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Moving out of your comfort zone: An international student perspective

It was August of 2013. I was pretty excited to be in Boston and start my university journey at summer orientation. I was also a little bit intimidated. When you leave your country and go away to study, you have made a big life decision. I did not know what to expect and whether everything would work out.

Summer orientation included numerous different activities, some of which were similar to a class, while others were informal meetings with the faculty members and upperclassmen. I met a lot of friends, some of whom were then in my first semester classes; all of us were looking for someone to lean on. We seemed vulnerable and intimidated, yet very excited and positively nervous. Going straight into the semester would have been so much harder!

It is completely okay to feel homesick for a few first weeks, but do not let yourself stay in your comfort zone without trying to adapt to the new surroundings. Join clubs and organizations! Play sports! Talk to random people! Also, talk to your friends back at home via Skype or FaceTime. Share your stories with them and let them know what it’s like for you in another country, far away from home.

I remember clearly what President Aoun told us during his welcome speech to our entering class: leave your comfort zone, and go somewhere where it is not as comfortable and easy.

I truly believe that I have followed the President’s advice and that every single student should do the same. I went on a Dialogue of Civilizations to Geneva just after my freshmen year. I did two international co-ops, and I am applying for my third one. I am doing a research on topics I once thought I had no interest in, yet I do!

Northeastern makes it easier for you to get out of your comfort zone. And I think you should, because life begins at the end of your comfort zone and the magic happens outside of it.

This blog post was written by Klara Durkin, a Political Science/International Affairs combined major with a minor in Law and Public Policy. You can contact her at

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