When you’re living in an entirely new country, there’s a lot to take in. Sure, you might be somewhere where your native language is widely spoken, or where there are other young people doing what you’re doing, but that doesn’t necessarily prepare you for the culture shock of actually immersing yourself in an entirely new world. So, what exactly crosses your mind? Here are just a few thoughts…
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve planned for uprooting your life and moving elsewhere, it still seems massively difficult when it’s actually time to do it. Whether you’re venturing off alone, or moving for a job, partner or other fixed entity that gives you some form of security, it still feels like you’re jumping right in at the deep end. It’s natural – we all experience it. You might miss your friends, your family, your old life… but you’ll build a new life. It gets easier with time.
Visiting the Great Wall of China when my parents came
We all like to think we come from fairly modern countries. Sure, we can see the flaws, but if you’re from a developed nation, you like to think you’re fairly modern and tech savvy, having had access to all the things you could ever want in your life. WRONG. There are so many things when you move abroad that you hadn’t even considered, leaving you feeling kind of deprived. Thanks to the internet, we all know that you can get everything you love at the touch of a button, from online dating to online gaming in the form of online roulette, but the thrills in certain Asian nations just don’t stop. Over in Asia, Japanese toilets sing to you. Yep, they’re digital, too. And in China, just about EVERYTHING you could think about is techy and gadgety, leaving us feeling kind of left out.
Whether it’s the authentic flavors of real Thai food, Tim Tams in Australia or drive-thru EVERYTHING over in the USA, we can often question our own humble backgrounds in the face of better things in our new home. It’s so easy to forget the good things about our home nations when the grass is always greener on the other side (at least at first, of course). Obviously, after a while, you find yourself grumbling about how your new city has gone without all the things you love about home. But, at first, you just fixate on all the sparkly new stuff you’ve never seen before.
Sometimes the biggest shock when you move abroad is finding out that the systems you’ve always taken for granted wherever you’re from aren’t necessarily the same when you travel. You need to do your research before you go, and ensure that you can cope with any major differences, such as religious rules or human rights differences.
Yeah, despite any trials and tribulations, you realise that being an expat is actually pretty neat. Sure, it’s not all smooth sailing and as picture-perfect as your Instagram would suggest (ahem), but it’s pretty awesome to be able to pitch some new roots elsewhere. Obviously, not everything is perfect just because you’ve moved, but you’re still all kinds of privileged.
I love this gorgeous shot I took in Hong Kong… using my iPhone!
My fellow expats, has living abroad changed the way you think about things? What are some thoughts you’ve had about your experience?