As long as I can remember I have always wanted to spend some time living abroad, immersing myself in new cultures, new lifestyle and having somewhere else which I can call it a ‘home.’ At the beginning it was a lot of stress and heartache moving abroad but the pros far, far and far overweigh the cons. There are so many things which change suddenly when you move away from your home country, but at the same time those changes start changing you in a way you have never expected before. Because when you turn your life in journey filled with lot of uncertainties, you start growing up in unexpected ways.
Facing new challenges, getting to know some amazing things about yourself and the world around you is always exciting to everyone. For me moving abroad is the thing from which you learn, you broaden your horizons, embrace a few lessons, you start growing in humanity, you evolve and you start understanding different people with different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Of course you also feel homesick but at the end you shape some memories that will stay forever with you.
“Home is now behind you, the world is ahead!” When you carry the same attitude with you, it is just easy to take some potential steps towards your overall growth of being flexible person. There are some things which I think change forever when you move abroad.
1. Life turns into powerful mix of emotions –
The moment you decide to move abroad, you start feeling stress from all sides of your life. All of a sudden you have to undergo learning, improvising, dealing with unexpected in a new place with new people, new habits and new challenges. The word “routine” is removed from your vocabulary for a while.
2. You learn to say goodbye, no and …….. Learn to enjoy yourself –
This is what you call the perpetual battle between nostalgia and pragmatism. You practically manage the right balance between holding and letting go when you realize that now, most things, most people in your life are just passing through, eventually having you to play down the importance of most situations.
3. Patience is the thing which was missing before –
When you live abroad; the easiest tasks can become a big challenge. For example – paperwork, taking a right bus, finding the right word to speak and so on. But these moments usually filled of distress always keep supplying you the more patience, which you never knew you already had it in you.
4. Ask for help –
You learn this thing really quickly that asking for help is not inevitable, but also a very healthy habit.
5. Time is measured in terms of moments –
When you look back from the car window, everything moves really slowly but in front your life is moving in a full speed. While when you get to know about the birthdays, marriages, celebrations you missed also you couldn’t say a one last goodbye to some people who left you forever, then you realize the pace of your new home life which is already going at the top speed. You have to count your life in moments of Skype calls, text messages etc.
6. Nostalgia strikes when you least expect it –
The smallest things in your life starts overwhelming you with homesickness. A food, a person, a song, a moment and actually everything you start relating to your past. You feel like giving everything to go into the different world, even if it were just for an instant. Otherwise you start sharing the feeling to someone who’d understand you….
7. You are not the same person you were. You change!
Living abroad will profoundly change your life and who you are. It will shake up your roots, your certainties and your fears. Perhaps, you won’t realize it or even believe it until you actually do it. The scenery changes outside your door along with everything and everyone once you knew. The impact on you is huge. You might not realize itquickly but you will surely know it one day the reasons behind it. You grew, you evolved, moved on. You faced challenges, setbacks, hard times and dealt with them on your own. You overcame obstacles, faced tough times and you have scars to prove it. Things that were once important no longer matter and which did not seem important before matter more. Familiarity is forgotten concept and you just can’t take anything for granted.
On this international journey, you learned more than just the differences in everything but along with it, you faced challenges, got to know parts of you that you never knew existed and you are surprised at what you have become. You are different now. You changed!
8. Anything is possible now!
Old “you” is distant memory now and you start thinking about what you can do now and what you achieved. You can do many things like, traveling further, speaking another language, cooking variety of food and embracing different cultures. Your mind is wide open to frequent opportunities, approaches to strangers with confidence and you are ready to kiss a goodbye to your former home comforts! Your confidence in surviving anywhere, being happier, more content and less restless version of former “you” is the true feeling of freedom. Finally you are free. You have freedom to explore. Freedom to choose whatever you want. Freedom to be yourself. You are totally out of your comfort zone and made a life for yourself thousands of miles from home.
9. When you go back, everything looks the same –
You get a few days off and fly back to your home with lot of excitement and curiosity, it strikes you that everything is almost the same. Your life’s been changing at a non-stop pace and on holidays, you are ready to share all those anecdotes you’ve been piling up. But, at home life is same with same routine and same struggles of everyone. Suddenly, it strikes you: Life won’t stop for you, keep living!
(Author is student of Heidelberg University of applied sciences, Germany)