University of Moratuwa, Katubedda, Sri Lanka.

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Glimpse: Of the life of an Expat Rotaractor

Rtr. Sumudu Herath is another Rotaract Alumni Mora members who is now an expat in a foreign country. He resides in the United Kingdom, where he is a PhD Candidate at the University of Cambridge. Here is the experience of his life that he shared with us.

Q: Our first question to you is our usual starter question. Why did you choose to reside in this particular country for your life as an expat?

There are many reasons to reside in the UK for higher studies. But I would highlight these as the drivers upon my decision. Top quality research facilities, Prestigious institutions, English language, Supervisor influence and of course the ease of preparation on application point of view.

Q: Very informative. You seem to have been very positive about your new chapter of life.

Yes, I was. I already had some overseas living experience before coming here for my PhD. During my internships in Germany and Switzerland, I was able to survive pretty well given that lifestyles and standards were pretty high compared to Sri Lanka.

Q: But I am sure that the new life was not a bed of roses. Was it?

It wasn’t. There were many challenges that I have to face this new way of living. The major challenge was to live all by myself and far away from family, friends and loved ones. This is something I anticipated as well.

Finding good and convenient accommodation is the next on top of the list. Since my university did not provide on-campus accommodation to the researchers, I had to look for housing options outside.

The next challenge was companions. The lack of Sri Lankans at Cambridge made it quite an alien world at first, but eventually, I started to hang out with foreigners.

Q: Making home in a land away from home, is indeed an opportunity to live and experience these words, aren’t they? How have you experienced friendship when you were new to this land?

Working in very diverse conditions and people coming from different countries and background was definitely an opportunity to experience friendship at a whole new level. This allowed me to understand different perspectives of life and still be friends with people and get along with them. In the end, it’s not the background or the culture that matters the most, but one’s positivity of thinking towards life and beyond life.

Q: How have you experienced the value of differences of culture and/or creed?

Cambridge is almost an international crowd where you get to meet people from all over the globe with all colours of the rainbow. Differences make the social lives better because of all the new things we get to experience and share with others. And the most important factor for the success of this kind of living is the “mutual respect” when working with an international crowd from all corners of the world.

Q: Have there been times when you have needed help from those around you?

Almost every time when I get a research question or just casual life problems it’s the inner circle that always comes to help. Their helpfulness has made me to a person who never hesitates to give my hand to someone in need because I know a simple thank you wouldn’t be enough to appreciate and repay the true meaning of friendship I have received from my friends.

Q: Wrapping up this very insightful glimpse, what are the key messages you would like to share with us?

For us Rotaractors, friendship has no barriers. This is the key to a successful life as an expat. Respect one another, despite differences between them and yourself.

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