Sometimes I feel a little guilty about being a student at UG. I don’t just mean all the normal student guilt how much I’m studying or how much money I spent on cans this weekend. I’m well used to wrestling with all of that by now. There’s something that makes me feel a little guilty about just being an international student.
Sometimes I worry that I’m not doing enough with my time here. I spend most of it studying, partying and chatting with friends; all of which I enjoy. I don’t plan on giving any of that up anytime soon either. But sometimes I feel like I should be doing something more with my two years studying abroad. This feeling became more intense when I made the trip home recently.
Ireland doesn’t give us the option of a postal vote, so after block 1B exams finished I headed home to vote in the general elections and to see my friends and family. But while I was back in Ireland, I realised that I’m not doing a whole lot different with my life since coming to UG. The only obvious differences are that the rent is a little cheaper in Groningen and it’s dramatically safer to cycle here too. But…
I know my friends back home support me, but I can’t help feeling selfish for just deciding to leave them
I still have this battle going on inside my head. On the one hand I was happy with my life in Dublin and I miss my friends back home, but on the other hand I’m making new friends and memories in Groningen too. I know my friends back home support me, but I can’t help feeling selfish for just deciding to leave them for the next two years.
It sounds a bit stupid to be so “woe is me, I’m studying in the Netherlands and I’m worried I should be having an even better time than I’m having already” and that’s because it is stupid. I’m hardly a martyr here, in fairness, but emotion is a funny thing. I think it’s okay to feel great about studying abroad, while also feeling shitty for leaving my life and friendships behind me to do it.
But more than just leaving my friends behind and worrying that I should be doing something more with my time, I sometimes feel guilty for enjoying being here more than being at home. I will move back to Ireland eventually, so the best thing to do is to enjoy my time at UG and be less hard on myself.
Easier said than done.