Long time no talk. I feel like the last few weeks have been a whirlwind and I just wanted to catch you up but also share a few things that I've learned this past year. If you're reading this for the first time - I moved abroad to London, England to complete my Master's degree - I have SINCE moved up to Scotland (for an unknown amount of time) to work @ a hostel & explore the highlands area. It has been an INSANELY crazy, awesome year and looking back on it I'm just in awe at some of the things I've been able to accomplish. However, I've also learned a lot along the way that I feel is valuable and useful to those who are considering moving or studying abroad. I want to share these with so, continue reading for the lowdown on what I learned moving abroad.
1. There are STILL good people in the world
I firmly believe that we underestimate how nice some people can be and how actually good people can be. We live in a world now where destruction, heartache and negativity are at the center of everything - and yet we overlook the good things that happen and the good people who still inhabit the earth.
When you move abroad, you realize that there are still people who just want to see you smile, who ask how your day is and genuinely are curious to know, and who will welcome you with open arms to their country, home, and lifestyle. I'm not saying that there aren't people in your own home country that aren't just like this, I'm just saying that when you move abroad - your senses are heightened and you start to recognize things that you might have been missing or just not focusing on back home.
2. You will become an A+ problem solver
You are going to be put in some of the weirdest, most uncomfortable, most awkward situations while you are abroad. Guaranteed. I don't know if I've met anyone, yet, that doesn't have an interesting story while traveling through the world or something they've had to figure out and navigate. If you aren't already a good problem solver, fear not, because moving abroad will make you an A+ one by the time you leave.
You will learn to navigate new cities with NO CELL PHONE reception and you will like it - I promise and you will figure it out. You will learn how to get from point A to point B in the most efficient manner and when the bus doesn't show up or the train is delayed - you will figure it out and what's next. You will learn how to meet and deal with new and interesting people from all across the globe despite the language barriers. You will have to figure out how to set up a bank account, amongst other things, once you move to this new city. There are so many things that are going to happen but don't let it get you down because it's building you up to be a better problem solver and well rounded individual.
3. You will gain and lose relationships, abroad & back home
Hey, I know, it hurts but this one is the truest of them all. You will lose people. It's a fact of life and a process of being human. Distance sometimes puts a strain on relationships and if both individuals don't work towards that relationship, it can be easy to let it slip away out into the distance. This is a hard fact I had to come to terms with. I think, also, that people genuinely just grow apart and when you are at different stages in your life - it's hard to relate or keep up with one another - but it's especially hard when you are continents apart. You will also gain some really amazing relationships and meet some really amazing people. Some people are temporary and will come in and out of your life before you can blink. Others, you will make lifelong friends with and make plans to visit each others countries again at some point. Things happen, people grow, and life goes on. It's a fact that you will have to accept as you grow older and it's definitely something that happens when you move abroad. I don't know anyone who's not gained friends but also not lost a few as well from moving abroad. It's a two way street, I believe, and if you both don't work at it, it can fall apart.
4. You will learn that technology isn't everything
I went an entire year without technology, and by this I mean a television, movies, and radio (nope, I know no new songs) and I was perfectly fine. Also, when you travel to certain countries, even if you get a international plan (or a International cell phone), it isn't always going to work in the country you are visiting. So you might actually have to just stop and enjoy the scenery every now and again. Trust me, it will do your soul some good to pause, take a breath, and do without texting, snapchatting, instagramming, facebooking and all that other stuff.
5. You will grow to enjoy alone time
I used to think that I could never go to dinner by myself because I would look like a loser. Or that I couldn't travel by myself, because that's terrifying. That I wouldn't meet interesting people from all walks of life on my travels. You name it, I thought it. I thought being alone was a bad thing, essentially, but what I realized was that it's actually quite good for you. It gives you the opportunity to clear your head and regain a sense of sanity. This world can be so crazy sometimes and we are constantly busy and running amuck.. so it's good to just unwind, by ourselves, and remember what's important in life. We need to stay healthy, sane and happy during our travels and honestly the best way to do that is to spend some time alone. Figure out something you can do by yourself or that you like doing i.e. read a book, journal, take photographs, meditate, do yoga, whatever! Do whatever it is that will renew your energy and your mind. Trust me, traveling is taxing and even more so when you are doing it with people you are unfamiliar with. So do yourself a favor and make some time for YOU. Also, get out and explore your new city, that you've just moved to, by yourself! Take time to familiarize yourself with the surroundings and begin to settle into this new world!
This is just a small list of the things that I have learned abroad that I believe are translatable to anyone who is moving abroad. It is definitely not the full list and it's definitely to each their own really but I believe that these five things are, in general, going to happen when someone moves abroad and starts a life in a new country.