Contributed by This is my Edventure
The idea of living and working abroad seems exciting and frightening at the same time. I mean, going out of my comfort zone and trying something new gave me a feeling of nervousness I had never experienced before. Back in the Philippines, life was at its regular pace. Living comfortably with my parents, my daily routine consisted of work and home, going out on a weekend (sometimes not even on weekends). So, if you are like me, and were given the opportunity to try to live and work abroad, here are my 10 things I learned while living abroad.
1. I learned to trust people
Trust is a big word, and lots of people will tell you never to trust others. Even our parents taught us not to talk to strangers. But hey, you will be alone abroad, and the only way to get through the day is to have friends who will be soon in your family. And the only way to have this so-called family is to trust them. Moreover, the world is filled with kind souls who will inspire you.
2. I learned to value time
From the moment you wake up until the time you go back to your bed, you will do everything for yourself: Preparing your meal, doing your laundry, cleaning your room, going to work, and so on. It will be hard at first, especially if you used to live with your parents who will do everything for you. While living abroad, I learned that time is gold. You will accomplish less tasks if you do not know how to manage your time. So, set priorities; finish tasks on time.
3. I learned how to spend the hard-earned penny wisely
Yes! Coming from me, most of my friends will not agree that I had learned this while living abroad; but yes, I did! During my first year of living and working abroad, I hadn’t saved anything. Instead, I was always present during mall sales, weekend brunches with friends, and the like.
After quite some time, though, you will come to a point where it is enough to have those same sets of clothes, those same pairs of shoes, and coming over to a friend’s house for lunch. I must tell you this, however: It is okay to spend your money on things like this. But after, you must save — after all, saving money is one of the reasons why you’re able to continue living and working abroad.
4. I learned to pretend
Pretension is not bad, after all — fake it until you make it. Fake it until you perfect it. If you are promoted to a new job that you don’t know how to do, accept it and learn about it later. Trust that you will do great and let your spark shine well. Learnings will come along the way.
5. I learned to rely on myself
At the end of the day, the only one who will understand you better is yourself. So, learn to believe in yourself. Trust that small voice coming from within you. You can do it! If you fail, go back to number 4.
6. I learned to get up during my lowest points
Sometimes, it is okay to just be lazy. Lock yourself in the room, close the blackout curtains, and cry. I am telling you, it is one of the best feelings in the world, to let go of all your worries and emotions. After that, you will feel light, you will feel renewed. Just remember where you stumbled and get up from that position.
7. I learned how to make connections
I am not just talking about work, but rather how to build your network, your friends. Personally, I made a lot of friends while traveling and living abroad. As I mentioned in learning number 1, do not be afraid. These people will contribute to your whole being even in their little ways.
8. I learned to get good points from others
You are like a jigsaw puzzle, made from tiny bits of everything. Try to see the bright side of each person you will meet along the way. Learn from these people. Bit by bit, take all the good points and soon you will see a beautiful picture of yourself.
9. I learned to pray
It is not that I didn’t know how to pray, or that I didn’t pray. But while living alone in a foreign land, it is God that I could talk to any time. He is and He will always be my way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, and light in the darkness, as the song by Sinach goes. God will always be there for you, in good times and bad times. If you feel heavy, just talk to Him and your burden will be lightened.
10. I learned that it is okay to go back home
After five years of living abroad, I have learned that it is okay to step backward, tone down, and go back home. There is always no place like home. If you feel uncertain, it is totally fine. You can always go back home and breathe the same air you used to. It does not mean quitting your dream, but rather preparing yourself for another life adventure.
I know 10 learnings aren’t enough to summarise everything I learned while travelling, working, and living abroad. In this crazy ride called life, one thing is certain — that life is a cycle, a never-ending one. It is a continuous process of learning, getting mistakes, falling, and getting up again.
Have you tried living abroad? Share one of your learnings below!