14. Studying In My Hometown – Dubai (Blog Post)

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Some people have a clear vision of where they want to go and how much they want to accomplish. Choosing a future path is never easy for a teenager with a lot of possibilities in mind and for an over-thinker like me, this was a daunting task. Its hard enough for me to decide something in particular let alone my trajectory in life.

My anxiety about where to study started in high school, when I was in 11th grade. As someone who was born and raised in Dubai, I naturally wanted to go elsewhere for university like my friends. Almost every day, I’d tell my parents about how my friends were going abroad and how I wanted to learn to live independently, but like any typical desi parent, they weren’t thrilled with the prospect of me living alone in a foreign country. When I began 12th grade, my stress grew as I realized Im approaching the end of my high school life still unsure about where I’ll study further. I always wanted to pursue a degree in Computer Science but I just dint know where. When the pandemic hit I considered the possibility of staying in Dubai .When my friends talked about studying for tests like the SAT, IELTS, JEE, NEET, I felt a bit low since I hadn’t prepared for any of that and universities in Dubai do not require you to write those tests – which led me to wonder if I was making the right choice staying in my hometown, questions like “will my friends have a better life than me since they are studying abroad?” And “will I be able to do as much as they are in life” started to pop into my head. Whenever I told someone at school that I would most likely continue my education in UAE, they’d keep telling me how its better if I go abroad since everyone felt that universities in UAE like Herriot Watt, Murdoch, Wollongong, BITS Pilani sound global but they’re only “branches” of the actual university and that its better to study at their actual campus. Eventually I started feeling super negative about everything, months passed by, my Board exams got over and I was able to secure an overall of 93.2%.

After conducting extensive research and consulting with my parents, I decided to disregard the advice of others and apply to BITS Pilani Dubai Campus. The transition from high school to university was incredibly hard, but there are advantages to staying in your hometown. I started to realize its perks,

First and foremost, financial aid; studying abroad can be quite pricey; by remaining in my home country, I save significantly on housing, food, and other expenses. Additionally, because I am familiar with the environment, I do not have to worry about fitting in or experiencing culture shock like those who study abroad. However, it restricts my interaction to only my university students, which is why I decided to jump at the opportunity provided by VIOO to be a Growth Partner. Through VIOO, I am able to connect with students from all over the world from various universities and learn about their experiences and interact with them. I was also able to make some amazing friends on this platform, for which I am grateful (shoutout to Magi and Cecelia hehe <3 ).
The fact that I am familiar with every location in Dubai is highly beneficial!  so if you’re confused and looking for a place to eat or something to do on a Friday night, hit me up.👍

Now that I think about it, I feel good about my decision to stay in UAE; I've made some amazing friends; I'm close to my family, and even though I spend most of my time at university, it's always nice to get back home to them; I have my drivers license, and soon I'll have my own car.
I realized that no matter where you go to university, you're bound to have fun and learn new things; what matters is your mindset and how hard you work to improve your college experience for yourself.

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