When I first received news of the offer to attend John Hopkins University SAIS in March, I was completely over the moon. I didn’t think I would have made the cut to attend such a prestigious school. It has been a long time since I graduated with my Bachelor degree (yes, I feel old!) and it will be the furthest I will be moving away from home in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The challenge of returning back to academia and the changes to come was making me nervous and excited at the same time.
The preparations for the Masters course and move to the US over the last couple of months gave me a taste of what is soon to come. Having not been in the ‘study zone’ for more than a decade, I found myself struggling to remember my textbook days, writing school essays and examinations. The semester has not yet started and I am already sweating buckets from the sheer reading list provided to us, and assignments that await ahead of me. I was suddenly amazed how I ever graduated from my undergraduate studies back then, and at the same time I realized I’ve grown comfortable with the workforce lifestyle (and having a steady income stream too!). Coupled with being thousands of miles away from home, and from the comfort of family and friends around me, I felt a little overwhelmed by the challenges that lie ahead of me. I have decided to leave for Washington, DC, a month early to attend the Pre-term course offered by SAIS to kick start myself back into academia and also to get to know the capital city before the storm sets in.
To be honest, I knew nothing about Washington, DC and started researching over the internet for information about the capital city. I was absolutely delighted when I discovered International Student House in Washington, DC and that it is also located so close to SAIS, too. This brought back nostalgic memories of my undergraduate days in Australia where I lived in International House (IH) in Melbourne, as well. The many House events like cultural and music nights, inter-college games, orientation week, language exchange classes and of course IH residents from all over the world, many of us became life-long friends even years after we left IH. I loved every moment that IH represented. In the four short years living in IH Melbourne, I never felt as if I was away from home. Without a second thought, I quickly submitted an application for a place in ISH-DC and again I was over the moon when my application was accepted!
As I am writing this, I am lying on my bed at home with many of my belongings and clothes scattered at different corners of my bedroom. It’s only a week away before I leave home again for at least two years. As I prepare for my big move across the world, I do so with mixed feelings of excitement, trepidation, and downheartedness, for I will miss my family and good friends back home. At the same time, I look forward to my new home and adventures ahead of me.
Washington,DC…….ISH, ready or not, here I come!!