As an International student, one the many problems you will face is home sickness! I come from Singapore, where the population density is slightly more than 7900 per square kilometre (that’s the third highest in the world) compared to UK which is only about 65 per square kilometre! As such, it was natural for me to feel lonely and bit isolated in Dundee. This applies to any international student from any other country which has larger population than the UK. The University has a great support system to really help international students in such cases; the staff, the specific country societies and the International Society all play a very important role in making sure students like us don’t feel this way, but nothing beats the comfort of familiarity and home! Though we can’t go home every other weekend like most of our local course mates, one way we can help ourselves get over this problem is by surrounding ourselves with people we know and comfort food! And that’s exactly what I did for my friends and myself the past weekend!
I am an Indian, so naturally the food I like is curry based and mostly Asian! There are a lot of good Asian and Indian restaurants in Dundee, no doubt in that, but I didn’t quite like the taste of the food that is being served here. I feel the authenticity of Indian Cuisine has been compromised to pander to a population mostly made of non-Indians. I don’t blame or criticise the restaurants for doing this (neither do I have the qualification or right to do so) but the food wasn’t to my liking; so I thought, why not I cook? (Something I regretted so much after that!)
It started with a small group of 5 Singaporean International students in my flat, but news started spreading, and soon it became a large group of over 20 people! So I thought to myself – Should I just cook for more than 20 people on my first attempt of cooking those dishes or should I just forget about the whole thing?- and I chose the former! *faceplam*. So this was the menu: Chicken Briyani (mixed rice made with spices, meat and rice), Authentic Chicken Curry (made from scratch), Indian style Mashed Potato, Baked Chicken (credits to my friend Jay for making that), and a yogurt-based salad (credits to my flatmate Ashwarya and friend Nithya for making that). Thus started the longest 5 hours of my life!
I started marinating the chicken the night before, and soaked the rice necessary for the briyani in the afternoon. Then with the help of some my friends who I had asked to come slightly earlier, I started cooking at exactly 4.15 pm and ended sometime around 7.30 pm which was when I could actually serve the food hot! I will spare you the details of the recipes and the problems I faced when cooking for 20 people (message me if you wanna know either!) All you need to know was that, that faithful 3 hours or so, my friends saw a different side of me that I hope they won’t get to see ever again! (Sorry if I was too bossy or demanding guys!) Regardless of me being so paranoid and panicky, the food actually turned out quite well! I was pleasantly surprised myself! Everyone there (mostly Asians) found the food good and very familiar, which was what I wanted since the start! The room was hot, stuffy, crowded just like back home! (Just kidding! Singapore is a lovely country guys, not that bad). I hope everyone enjoyed the food and companionship of everyone present there, at least I did!
Some Unforgettable Moments
I not only enjoyed it but also was so happy that I organised this. I don’t know whether the other international students who were there felt the same way, but I felt this event really helped me deal with my home sickness. It’s hard and not fiscally possible to go back home regularly to our loved ones, but one way to feel home is through food! And I believe all the hard work and effort I put into making each and every one of my dish that day served its purpose of helping each one of us meet other international that might be in the same boat as them, make friends or just have a good meal! The day was very tiring and I may not be doing that anytime soon but it was so satisfying and just what we needed at that point in time.
Reflections of Week 3
Home sickness is something all of us will feel even if you are from within Scotland. University is a new place for most of us and it’s never easy to be comfortable in a new place, nothing beats familiarity! But learning how to cope with it is very important. Change is the only constant in life and being able to adapt and learn is very important and is a very vital aspect of life that we have to accept! Of course, it will be hard, scary and inconvenient but at the same time it is crucial and necessary. We have to learn how to cope with it. Calling home and talking to our parents or loved ones is always a solution, you can hang out with people from where you are from, or if you are daring enough- you can cook some comfort food! Small things like these will really go a long way in helping you deal with home sickness. It may seem daunting and impossible at first, but if I could cook for more than 20 people on my first try; honestly, how hard can it be?