So, let’s pretend that until now you’ve lived with your family, in your hometown with all your lifelong friends and where you live a busy and happy life.
However, there’s something that has repeatedly attracted you. Your biggest dream has always been to study and live abroad.
You’ve struggled for it, dealt with so many obstacles in order to make this dream come true, and finally that moment arrives.
You’re excited, super excited!
You have your own place, a cozy little apartment, and your classmates come from so many different places, some that you didn’t even know they existed. You have the opportunity to be whom you want in this new, undiscovered country.
This, “perfect life” feeling will probably last for the first 1 to 2 weeks, maybe 1 month… then the next feeling will arrive: the realisation moment.
Despite loving your new apartment, no one will be there with you while you have dinner, no one will be there to share the “how was your day?” story – even though you might have hated that question while living at home. Your classmates are interesting people, but maybe because of cultural differences, or the fact that some of them already know each other, it is not that easy to make new friends (that are not just interested in partying with you). You didn’t actually consider that although everyone speaks English, local people are very withdrawn to themselves, and every time they talk is like if they are using gregorian music as a speaking language.
And yes, you have complete support from your family and friends. Thank god for Skype, Whatsapp, and social media nowadays, but of course they are not always available and in the end you are by yourself. Facing your new life, the life you wanted. But was this the life you wanted?
Okay, this little short dramatic description sounds worse than “The Little Match girl Story”. But dear friends, it is actually all true.
My expectation when I left home was to finally live the exhilarating life I always wanted. (By the way, I do now! )
But the biggest thing I realized after the first difficulties and discouragements was that I couldn’t pretend to be busy and at home in a place where I just arrived. It takes time. I lived 18 years in my hometown, 18 years of knowing people that eventually became my dearest friends, which made me connect to other people and made me get out and do things.
How could I pretend to have all this in just a few weeks?
You simply can’t. You have to give yourself time to understand the new environment. Be open and try new experiences even if they don’t attract you that much, because something nice could always happen (and if it doesn’t, well, at least it kept you busy and you weren’t at home thinking about your loneliness). You have to be patient and strive to stay positive.
Now, if you’re an expat (18, 25, 45… no matter the age), maybe you’re not encountering these particular problems, but you may have other challenges yourself. If you are reading this and are facing the “realisation moment”, trust me, IT’S WORTH IT. You can’t even imagine what will come out after this stage, how many things you’ll have learnt…things such as:
– New aspects of yourself you didn’t even know about, which will eventually be so useful in the future when facing new situations.
-Learning to stay by yourself and become aware of how precious that time is.
-Daily-life circumstances and realizations (example: bills are not paid magically by themselves, you have to actually remember every month to pay them… and yeah it’s money, real money!)
This list could be really long so I’ll stop here, but I hope you got the point.
Moral of the story:
Even if you’re 100% sure about doing this experience, be prepared. Things are not all rainbows and unicorns, but dealing with it and taking the best out of it will make you stronger, more proud and definitely able to face future challenges!
Don’t give up. Don’t withdraw into yourself. It’s one of the best opportunities you’ll ever have.
Do you know anyone living this phase? Share this post with them, it could help them to hold on and give them a little comfort 😉