How to Feel Good Living Abroad
This is it… here I am, ready to take off for Mexico City. Anxious, stressed, curious, happy–a mix of feelings floods over me. I’m leaving my beloved country…
The arrival in Mexico
The euphoria, the desire to discover a new country, a new culture, a new lifestyle–I’m SO impatient to discover everything. For an entire month this enthusiasm does not leave me. Meeting so many different people, tasting new culinary delights, walking around in a city so different from everything I know and everything I expected…it’s all so perfect.
But before long, loneliness begins to invade me. Among all these people, I am feeling alone. I am away from my loved ones, away from my lifestyle. Everything is so different here, and it is difficult to handle the adjustment by myself. But being alone is not new to me. Usually, back at home in France, I was surrounded by people, but very independent. I am both self-sufficient and a very social person with many friends who understand me. But here I am, facing a new life, and no one here knows me. I have to once again prove myself and create my own little world. It’s a big task, figuring out how to manage this loneliness, to not be daunted, to kick back and tell myself that the best is still to come and that this is all part of building an extraordinary experience.
So, as a stranger in a strange land, what can we do to feel good?
When saying yes to a job abroad, the first thing that dominates us is joy–joy to leave our country and discover a new one, joy to be able to speak another language, joy of knowing new people, and most of all, the joy of arrival in a totally foreign land…but once that euphoria fades, giving way to illnesses, unease, and the instalment of routine, it can soon get lonely and sad. It’s hard to enter a world where everyone already has their friends and life established on a professional and a personal level, and when they’re not as eager to make new friends and we are, it can be easy to let ourselves get depressed! This is where it’s most important not to let yourself get down. The more you can stay positive and optimistic, the more people will want to be around you and the easier it will be to acclimate into your new city.
The responsibility ultimately falls on us to make the effort to adapt ourselves to a new culture and new people. For more extroverted people, social networks can work wonders. Today, thanks to Facebook, we can meet a lot of people through online groups. But of course, as in our daily life, social networks can sometimes be quite superficial. It is difficult to actually become close with someone. Finding friends online is not necessarily recommended for every kind of person, as we are all different…
I think that the most important thing is to have a stable, quiet environment to be able to rest and feel at home. But this doesn’t necessarily mean being alone. For many people, it is essential to live with a room-mate, allowing you to practice a different language, meet people, and to live an authentic experience in your new country. It is also important to stay in touch with your family and friends. Even if there is a big time difference, making an effort to not cut off all contact and to feel supported is essential.
Moreover, we must do things that make us happy, find new hobbies, register for a team sport, an art class, language classes, etc, which will allow you to improve your language skills, meet new people, and feel connected to your new country.
Though it’s not always easy, living abroad is a unique and enriching experience that makes us grow and mature. Living abroad makes us realize what really matters in life. Living abroad is often an opportunity that only comes knocking once in a lifetime. You can meet beautiful people from all over the world that you never would have met in your daily life. You can share different cultures, ways of thinking, and ways of living. You can go marvellous places, admire magnificent landscapes. The only problem is that eventually you’ll fall in love with all these things, and never want to go home…