Home is where the heart is =)

So before I got here, I had the comfort of knowing that there will be someone to pick me up from the airport and help me settle down a little before I had to start living completely on my own.

I had no idea who these people were which begs the question why wasn’t I worried about that. Well, simply because OSU directed me to this website called the International Friendships Incorporation and my worries were laid to rest knowing anything referred to by the university is credible.

It was as simple as filling out a form, letting them know of my arrival details, and how long I need to stay with them, (the options ranging between 1-4 days). Soon after I was contacted by the people at IFI, providing me with contact details of the people I was assigned as my ‘host family’. Given the term, I’d quite literally expected a family but as it turned out, it was 3 girls, living in one house.

Since then I was in touch with these three lovely ladies. They were considerate enough to ask me about my food preferences, my agenda for those 4 days, whether or not I’d need a ride to some place, etc.

The entire process is 100% voluntary; these people sign themselves up as host families purely out of goodwill and the desire to help out.

Despite noticing how meticulous they were over email about the tiniest details to make me comfortable, I wasn’t quite expecting it to be as awesome an experience as it turned out to be. They had taken in not only me but also another international student who had arrived from China for her PHD in Sociology. I hit it off with them instantly and they were super nice to us. They cooked for us, they gave up their room for us, they took us out to meet their friends, took us shopping, and what not. To the extent that when I felt even a tad bit home-sick, one of the girls (Hilary), who has a Bangladeshi sister-in-law made me ‘chaye’, the traditional tea I had back home. Now how ridiculously nice is that?

My lovely ‘host family’!


Point being, I consider myself lucky to have had that opportunity, because not only did it ease me into the process of living alone, but I was able to make new friends as soon as I landed here in Columbus. I still talk to them regularly; in fact, the first party I attended in the US was at their new place that they just moved into 3 weeks ago.

These kind of things you never forget, these kind of people you never want to lose touch with and it was just nice to be welcomed; to feel so at home despite being so far away from home.

Overdue snippets from my transition to the Buckeye life

Okay, so it’s been a little late in the coming, but I have finally managed to sit down and get myself to write my first blog.

I apologize if it becomes a little monotonous, but I’ll have to work my way through these blogs chronologically, starting from as early as  getting all geared up for flying in to Ohio from halfway across the globe and then slowly work my way through to present day over a series of blogs. In order to do so, I’ll need to cover some basics about myself:

  • I’m 23 and I’m from Pakistan
  • I’m the youngest of 4 siblings, meaning I’ve been fed everything in a silver spoon all my life
  • I have a bachelors degree in marketing and finance
  • I ended up at Fisher simply because it’s one of the best business schools and it’s got one of the best HR graduate programs
  • Also, the more I read about Columbus, the more I fell in love with the city, and the more sure I was about Fisher being my final choice

So, first things first; for international students, packing for college when you don’t know how long you’re going for and when your next trip back home is going to be, basically equals stress, uncertainty, and anxiety. There were checklists, then those check lists were revised, then those checklists were revised so many times that I had to come up with new ones from scratch.

The process is too personal for me to comment on what I think are ‘must-haves’ and ‘can-do-withouts’. My only two pieces of advice would be:

  1. Plan well in advance–Even though the process overall entailed quite a bit of chaos, I’m very proud of myself for being able to spend the last couple of days at home with my family instead of being out and about running last minute errands
  2. Make sure you bring certain things from home that, well, simply put, just bring a smile to your face. No matter how independent you are or how exciting the idea of you being on your own is, I assure you, you WILL inevitably get home-sick every now and then–I brought pictures (obviously). But then I also brought along a pack of Pakistani candy that I absolutely love; I brought shalwar kameez, the national clothing of Pakistan, and believe it or not, these tiny little things make me feel better when I miss home.
For those of you who were wondering, that's what a shalwar kameez looks like
Me on my first ever Eid (religious holiday) away from home


Whatever you do though, don’t let your nerves get the best of you. Yes, leaving home is stressful and you’d like to make sure you have everything you might need, right down to a bar of soap for immediate use, but if you overlook it, breath. It isn’t the end of the world. This phase is nothing but the beginning of a very very exciting yet intensely challenging journey. So embrace it; don’t panic; don’t stress over it; in fact, try enjoying every bit of it.

That’ll be all for now. I shall revisit soon hopefully, with a more frequent influx of blogs from me, taking me through to present day. Ciao!