This article about going to a boarding school in NYC was written by Safira Jendriza, a current student at University of Washington.

How would you feel if one day your parents decided to put you in boarding school? I had to go to boarding school for high school and even though it was the most terrifying thing that I had ever done, it was the best decision I ever made in my whole life.

I was scared to leave my comfort zone, going from an Islamic school in Jakarta, Indonesia to a boarding school in New York. I have always been a mama’s girl and the thought of going to school far away from home was quite scary. Not only would I have to be away from my dear family and friends, but I knew that I would also have to adjust to the lifestyle in a whole new country.

But I knew I had been living in a safe bubble throughout my childhood in Jakarta and moving away meant I would soon meet people that might have values or mindsets different than mine. I thought my parents put me in boarding school because they didn’t love me, but in all reality this has been the greatest gift and opportunity that my parents could give to me to understand the real world better. What I learned from going to a boarding school in NYC:

1.    The World is Bigger Than You Think

Going to a boarding school means having a study buddy from France, a lunch buddy from Vietnam and a roommate from Spain. How awesome is that? There is a myriad of knowledge to gather from each student who comes from different family and ethnic background. Even though sometimes the way we view things differently, we still can unite and value what other people think.

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2.    We Unconsciously Stereotype The Others

Stereotypes are easy. We automatically stereotype others much more quickly than we realize. You might find yourself thinking, “Oh, I don’t want to talk to them because they look different,” because sometimes we just want to be with the group that we think is most similar to us. But going to a boarding school made me realize that when you start knowing someone as a person, you unlearn all the negative stereotypes that society places on particular groups of individuals because at the end we all are the same. We all have a voice, passions, and goals. I think I learned how stereotypes are meant to depower and empower particular groups of people just to make one group look superior to the other.

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3.    You Don’t Need To Spend That Much Money To Look Fashionable

I used to not like buy clothes because I don’t like to spend money; yes, I am quite frugal with my money. But going to a boarding school, especially in NY, taught me that I don’t need to spend that much money on clothing to look and feel amazing! I can go thrift shopping in Brooklyn, or buy clothes and sell them again when I don’t want it anymore.

fashion ≠ $$$

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As I grew up, I realized that my parent love me and want me to learn, to become more mature and to see a bigger picture of how the world is. They always remind me that if they do not love me then why would they put me in a great school filled with opportunities to learn from class and that gives you a chance to make friends with people from all over the world. Even though leaving my safe bubble in central Indonesia was hard, going to a boarding school was a priceless experience!

*Find more articles by Safira Jenzidra here.