There is no secret that people have been leaving their hometowns and countries since the beginning of time. In the last decades, travelling and therefore leaving one’s country has become much easier and more affordable. That is why more and more people move abroad for different reasons. Most people that move abroad because they want to (not because they are forced), do that because of better job opportunities, love, search for adventures and new experiences, etc.
Moving abroad usually involves leaving people and places behind you. Sometimes the decision is or at least seems pretty simple, other times it’s quite difficult to leave your ‘old’ life, friend, places and habits behind and buy that one-way ticket and leave. It is even more difficult if you go alone and to a place where you don’t even speak a local language. But this kind of decisions, very difficult at first, tend to turn out the best decision at the end. (However, you can never really predict the future, can you?)
When you leave and settle in a new country, you soon learn many new things about yourself, a new place, you make plenty of new friends, find a new job, explore new places, etc. In my experience, it takes about a year that all pieces fall to its place. Though there are always ups and downs, but hey, this is life. People at home, usually don’t see the struggle, just the nice photos and a ‘good life’ their crazy friend is living abroad. No matter how bad or good the life aborad actually is, here are some unpredictable struggles awaiting for you.
1. You will be alone.
This thing isn’t necessarily bad if you know how to enjoy your own company. Sometimes you will also feel alone and lonely. This might actually be a blessing in disguise because it will encourage you to meet new people. Some of these will stay acquaintances, others might become real friends. The downside of leaving abroad is that you will have to cope with many things on your own (at least at the beginning), meaning dealing with bureaucracy, being alone while being sick, etc.
2. You will be misunderstood.
The spoken language is not the biggest language, I mean in 2018 everyone can use a translation app, body language and gestures can actually cause more problems. As well as ‘unwritten rules’ of how to behave and react in certain circumstances. It takes time to immerse in a foreign culture.
3. There will be many farewells.
Just when you will start to feel comfortable and make many new friends, some of them will leave the city or country. I guess June is one of those ‘expat farewell’ seasons. Farewells become a bit easier to cope with after years, but you never really get used to them. Your skin will get thicker, or you will develop somewhat a defence mechanism. If most of your friends are students or been sent to a country by a company for 3-4 years, then you are especially lucky, because you will lose many friends at the time.
4. You will have to start over many times.
This one is related to farewells. A farewell always means time to start over. Sometimes you are leaving, sometimes others. Even if you are the one saying goodbye, returning back home after several years of living abroad is not very easy. Sometimes it feels like rereading a chapter of an old book, that you thought you have completed years ago… but now with different lenses.
Don’t worry, it’s not so bad after all. If you want to go, just go and explore the world. On the way, you will learn a lot, make a lot of friends, memories… But do remember, a Foreign Land is not always the land of milk and honey.