Our grantees| Maxim Oweyssi| The borders of abroad
23. December 2018 Maxim Oweyssi

The borders of abroad

The day I was leaving for Edinburgh, I was expecting a major change in my life to occur. I thought that, back home, nothing will be the same again, that I will no longer be a part of life in Prague. I thought that everyone will slowly but surely forget about me as I’ll be starting a new life in a foreign environment. In other words I imagined the classical picturesque cliché of escape and new beginnings.

The end of the semester is nigh and, looking my Scottish experience so far, I see that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Time is moving forwards and so are the limits of where "here" ends and "there" begins. This made me realise just how blurred this line in the sand is. Yesterday, after my evening lecture on Linear Algebra and Several Variable Calculus, I simply got on my bicycle, ten minutes later I was in my flat, half an hour after that I was on the airport, two hours later in Prague and the next morning, on the 17th of November, I was just on time to lay down a flower at Albertov, in memory of the Velvet revolution and the international day of students.

I think that studying abroad is no longer a question of escape nor loss of national identity like it must have felt like mere decades ago. Globalisation is tying european countries closer together like a shoestring and today, what matters the most are the contents of ones education, rather than where a school is located on the map. This is exactly why I don’t like the term studying "abroad", for that it implies some sort of a physical obstacle. Today, these are the least of concerns to a student like me. I think the main quality of the University of Edinburgh isn't that it's located in the Scottish capital, but rather it's high standards of education and superb research supported by the school. This is why, when my friends ask me what it's like to study here, I never quite know how to answer, because the real obstacles to overcome are not visible at first, it is the hours spent in the library, lectures and debates with classmates that help me to move and strive further academically.

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