Today, Glimpse features the story of Rtr. Vipula Dissanayake.
Rtr. Vipula is a graduate of University of Moratuwa, specialized in the field of Computer Science & Engineering. He was an active member of Rotaract Mora during his days in the University and then of Rotaract Alumni Mora until his departure to New Zealand, where he now an expat. Here is a glimpse of the experience he shared with us, when we inquired about his life in the Kiwi’s nation.
Q: New Zealand is quite a different choice compared to the destinations selected by many undergraduates after completion of their degree. Why did you decide to travel to NZ and how has your experience in NZ been thus far?
The greenery in NZ attracted me and I am currently in Auckland, taking care of cows and sheep in greenish meadows. Haha! 😛
Well, to give you actual facts, I got an opportunity to continue my higher studies in NZ due to the transfer of the Augmented Human Lab in SUTD to The University of Auckland. I was actually delighted when this new avenue opened up for me, because, NZ is a country with natural beauty, nice weather and most importantly, friendly people. So, I accepted the opportunity that I was offered and I’m now reading for a Master of Engineering degree at Auckland Bioengineering Institute at The University of Auckland.
Q: Quite interesting! I can imagine your excitement when you heard the news of the opportunity in NZ. But didn’t you have any worries about the change that you would experience in life, when you have to move to a foreign land?
Yes, I was truly excited and was looking for a life full of fun and adventure. But as you said, I had some concerns about my new life. Adapting to a new lifestyle in a country with a different culture was one main concern. Knowing that I will be away from my circle of family and friends when I move to NZ was another concern, and this meant that I had to make new friends.
I would say I was able to face both these two situations easily than I expected. The real challenge was feeding me. Food was very expensive in NZ. So, I was compelled to cook for myself. Cooking has now become a habit.
Q: How was the experience of making new friends?
Making new friends was very enjoyable. But I must say, being away from my close friends at home, made me realize the value of the great time I had with them and the strength I had when they were around.
As I said, making new friends was enjoyable and making myself open to this gave me the opportunity to expose myself to different cultures and values in people.
Q: Tell us more about the exposure you got when you mingled with those who come from different backgrounds and cultures.
Moving to NZ allowed me to interact with a bunch of people from all around the world. Kiwis, Catalonian, Singaporean, Germans, Chinese, Indians and a lot more. This was also a good chance to treat my taste buds with food and drinks from those countries. 😀
On a more serious note, the acquaintance with these new friends has taught me many things. The unbelievably helpful and welcoming nature of people despite our differences in nationality, culture, the diversity of people’s view towards the life, the manner in which people tackle the life away from home are some of them. To elaborate on the last point, some individuals tend to be homesick while others prefer to travel all over the world and gather experiences, without wasting time being homesick. Haha! People are very different in their own way.
Q: Quite insightful. Seems like you’ve learnt a lot from your opportunity as an expat. In a nutshell, what are the key messages that you, as a Rotaractor, wish to leave with us, as a conclusion of your life as an expat?
Firstly, make new friends, take good things from their cultures and share good things from your culture with them.
Don’t hesitate to do what you like, provided that it doesn’t cause harm or inconvenience to other.
Respect people and help them whenever they need help.
Finally, always remember that life is not only about serious work. Take time to enjoy life through opportunities that come your way to explore the world…!