5 Things That Living Abroad Has Taught Me

Auckland cityscape, the Sky Tower, and the pink lightpath

It’s been more than 2 years since the Mister and I packed up and left our home country to live abroad. Yes, it was daunting, and it was definitely a leap of faith. Of course, going through a life-changing experience like this can teach anyone an important lesson or two. I’ve listed 5 things that our big move has taught me.

“Travel is the best teacher.”  – C. JoyBell C.

1. Resilience

There will be a lot of self-pity, doubt, and uncertainty, especially during the first couple of months. There will be heaps of tears and homesickness. Your comfort zone will get challenged ALL THE TIME, for a long time. But you just gotta suck it up and push through.

2. God/The Universe will provide what you need

Being in an unfamiliar place, thrown into unknown circumstances – you will tend to worry a lot. You’ll worry about your finances, your future, whether you can be successful, or whether your efforts will be all for nothing. I found out that a lot of things are out of my hands, but there is no need to stress. Things have a way of working out. God/The Universe (or whatever it is you believe in) will support you, and provide for you, whether financial support, or by sending someone to help you. Disclaimer: That doesn’t mean you don’t have to do your part. You still have to do the work!

3. Meaningful relationships are important

When we arrived in New Zealand, we used up a huge chunk of our savings and we only brought with us a few of our stuff. We really had to start from scratch (hence, item number 1 – resilience). When you’re in that situation, you appreciate the relationships that you have – because that’s basically what you have left. And you realise that you can endure a lot, and that you don’t need a bunch of material stuff, as long you have the people that are most important to you.

4. Adjusting to other cultures and keeping an open mind

You will experience being in the minority. Almost everyone else will look different from you. Most people will have their own mindset, behavior, and perspective, which are different from yours, and you’ll realise that that’s okay. 

5. Becoming more self-aware

According to a joint research, “going far from home can lead one closer to the self, with implications for significant life decisions.” As you try to deal with the changes around you, you tend to reflect more about yourself and your place in the world. Are your values really based on your personality, or is it what your culture/society dictates?

Bonus: How to make small talk

I have always been told to not talk to strangers when I was a kid, so I brought that with me to adulthood. But apparently, people in New Zealand like small talk. You have a quick chat with the cashier, with the store attendant, with other people waiting in line, with a cab driver. It takes a lot of practice, but I’m starting to get better at it!

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