The first 6 months are the most important. They will pretty much define how your overall experience will be. They give you a perspective, a sense of how things work. What you can do, what you can’t and what you must do.
Moving abroad is not an easy thing to do and you know it. Closing a chapter of your life to start a new one can be very challenging, especially if you love to be nostalgic about the past.
But, you are lucky! A fresh start is a luxury not everybody has. It’s like been given a second chance, a chance to discover who you are now and that person you are looking to become.
Except that, nobody told you anything…
A short welcome note
Whether you are moving abroad or you just arrived at your new city. Like everything we do, the beginning is always full of hope and excitement. Full of uncertainty and ignorance. But, it’s the innocence of the newcomer that will define how far your experience takes you.
Today I’m sharing with you two lessons I wish somebody would have told me back in 2003 as I began my life abroad.
Moving abroad will test you, and test you hard but, you already know that. So I guess you would agree that when you live abroad, life becomes a sort of like a mean teacher full of rough love.
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As time passes by, eventually, you see why patience is a virtue. Soon you will figure out that building your life in a new place, will take a bit longer than the three months you had expected…
A common assumption among first-timers, including myself as I moved abroad the first time.
This leads me to the first point.
When you move abroad, you expect that life will be a continuation of what you had at home but, in a different language perhaps and probably with different people.
And that’s fine, eventually, it does become your life, the thing is that you don’t realize is how long it took you to build the life you had at home.
Just think of the network you had at home, all the connections you had built, your family, your friends, and beyond. All that must be started again and from zero in many cases. You just don’t realize the value of it until you need it and it’s not there.
With that been said, I proceed…
Watch out the constant comparison. Comparing how things are at home and how they are at your new place is completely normal. But, one thing is sharing your culture and another is trying to point out how yours is “so much better.”
By comparing you seek to relate and understand your new environment, the problem is that it keeps you tied to your old one. It’s ok to be proud and perhaps you don’t want to disconnect and that is ok too.
Just think then what is the point of being at a new place. I can tell, if you don’t disconnect from your past, it will be very hard to connect with your present and begin the life you came to build.
You have to move on, just like everybody else will at home.
This means that you have to minimize the constant checking in with your friends at home or the news websites. All this will just make it harder for you to get used to your new place.
I don’t mean to take away your excitement, on the contrary, I want you to take that awesome attitude we all have in the beginning and motivate you to extend it as much as you can. For some reason, it fades away with time.
Make sure you push yourself out of your comfort zone every day. Look to experience new things, eat stuff you never thought it existed, talk to people you would never talk with at home (please, keep it safe).
And, above all, enjoy it! Be patient and be yourself, not somebody who you think you may need to be.
That is why,
I’m very happy to welcome you to one of the most intense and rewarding experiences you will go through. Embrace it and learn to love getting out of your comfort zone because life will push you and will not wait to see if you are ready for it.
You may have come for a year or two but, you never know where this journey will lead you. Just make sure to check in with yourself every now and then, you will be amazed to see how far it has taken you.
If there is somebody you know who may benefit from this post, make sure to share it with them.
I would like to know how was your struggle when you first moved abroad? What was/is the most challenge of the first 6 months? Please, share it the comments section below.