Mumbai to Rhode Island

Mumbai to Rhode Island

Nitya studying Biology and English at the Brown University in her Junior year shares her journey of leaving the comforts of home and getting comfortable in a new country.


When I initially started considering coming to the United States for college, the excitement and stress of the application process, the essays, the interviews and the focusing on school took away the feeling of the reality of leaving home. Leaving home is scary and exciting, something you look forward to but fear at the same time, something you are told will be the best few years of your life. It only really hits you as something that is going to be difficult once you are just a couple of months away from going, when you start packing everything you need, filling out forms for housing, and realizing that you will not be coming back home for at least four months.

I, of course, experienced all of these feelings when I left for college almost three years ago now. More than anything, I was afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the ideal and the status that I had given it in my mind. I had given going to the ‘right’ college so much importance, that I was scared I would not fit in, and that all the effort, research and thought that I put in to the application would not be worth it. I still remember my first day, feeling like everyone around me found it so easy to talk to others, but I was the awkward one who had a tough time making conversation with people around me.

What ended up happening, however, through a gradual process, was that without realizing, my college became my home. Every time I had to leave to go back to Mumbai, I would be excited to see my family but also sad to leave my friends here. Living with your friends as opposed to just seeing them every day when you go to school is a very different experience, because you rely on your friends for things that you would usually rely on your family for – to bring you food when you are not feeling well, to make sure you are awake when you have an exam, to bring your book from home when you have forgotten it. That kind of a friendship creates a bond that intensifies a lot more than you would imagine in your years at college. I always noticed that my parents, as well as a lot of my seniors who were already at college, always said that their best friends were the friends they made at college, and that is definitely something that I have started understanding.

Nitya is attending the Bachelor’s program at Brown University. To connect with Nitya, click here.