The Journey of an International Student
21 June 2022
Anant Upadhyay, who has recently joined CarringtonCrisp as an intern, tells his story of becoming an international student in the middle of the pandemic.
How influential could a newspaper article be? Well, for me, it changed my whole life.
To understand this better, let's time travel to mid-2019, the innocent world where no one had a clue of the disaster approaching them. I was preparing for entrance exams in India (CAT, XAT, NMAT, etc …) face to face, without wearing a mask. I never considered studying for my Masters internationally, even in my wildest dreams. Everything was going smoothly; I cleared a few exams and then what? Within a day, everything went upside down, the whole country was under lockdown. All the admission processes were postponed, and B-Schools were figuring out ways to finish their recruitment.
Around this time, I read an article in the FT about business school rankings for MiM programmes. This article changed everything for me. The sole reason was that no Indian B-School was in the top 20. That was when I decided to drop the plan to pursue a Masters in India.
Deciding to study abroad was a big decision for me, which I had never planned for. The sudden preparation was not only to explore new academic possibilities, but also to adapt to a new life with a different culture.
I still remember my first day in Paris. I was so lonely. Missing my family, home, and country, everything seemed so different and new to me. I doubted my decision to leave home for some time, and the pandemic worsened the situation. Before the beginning of the academic year, I imagined my life when studying abroad – full of
exploring, travelling, and gathering with friends. But I ended up in my room alone with my laptop. After a year, I understand those feelings are normal, and I am not alone in this journey. Many other international students also felt the same. However, I believed there was always light, even in the darkest days.
We celebrated Holi, Diwali and New Year's Eve by making sweets and, of course, watching our favourite movies. Instead of going out, we tried to cook traditional food from our countries.
And finally, a day came when everything started to get better. Universities, restaurants and many other things opened. Campus life was full of classes, assignments, and exams. I learned how to balance student life and my personal life, share my traditions while learning about new cultures, and be humble and listen to other opinions while expressing my ideas. I also got a job in my school, something I learned a lot from.
As international students, we face many challenges, but we also learn a great deal. My experience has given me stronger motivation to proactively search for opportunities to connect with people. Although the journey may be different this year, my life as an international student at SKEMA has still been filled with new experiences, precious memories, and inspirational people.