Bullying is uncool. Take it by the horns.​

The decision to study abroad is neither an easy one nor ever taken lightly. A lot of emotional and financial efforts have to be invested. But once the choice is made, there can be no looking back.

Most students, heading to top international study abroad destinations, plan thoroughly about their duration of stay in a foreign land. Many however, fail to consider the possibility of discrimination / being discriminated. Either racially or otherwise.

So, why are we talking about discrimination – a seemingly ‘negative’ topic? Let us assure you, it is for a very good reason.

As per some numbers, 3 out of 10 international students are victims of discrimination. The bullying could be in any form, but it does exist. No, its not cool. But it is what it is.

As an international student, such an experience could be overwhelming. It can potentially lead to emotional and mental distress, which could further lead to lack in confidence, self-esteem and a general sense of withdrawal from social life. But it need not. Here’s what you may want to do:

Stay focussed: Keep your eyes on the ball. Don’t let the idiots and what they say to you get to your head. Acknowledge their prickly personality, and just let them be. You remain focussed on your studies, your projects, the kind new friends you would have made. Ignore the fools and mingle with the ones who respect you.

Be tactful: There could be times when confronting the bullies may be the only solution. Do so, if you have to, but tactfully. You don’t have to match their meanness or level of stupidity. Remain calm, confront the bullies positively. In all probability, you my not make sense to them. Smile, and walk away knowing that you gave it back, but without indulging in any form of emotional, verbal or physical violence.

Reach out to authorities: Of course, if all else fails, make a formal complaint with college authorities. Don’t be worried, they are well-quipped to deal with such matters. Many colleges have anonymous ‘complaint box’. Should you choose to make an anonymous complaint, do so responsibly and not for the want of being revengeful.

Bullying is real, bullies do exist. Accept it. The reason for bringing this topic up is, obviously, to raise awareness about and against bullying. And also to point out at the fact that there are smart ways to deal with it. Remember, you are strong. Do not succumb to unpleasant situations or people.

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