A blog post from SOLES MA in Higher Education Leadership Ambassador, Bianca Chau:
Bringing only two suitcases with me from Hong Kong, there was so much of me I had to leave behind. Luckily, I found a great group of friends who helped me along the way in getting settled and of course, the International Center (where I work at) and the Grad and Law commons has been my home away from home.
The first semester was particularly hard. I had to accept that supermarkets were no longer a walking distance away, my family and friends back home were asleep when I was awake, and cost of living was not more expensive, but different in many ways. Balancing studies, work, and my personal life was a lot harder than I thought it would be, too. I felt like I was spreading myself too thin across every aspect of my life – but I had a supportive group of friends that I made in San Diego that encouraged me to push through every part of the way.
Just a heads up for incoming international folks or for folks who are moving across the country to be at USD: it will take awhile to get used to living in San Diego and being a grad student at USD – and that is NORMAL. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, no matter how small you think the matter may be. That is how I got through. For example, I mentioned to a colleague that I only had a pot and a pan at home and the next day, she brought eating utensils, a kettle, and smaller pots and pans for me and I have been using them ever since. Acts of kindness like that really help you go a long way! So don’t be shy to open up about what you need and we will be there to help! As a Graduate Assistant at the International Center and being a SOLES Ambassador, my hope is to be that support group for any students who I can be there for.