From Kathmandu to Hammond


Prakriti Adhikari, Staff Reporter

Every individual has their own bubble where they are comfortable being themselves. A space where they can easily speak out their thoughts and ideas without having to think of anything. There is no hesitation lurking inside, stopping them from exhibiting their best abilities. In simple words, every person has their own comfort zone, a space where they do not feel any tension. To me, that comfort zone was being in the environment I was born and grew up in.

My decision to study abroad in a country whose culture is entirely different from what I grew up in has been the most demanding one, where I am compelled to step out of my comfort zone at all times. From speaking in a language that is not my mother tongue, eating foods I rarely used to eat and studying with different approaches, every step of my life brings me challenges. Even after a year of being in the United States, every day brings me a riddle I attempt to solve.

My comfort zone lies in speaking Nepali, the language where I learned to speak my first word, my first sentence. In spite of having learned English as a part of my schooling, Nepali is the language my brain thinks in. Every thought that is processed in my brain happens in Nepali, which is then translated in English to communicate. Having to speak in English to have each of my ideas delivered is not an easy job. The toughness heightens as American English differs from the British English I learned. If you do not believe that it actually causes problems sometimes, here is an example. When I first went to order a sandwich in Subway, I had a tough time. The lady did not understand the word which was very commonly used as I grew up. “Capsicum” did not make sense to her, and after about five minutes when I realized I could use the alternative “peppers,” my order was finally placed.

I open the tap. Americans open the faucet. I eat a biscuit, my friends eat a cookie. I wear a sweater, and people here wear a jumper. I never heard of homecoming or tailgating in my life before coming here. The funny thing is, in the beginning of my days here, I attempted to give an explanation of my entire week for “What’s up?” My teachers at high school taught me how to write a paper in English, but I never learned these things. By coming out of my bubble, I am learning new things every day. I am learning about a different culture, and I am glad that I made the decision to have different experiences in life.

Even if it may be harder in the initial phase, it definitely pays off to step out of one’s comfort zone. One does not necessarily have to travel to a different country as I did, but attempting to do things that they are not knowledgeable about can be a learning experience. Today, even if I am living far away from my loving parents and do not have their guidance in every step, I am learning to be independent. From simpler things like loving cheese, which I once preferred not to eat, to complicated things like making life decisions, I have definitely benefited by stepping out of my comfort zone.

I admit that a few times initially, I regretted having come to America, but now I love being a part of the university. I love being able to understand the American culture. I love understanding things from viewpoints of different cultures. I have not forgotten to address a crowd with a speech in my mother tongue. I still pour my thoughts on paper in Nepali. However, I absolutely love speaking in English. My passion for writing in English has only increased with time. So, I believe every individual should step out of their comfort zones. Who knows, you might find love in those things that you thought were awkward and uncomfortable at first.