The Flatiron Building in New York City.

Moving far away from home to pursue an education is not an easy decision. It feels like a stab in the dark, and you might feel bad for wanting to leave. There can be a lot of mixed feelings and adverse reactions that can cast doubt on something you want. I want to reassure you, before you make your final decision, that wanting to move to another state or country is a valid desire. If you have made up your mind, you should be proud. I commend you for committing to it and being brave. If not, I hope this article gives you the necessary guidance to make such a decision. 

Before I start, I want to extend my congratulations to the newly admitted Class of 2025! You are on track for a great future. If it wasn’t the decision you expected, do not worry; life has many surprises. You will end up where you are supposed to be. I am sure you will do great things. So, regardless of where you come from or what university you plan to attend, hopefully this article will reassure you in your decision to move far away from home for a college degree.

Munich, Germany, the authorʼs hometown.
I left my beautiful hometown of Munich, Germany, behind to go to college. It has the same population as just the island of Manhattan (~1.6 million).
You Canʼt Please Everyone

For context, I went to a European school in Germany where students were expected to pursue higher education in Europe. It was inappropriate to move out of the continent, and there were no resources available for how to navigate the US college admissions system. I went through the process on my own with the help of two teachers I confided in. After I got into NYU, I eventually proved that it was possible to leave the continent, but thatʼs another story. 

Unfortunately, you will be met with a lot of criticism when you talk about going to a college far from home. Whether that occurs in your home, your school, or your community in general. As I mentioned, my school environment was not supportive. I feel you for being the odd one out or in an environment with judgmental people. You can’t please everyone—that is just how life works. So, surround yourself with people who do believe in you. For example, I surrounded myself with my parents, my close friends, and my two teachers. It helped me weed out unnecessary criticism and recenter myself. So, I encourage you to try this and KEEP GOING! I believe in you. You have made the right choice as uncertain as it might seem. Focus on you and the hard work will pay off. 

An aerial view of the city shot by the author on her first trip to the United States.
An aerial view of the city as I landed for the first time in the United States. (Excuse my camera quality, but you get the excitement!)
Priorities, Priorities, Priorities

There is a sense of unfamiliarity when it comes to moving to a college far from home. You have to look into what is going to make the unfamiliar environment familiar. Look into the various school resources and clubs that are going to help you create your home away from home. Prioritize what is going to make you feel comfortable. Personally, NYU’s status as the university with the highest number of international students and its location in the middle of a big city reassured me. This expectation of a supportive community and the ability to meet people from everywhere eased my decision to move. So, set some priorities for yourself. Whether that includes different clubs, a specific type of housing, or a campus without walls. No matter how big or small, if you meet your priorities, your transition will be much easier than you thought. 

A group of students posing in front of a statue.
A picture from one of the many photoshoots the dance club I joined—Dancers/Choreographers Alliance—sets up. Joining a club is a great to start finding community, especially when going far away from home.
“We” Made It

After admission, the moving-far-from-home question still remains. I was admitted early decision, so I was pretty much set. All my priorities were met, and I knew NYU was my place. As unpredictable as moving far from home is, it is the best decision I have ever made. Even with its ups and downs, the people I have met, the events I have attended, and the overall experience have reaffirmed the idea that I made the right choice. Creating a second home here is rather simple with all the different resources. I joined a Themed Engagement Community in my first year, a Residential College in my second year, a dance club, and became an Admissions Ambassador all while attending International Student Center events regularly. These are just a few mechanisms in place to help you find your community.

Each resource helps you create your home away from home. So, take advantage of them! By exploring all that is available, you will find the decision to go far from home worth your while. Remember though, the more you put yourself out there, the more success youʼll have. Those are my parting words of wisdom for you.

Making friends at the Holi festival, one of the few ways to make friends when going to college far from home.
Celebrating Holi with some friends in the Third North Residence Hall courtyard. What better way to socialize than to throw color powder in each other’s faces?!

This is my personal experience. I know going to college far away from home is not on everyone’s list. This article serves to reassure and guide those who want to give it a go. There is nothing wrong with wanting to stay close to home. You are free to choose the experience you want.

Right now, the University does not recommend people travel. Please be patient; you will have the on-campus experience soon. I cannot imagine how hard it is to make a decision at this moment. However, we are in hybrid mode this semester, and we expect to be 100 percent in person next fall (should the CDC guidelines allow it). If you have any questions about attending NYU in the fall, check out the Iʼm Starting in the Fall…web page. 

Neyl is a Junior at the Stern School of Business concentrating in Finance and Global Business and pursuing a Minor in the Business of Entertainment, Media, and Technology. Although his hometown is Munich, Germany, he has created a home for himself in New York City. Apart from being an Admissions Ambassador, he is an active member of the Dancers/Choreographers Alliance and loves creating choreography and performing with his club. On campus you will always find him every Friday at the International Student Center’s Foodie Friday event trying new food from around the world. Off campus you will also find him trying new food by exploring the many restaurants that the city has to offer. As a polyglot, he is a language fanatic and in his free time enjoys starting and never committing to a language, like High Valyrian, on Duolingo.