“Adventures Fill your Soul”
Travelling, studying and living abroad is now more possible than ever, and I have been lucky enough to do it all. Having studied abroad meant I needed to move and work added more moves and experiences. From Prague to Monaco and now in Paris (still having London in mind). I moved to Monaco in September 2015 and to Paris in November 2016. I hadn’t lived with my parents for 3 years before I moved to Monaco. I was at a uni in Prague, while they were 20 minutes outside of Prague. I always used to always have the weekends off to visit them and we had a chance to meet during the week over lunch or dinner in the city. And still, even though I was in a different city, I felt like I am home, within the same country, in my little bubble. I have always talked about wanting to move out of my country, but in my mind, I have never thought I had the courage to do it, for me it was just what if, should I, maybe. I did it, but it is not all that sweet and easy all the time. Being away from your family, especially when the family is growing can be hard. You don’t see your nephews, nieces or small brothers and sisters to grow up as often and being away from your friends and trying to make new friendships can be tough. So, what are the pros and cons of living abroad? Ultimately, it all depends on your personal situation, how far away you are, family dynamics and personality. Because what might be my experience, might not be yours.
Personally, the positives are definitely winning in the long-term, because I just know that if I decide to come back to Prague, I will be a much better person, more empathetic, appreciative, grateful and open-minded. These are the top positives that I find are beneficial for anyone living abroad.
Exploring new places
Living abroad is one big adventure and ride. At the beginning, you are sad you leave, a tear or two can appear on your face, but it also feels like vacation. You are all excited to explore new places, you get to know new culture and point of view, you see new sites and everything just seems different and new. Just like short vacation, it brings new adventures and experiences that educate and fill your soul.
Just like travelling, living abroad puts you into a perspective. Have you ever experienced the feeling of appreciation? You just suddenly realise what you have back at home and appreciate it so much more, being it family, friends or places you like. It also makes you appreciate the opportunity you have had, since for some, it might remain a dream. In a way, it can make you more humble, which is never a bad thing.
The experience also makes you richer from within. Being alone in a new place and having to take care of yourself pushes you to grow up, experience new things and be a bit more independent, whether you like it or not. It also allows you to get to know yourself, how you can handle unknown situations, how easy it is for you to make new friends, how you handle being alone and being away from your family and so on. Yes, you can become more independent, yet I am still sending screaming and panic voice mails to my parents whenever I am stressed about something. This can be getting a new mobile number while every operator tells you they need different documents, finding an apartment or bureaucracy in general. THANK GOD for Whatsapp 😀
Quality of relationships
Living abroad can actually improve your relationships. It makes the time with your close ones so much more special and you start not to
get mad about silly things. On the other side, you can realise who are the right people, true friends and family in your life. Do your friends still care whn you are abroad, do you still connect? I was never the person with tons of friends, I have several very good ones and family and those really stick. For me new friends are made on the basis of seeking quality, not quantity, which is also the case with Ari.
Cultural and Emotional Intelligence
I have always loved travelling, but living abroad is definitely another level. You get to know new places on a much deeper level, just like the overall culture and the people. This allows you to become more open-minded and accepting person to others. You kind of develop the intercultural and emotional intelligence, which can make you more empathetic. You see things that are different from your own country and it makes you reflect and realise that your way of doing things or thinking might be different and isn’t always the best, the only way. There is no one way of living and seeing other people, places and habits allows to bring the empathy from within, opening eyes opens your mind as well.
These are the main positives I have experienced, do you have some more? Each one of us has their personal journey, and I would be curious to read your stories. But, as I said, there is also the other side of the coin.
Distance from family and friends
Living in Monaco and Paris, despite a 1.5h long flight, it gets hard to see my friends and family. Crazy work schedules and not consequent days off, makes it hard to go back sometimes. I had my first ever 24h Christmas on the 25th of December (which is 1 day after Christmas in my country), but this is life. Distance from family and friends becomes common, it is not just part of living abroad, but also of growing up. It is the natural transition everyone needs to go through and maybe that is why living abroad can be so hard, if you are growing into the adult life. When you are going through college and first jobs, beginnings are never easy, and it won’t be easy, especially if your family and friends dynamics are based on very good and close relationships. Luckily, there is Skype, Whatsapp, and other technological tools, you can actually connect and share more than ever before. But of course, personal visits, meetups with friends become much harder. That is why the distance can eventually make you appreciate the time you have with them so much more.
We’ve all been guilty of FOMO, but living abroad can seriously play with you. Personally, I get do experience the feeling of missing out on something more since I have been living abroad. High-school reunions, University reunions, meetups with friends, trips and holidays, missing on family birthdays or new members coming into family, these are just some examples. The important thing is not to get sad or depressed about it, you need to realise that you are abroad for a reason. You moved out to pursue your dream, to gain experience. The same way you feel, others can feel too. Your friends can get jealous and think how amazing your life is, if they should do the same and your family the same. So, don’t be hard on yourself, everyone has these feelings being it “at home” or abroad. You will most likely always have a chance to catch up and make up for the lost time and events, and believe me, for the crucial moments, you will always make it work to be present or your family and friends will do the efforts as well.
With all the differences, distances and FOMOs, some doubts can arise. Did I make the right choice? Am I happy? Only some time will tell and you need to pay attention to your feelings. Before moving out, you need to consider if your foundations back home are strong enough, so that if something goes wrong, you have the support to come back and you have someone to come back to. Just like with travelling, living abroad makes you richer, more open-minded and truly richer on another level. It is not for everybody, some people love travelling, but would never live abroad, so that is the important point to consider. Maybe you love getting to know new places and cultures, but your home will always stay the same. Whatever it is your motivation and dream, do decide based on what you want for yourself, not what others want for you or expect from you. If living abroad is something you desire, go for it, it will be worth it. If you are happy, that is all that matters. Just like my dad says, life is about feelings.