We all start somewhere. Even after you’re born and you grow older, we all have new beginnings. When it comes to living somewhere new, I learned how to detect certain diseases/feelings/symptoms that were new to me at the time. So here’s some of them:
- The issue: Isolation
The cure: Feeling 100% isolated can be really stressful. Especially if you don’t speak the language or you don’t feel identified with the culture. The first step to combat isolation is to go out. Explore for yourself, enjoy walking and the moments you create along the way. After you discover some places you like, I recommend trying an app called Meetup. Over there you can find different groups with common interests. Join the ones you like. It’s free. Meet people, hear their stories and also, share your struggles. Fighting isolation is not as difficult as it seems to be but I confess it can be a constant struggle (especially when people you meet are also moving somewhere else and so on). I can also recommend the couchsurfing platform. I’ve been there since 2011 and I truly love it.
- The issue: Exploitation
The cure: Immigrants have many things in common and one of them is for certain, an unpleasant feeling of extra hard work/exploitation. In some cases this can be a real problem. I’m not talking about working extra hours, I’m talking about equal pay for equal work. I’ve felt in the past that no matter how well I did my job, I would never be as good or as well paid as native from that country. This is a feeling that can really destroy motivation and makes you seek an exit to a more sustainable and fair job. I recommend talking first to your employer and then starting your search for a brand new job. It’s fair enough to get used to a new culture and language, but, to be paid less than others with the same qualifications it’s intolerable.
- The issue: Unfulfillment
The cure: No matter how hard you work or study abroad, there are days and moments that look overwhelming. It’s alright. Take it easy. It might seem like “nothing is happening” or you are completely unsatisfied with your progress. But the key to fight the annoying feeling of unfulfillment is to be persistent. Continue doing what you’re doing. Because that makes a difference. Don’t give up. Enroll as many hobbies and free activities as you can. Again, the Meetup App can help you find activity groups to keep you busy.
- The issue: Missing too many things at the same time
The cure: It can be from the smell to the noise of the streets, once you get into a new habitat in your sub-conscience will start to miss the little things you were used to see every single day. For me it was graffiti, the sun, certain types of architecture and different kinds of people. Those things I’ve started to miss so badly that I came up with a solution: once I’m abroad, I extra consume media and literature from my home-country. It’s good to stay connected to your native language. Remember: in the end, it’s all about balance.
- The issue: “Can’t deal with this environment!”
The cure: There are equations you shouldn’t take too seriously, otherwise you’ll go mad. The combination of food you don’t like + the worst weather ever + people you’re not interested in plus an emotional disconnection to the language of that country, believe me, this is a recipe for not enjoying the time you’re actually there. Living. So breathe deeply. Take one step at the time. Do things in and out of your comfort zone. Never judge a book by its cover. Try first and make an opinion later.
How about you? What are your thoughts and struggles of living abroad?