I have been living abroad for over two years now. In those two years, I have covered two countries with their own cultures. Since the day I moved out of my country, I have learned many things about life and myself. I would like to share some of these lessons with you.
As a tourist, the impression you get of a place is usually a bit different than it actually is. As a tourist, you look in from the outside. When you live in a city, you see it from the inside. How it actually is. You have to be realistic and understand that every country has its pros and cons. A place can be as magical as it seems but still have its negative sides. A place can also be the complete opposite of what a tourist sees while visiting for a short time. I have personally experienced both.
Living in a different country can make you really popular for being an interesting foreigner. It can also make you an outcast, make you feel misunderstood and lonely. In order to make it through adaptation and creating a new circle of friends, you need to be secure in yourself. If you’re not, you have to start working on it right away. If you end up alone for a while, you have to be able to feel okay about it. Get to know yourself, become your own best friend and be your own motivator.
Meeting new people is always exciting. That’s how people will think of you and you of them. Who are you? What’s your story? To some people, the excitement will wear off after a few times of hanging out, and they might stop contacting you. This applies to both friends and people you’re dating. As long as you know that people will walk in and out of your life, you will be alright. Soon, you will see who sticks around, and those are the people you should put your energy on.
Making an effort to learn the language is definitely worth it if you are planning to stay for a while. Speaking the native language will help you connect with local people, make you feel part of the culture and make you feel a lot more at home. In some countries, a foreigner making an effort to speak the local language means a lot. Your effort can make it or break it to some people. Watch locals being a lot nicer to you when you’re speaking to them in their own language versus when you’re forcing them to speak English.
This differs depending on where you are from. For me, coming from a highly developed country with equal rights, some things are just better at home. Don’t be surprised to find out that the living standard is lower even though the country you moved to is a developed country. Your ability to adapt to these changes is what will help you feel at home
Living abroad has helped me meet amazing people. Friends from all over the world and friends that have opened my eyes to things I never thought about. Living abroad has also helped me appreciate my country. I have realized that I grew up in a fantastic place with clean water, free education and peace. I am fortunate and incredibly grateful. Moving abroad is an amazing eye-opener, but also a way of reminding you of your amazing roots.