So You’re Studying Abroad, But Do You Really Need to Party?

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A soiree (party) attended by the author while he was studying in France. (Photo by Hanryano Yehezkiel)

We’ve talked about the application process, scholarships, the struggle of studying, among others. This time, we’ll talk about something normal, regular, yet somehow is deemed a taboo when we talk about living and studying abroad. Our contributor, Hanryano, weighs in his experience in balancing the fun and struggle of studying in France, and shares why he thinks that going to parties is actually a good thing.

When you go abroad to study, most people would think about the difficulties, cost, and hardships you need to endure in adjusting to new life and finding nearby support system. On top of that, there are people who cherry-pick the good things like prestige, the ability to live a ‘better’ life and even a chance to experience winter and snow. Well guess what, life is not always black and white. It is mostly in the grey area and you got to be able to strike a balance between the two.

Within this article I would like to cover something that has not been covered a lot previously: party.

Studying abroad, particularly in countries where it is considered liberal, entails going to party as a means of socializing and bonding, releasing stress and tension, and a good way to get to know the other face of a place you call home over the next few months or years. Nevertheless, coming from Indonesia where party is a connotation for bad behavior, it is frowned upon to talk about it in public. Even more when you are funded by the state which might consider partying as an activity that waste money and has nothing to do with the true purpose of studying abroad.

Before taking our prejudice, let us go back and understand that Indonesians love to party. It is just different from the good ol’ nightclub party that is usually referred to. We throw wedding parties, family gatherings, syukuran, halal bi halal and other kinds of activities that is similar to the essence of partying in the western culture.

A soiree (party) attended by the author while he was studying in France. (Photo by Hanryano Yehezkiel)
A soiree (party) attended by the author while he was studying in France. (Photo by Hanryano Yehezkiel)

When I was invited for a soirée, it was sort of a way to connect with the people you just met. It has proven to be an effective way to get to know other people and create bonds between you and your new acquaintances. From that, you can get close to them and eventually it is much easier to work with the people you already feel comfortable hanging around with. Who knows you will have the same project or even form a strong friendship that will stand the test of time until years to come. I met several people whom I never have seen before at school due to different class schedule and different programs. It is an opportunity to have good time, expand your network and also another reason to go out and explore the city.I would never go to another side of the town had it not been on party business.

Some Indonesian friends of mine who objected going to parties are the ones who consider everyone drinks alcohol. The answer is absolutely no!

It is a misconception that going to nightclubs or attending open bar party requires you to drink alcohol.From my experience, it is a good chance to see people in their ‘abnormal state’, by that I meant drunk. It is funny to see people behave differently in parties as oppose to being stiff and serious during the day, for instance. My Moroccan friends are all Muslims who obviously did not drink alcohol but I saw them in several parties which prompted me to raise the question. Instead of getting drunk like any other people, they would order juice and soda and have a good time dancing and watching people do silly things. That is a great way to release stress from the classes, projects, exams, and other demanding busyness of school.

A soiree (party) attended by the author while he was studying in France. (Photo by Hanryano Yehezkiel)
A soiree (party) attended by the author while he was studying in France. (Photo by Hanryano Yehezkiel)

Going back to reality, you obviously need to consider how to balance your time between your study, living, and doing leisure activities.Always have the mindset that you are there to study and you better make it your top priority. Sometimes it is easy to be carried away by the situation, the stress of deadlines coming up and you wish it’s 100 hours that make up a day instead of 24. Never let your guard down and remember everyone has the same amount of time in a day. Usually, parties thrown by student councils are arranged in accordance to the academic calendar. You would never see a party during exam period for sure. The best way to be sure is to ask recent alum about how the workload will going to be, and the assignment curve throughout the year. That way you are well-informed way ahead and start your journey with plans mapped out.

It is understandable that some people prefer solitude life whilst others prefer to be surround by others. The most important thing is to know how much exposure you want out of your study abroad experience and I can assure you going to at least one good party will leave a great memory and it might also open doors for your future internships by meeting new people and talk to them. Prioritize and turn plans into reality.

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Hanryano works at Indonesia Financial Services Authority covering Non-Bank Financial Institutions sector. He used to work in an e-commerce company where he was familiar with warehouse management system and the growing start-up community in Indonesia. Hanryano earned his bachelor degree from Institut Teknologi Bandung majoring in Business Management with specialization in Finance and Operations. During college, he was an exchange student at ESC Rennes, France and secured funding from the Ministry of Education. His time outside work is filled with learning new subjects, traveling, and volunteering.