Is the grass greener on the other side?
Easter break, a refreshing time for me. A time when I could reflect on my decision, to either stay or leave this country, which I am comfortable to call my second home. What will my future be like after this?
I came to Denmark in 2015 as an exchange student during my gap year after high school in Malaysia. I immediately fell in love with this country. I felt that here I can be open about things, I felt happy I get to see equality among people, I felt that this is the country where I want to build my life in the future, and to achieve all my dreams and career goals.
It was hard to learn everything from scratch and to be outside my comfort zone. I knew nothing about the Danish educational system, about not small talking on public transportation, or how to pronounce Å, Æ and Ø. I put effort into making new friends, learning the culture, and most importantly, having the determination to stay here in the future.
But I knew I couldn’t stay longer, as the education from my Malaysian high school was not enough. I opted to go back home to do my A-levels in Malaysia, but the dream to continue my education and to be here in Denmark never died…
Fast forward… 6 years later. Once again facing the same decision, to stay or to leave. This time, it would be harder, as I am in a relationship, needing to leave my family in Denmark, needing to reschedule all of my life plans.
I consulted a few people to hear their thoughts about it, like my mentor Alex Avanth, my supervisor Olimpija Zaevska and my other friends. People have reached out to me saying that they supported me and even offered help with the funding.
Before Easter was a really stressful time for me. I was in a tight spot thinking about how to fund my master’s degree here at CBS. Thinking about it made my heart beat fast, as I was racing against time. The deadline was the 1st of June, and I only had 2 months to find DKK 57,000! How would I get that amount of money in 2 months?
I made an Excel sheet listing all the foundations that were available in Denmark, I applied for some education loans, wrote to some friends about how they funded their education here, friends sent me links to different funding sources, I sent inquiries to foundations and the list goes on. Then, I stopped doing it because I came to a realization. What if all my efforts come to nothing?
Hoping to get funding, and in the end not getting it will just lead me to more stress! It’s not easy applying to and finding all these foundations! Why do I want to do this to myself?
It was not a sign of defeat to me, but more a sign of knowing that I should not expect too much because of the uncertainty of it and how risky it is to be gambling my future in the hands of these foundations.
Never stop dreaming
This made me reflect more on why going back home is an option too. In November 2020, my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 Parotid cancer. Being away from him was terrifying. The thoughts of losing him while I was away were honestly something I did not want to contemplate. Luckily, he is getting better now, from his daily treatments. But I knew for a fact that being near him would be better, as I can help him and my siblings out as much as I can.
On top of that, the idea of working in Malaysia is actually super exciting! I get to speak in the Manglish (Malay + English) accent, I get to learn more about the Southeast Asian region, trying for the first time to be in my comfort zone and using my 3 years of IB for something practical! It is not bad at all and I would say that the grass might be greener on the other side.
Probably by now, you can guess which decision I have made. Honestly, deciding this was not easy, as I had to consider everything (family, relationship, career, financial aspects)! But I am really looking forward to where life takes me in Malaysia with all the crazy adventures. Although my future is still uncertain, I am excited to be going back home to embark on this new journey! Who knows, maybe I will return to Denmark again after a couple of years and will finally get to do my master’s degree at CBS?
Because, as they say, never stop dreaming.