Students studying abroad experience intense emotions and some pretty tough times. But can it be called a tragedy when students leave their home to pursue their education in a different country? How many people today are concerned about what students go through when they first arrive in a new country? There's no denying students feel sad when they leave their families to travel abroad. In fact, on arrival in a foreign country they are like a newborn baby. They don't know what to do or what will happen next. Friendship, of course, is the best balm for curing fear and loneliness. Yet it may be rare to see a member of your own racial group at a time when you have to deal with a new culture and environment - without anyone's help. Students get homesick and often isolate themselves. So when they experience setbacks or failure, there is no one to encourage them and help heal their wounds. Such circumstances certainly affect their aspirations for gaining knowledge. A further blow is if a student comes to believe they are not as bright as they seemed in their homeland. They often start to doubt their own value and can suffer depression. It is doubly dangerous to doubt your own abilities at the same time you are enduring rejection by foreigners. Such despondent circumstances can make students feel as if they are living in the dark. Despite all these possible problems, studying abroad still cannot be regarded as tragedy. Clever students know the advantages of studying overseas outweigh the disadvantages. Their horizons are broadened, they become more independent and learn to make more intelligent decisions. Smart students will find the courage and the methods with which to turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones. They will look to the new culture and environment for inspiration. Overcoming difficulties is part of gaining experience in life. From this viewpoint, studying abroad is the perfect 'practice session' for more complicated problems later. St Augustine said: 'The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.' This supports the theory that studying abroad enables you to see more, learn more. So students should treasure the opportunity to study overseas and think of it as potentially the most exceptional time of their lives. Yu-yan is a student of Madam Lau Kam Lung School of MFBM Are you a budding writer with wit, style and a bag full of anecdotes? Write to: Personally Speaking, Sunday Young Post, 3/F Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, Tai Po, or fax us on 2660-5378. Tell us which school you attend.