The Grace and Guilt in Studying Abroad

Headshot of Raisa Haque.
Raisa Haque
November 21, 2018

Hi all! I've been doing a lot of reflecting and lately, I’ve been thinking about what it truly means to be studying and working abroad in Barcelona. I’m so far away even though I don’t feel like it all. I feel like I fit in even though I am odd one out based on my looks. We are living in a time of increasing globalization. With phones, technology, social media, anything is possible. You don’t have to feel far away from anyone. I’m wondering if that’s good. I’ve never wanted to throw away my phone of course, but I find myself wanting to use it less and be more present. As a Muslim woman, studying abroad and working here doesn’t feel real. Most people I’ve talked to here have always wanted to study abroad and came with that mindset entering college. They’ve had siblings study abroad or travel overseas, and it was always in the game plan of the college. However, I decided to do it last minute. My friend went to Italy and convinced me to go.

Of course, I wanted to but I had so many hesitations. I’m the first in my family to study abroad let alone work in another country. When I was little I always knew I was going to do big things, travel, study, educate myself, but in college, for some reason, I never had the mindset. The people around me, my family, was never encouraging it or discouraging it. It was just never in the conversation. What really sucks is that when I told my dad I was going to go to Paris and Italy and all these places, his reaction wasn’t the greatest. I think he was confused as to how and why given our finances. I knew there was a way. I believed and I honestly didn’t care. I usually do what I want to do, but it’s only because I was given that luxury. My parents sacrificed so I could have a life and education in America. As an immigrant, this would be a great accomplishment. Half of it is will. When you want something bad enough, you’ll truly make it happen. The other half is a belief, practicality, and a little luck.

However, sadly it doesn’t feel like some great accomplishment. It makes me feel guilty because I can’t share this with my family who’s worked so hard to bring me here, and then I have the audacity to leave and travel throughout Europe. But I have to give myself some credit too. I worked really hard my junior year to make this happen because I knew there was more. I knew I had to get out there and have new experiences. I needed a change of scenery. Even so, I know my parents are supportive, I just know they would have never dreamed of this. Their dreams are a little different and I know they are living through me but coming here just motivates me, even more, to give them the world. I just had to go see it for myself. I had to do this for me, and I learned that isn’t selfish. I’m going to use this experience and knowledge to bring it back and carry it throughout my entire life. The friends I’ve made, the language barriers, the learning, is all worth it. I’m grateful for it all, and I can’t complain because there are people in the world suffering, hungry, and going through the absolute worst living conditions.

I’m still in a bubble here, but being born in Bangladesh, I’ve seen poverty first hand. Even though being here feels like a vacation, I recognize the differences in government, culture, healthcare, and business here. The more exposure I get, I hope to use all of that to create some social change. Spending time alone and with those from very different socioeconomic backgrounds from you is so very important for growth and progression as a human being. Feeling blessed and incredibly thankful! Hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!! Peace, love, and blessings to you and yours. 



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Headshot of Raisa Haque.

Raisa Haque

Hi I'm Raisa, and I usually introduce myself by saying my name is pronounced like a bowl of rice and then uh. I enjoy writing poetry, taking photos of nature, and making playlists of all musical genres.

2018 Fall
Home University:
University of the Pacific
Milpitas, CA
Business Administration
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