I always say that living abroad and starting a new life from scratch, in a new place away from home, feels a lot like being born again. Except this time you may have to let go of some of your old beliefs about life and the world itself.
But how exactly is living abroad like being born again, you ask? Well, for starters:
1. You’ll have to learn how to speak a new language.
And isn’t that what babies do for the first years of their lives? Spoiler alert: Since you don’t have a baby’s brain anymore, this will be even harder now that you are an adult!
But there’s more:
2. You’ll need to learn how to behave.
Yes, your mother may be pretty happy with your good manners, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be appreciated or even understood in Japan or in India.
Every culture has its own set of social norms and rules. If you are living abroad, you’d better learn how to behave in your new country, so you don’t stand out for being a freak or accidentally offend anyone.
And this leads us to:
3. You’ll have to find new friends.
Living abroad can sometimes feel like high school all over again: you have to make an effort to fit in and belong. Now that your old friendships are far away, you have to find your new tribe because no one wants to be a social outcast. Not in high school and not overseas.
4. You’ll have to find your place.
I know, I know. Maybe you had your life all figured out back home. But now that you’re living abroad, you’ll have to find your place again. Whether at work, at school, or in your new community, you’ll probably start thinking a lot about who you are and who you wanna be.
So, in conclusion:
5. It’s tough.
Just like growing up, living abroad can be tough and confusing at the same time. Some days you’ll find yourself crying and bawling like a baby about all the things and all the people you miss.
Other days, you’ll be ecstatic and marvel at all the new experiences life is offering you—like a child feeling the rain for the first time.
6. …But it’s also a new opportunity.
Living abroad is also a new opportunity to become who you really want to be.
Maybe you’ve lost track of some old dreams in the process of becoming an adult. But now that you already took the leap and moved overseas, you realize you have nothing to lose.
This is your second chance to find your dream job, study again, start your own business, or simply live new enriching experiences!
Image credit: Vanda Mendonça
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