A mere 10 months ago, I set foot in Durham, embarking on a journey that would not only fulfill my dreams but also reshape my life in ways I had never imagined. It feels like only yesterday that I stepped into the world of Duke’s MQM program, yet it’s astounding how much I have grown since then.

My dream of studying at Fuqua was born the day I watched a YouTube video of an MBA student passionately discussing her experience. I was captivated by the way she described the commitment and drive that permeated the Fuqua community. Intrigued, I reached out to various people connected to the school and was met with nothing but encouragement and support. This unique spirit confirmed that Fuqua was the right choice for me.

However, the journey was not without its challenges. As an international student, I was filled with trepidation. The thought of leaving my family, starting a new life in a foreign country, and the fear of making new friends was intimidating, especially as an introvert. But my apprehensions were soon put to rest. The diversity at Fuqua connected me with others who shared my concerns and experiences. Together, we created a home away from home, finding comfort in our shared journey.

This sense of camaraderie was only strengthened by the adversities we faced together. The job market, fraught with uncertainties, has been a significant challenge for many of us. Yet, even amidst the struggle, the supportive atmosphere at Fuqua never wavered. Simple words of encouragement from my peers like, “We’ll get through this,” or “You got this,” often provided the motivation I needed to keep moving forward.

One of the standout aspects of my Fuqua experience has been the focus on team-based learning. This approach contrasts with my undergraduate experience, where most assignments were individualistic. Working in teams at Fuqua has not only honed my project and time management skills but also deepened my understanding of the value of relationships. I’ve been fortunate to work with amazing teammates who’ve been steadfast in their support, cheering me on in every small victory.

The program team at Fuqua has been another pillar of support. Having lived with my family my whole life, the transition to independent living while managing a full-time master’s program was overwhelming. But with the guidance of mentors and the range of events organized by the program team, I found a balance. The cultural celebrations during Diwali and Dusshera, therapeutic activities like dog therapy, and fun-filled karaoke and movie nights made me feel a little closer to home and added a dash of enjoyment to my academic life.

As an admissions ambassador, I’ve had the privilege of guiding other international students who faced the same doubts and questions I once did. It’s a role I cherish because it allows me to give back to the community that welcomed me with open arms. Looking back at these transformative 10 months at Fuqua, I realize I’ve done more for myself than ever before. The decision to step out of my comfort zone and embrace this journey has been rewarding, both professionally and personally. I am grateful for the chance to grow, learn, and to find a home away from home at Fuqua.