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Originally published: Common Sense
Several weeks ago, I finished my first year of medical school and began the arborous drive from Kansas City, Missouri, to California for a summer research position. When I was just six minutes away from my destination, my car of 21 years decided to break down. It is important to note that I am studying in the United States as an international student from Canada, and despite growing up as a neighbor from the north, much of the U.S. and its various systems are foreign to me.
As midnight approached and the smoke started billowing out of the front bonnet, I found myself pulling off to the side of the road in a city unfamiliar to myself. I quickly took all the essential paperwork from my vehicle – F1-student visa, passport, insurance papers – and found a rock a safe distance away, where I proceeded to call my parents and quickly realized how clueless I was in navigating what to do next.