Travelling and living abroad are experiences that I can genuinely recommend to everyone: they are valuable for not only meeting new people, learning new languages and seeing new places but also for gaining work experience, self-confidence and a clearer understanding of what you want – or don’t want – from your future. However, especially if you live abroad for a longer period of time or in several countries consecutively, you might experience some difficult moments. You can find many posts online about culture shock, but none of those prepared me for some of the experiences I’ve been through since I left my native country quite some time ago. Of course, all of them are moments I’ve encountered during my expat years – you might experience something very different altogether!
Mixing languages becomes a rule rather than an exception:
Everybody forgets a word or two sometimes, that’s perfectly normal. Multilingual expats can have it tougher: when you speak, say, six languages, they are bound to get mixed up in your head. At work, in the city, within friends… Prepare for misunderstandings and confusions!
Doing luggage becomes a form of art:
If you live in 3-month cycles like I do, you can’t carry all your possessions with you. While it’s deliberating to notice how few things you need for your everyday life, it can occasionally be incredibly frustrating when you have to decide between a pair of shoes and a thick coat. On the plus side: finding an item you thought you didn’t take with you feels like Christmas!
Time spent at home or with your family becomes a privilege:
Many young people go abroad to get some space from their families, but once you’ve been on the road long enough, you start appreciating every effort they make for you. Don’t confuse this with home-sickness, though: the sad thing of staying abroad is that you just get used to not having your family around. Too bad you can’t hug people online!
Can you recognize any of these from your own travels? Feel free to share all tips for making the most out of an expat life!