different culture, as humans we all are in search of love and warmth, which I felt in Ireland. I faced situations where I was dependent on my classmates, college lecturers and my housemates. This does not mean that I am not an independent person. I became a person who makes my own choices even to decide who to approach for help or need.

As an international student, I felt that I am always going to walk on eggshells. But as I am speaking from my own experience, for a year I have not come across any difficult incidents that have affected me mentally or physically. I would say, in life, it’s better to opt to be dependent or independent based on the need and the effort we are capable of according to the situation.

There is nothing wrong in being dependent. It’s better to try; the first time we may regret it but not for the things we didn’t try. For instance, when I boarded the Luas for the first time, I ended my journey at the wrong destination. It happens! Nothing to be worried or feel nervous about, because at the end of the day it became a story for me to share and laugh about with my friends.

I would say this country made me a self-aware person rather than completely being an independent individual. It is going to be fun ride in this country where the weather is so changeable. I have started to ask people ‘how is the weather?’ rather than ‘how was your day?’.

Bindhu is pursuing a master’s in cloud computing in the National College of Ireland.