How to: Survive Living Abroad

As the new year begins it is time for me to prepare for yet another experience abroad. Last year around this time, I was taking the last exams of my study abroad in Spain. Looking back at that experience make me realise how unprepared I was. I arrived in Spain with a place to live and that was about it. On a personal level I could have done much more to prepare myself for what was to come. However I didn’t, and everything turned out to be great. Living abroad is scary, exciting and a great opportunity to connect with yourself. 

In exactly two weeks I will be going to London for 7 months, therefore I thought it would be a great opportunity to share some of my tips and to prepare myself for this new experience.

Don’t overthink 
If things are about to get a little messier or scarier, we tend to overthink, which often results in a change of mind. Do not let this happen to you! If your goal for the new year is to go abroad for a while, and you are able to do it financially, then go! Literally nothing is holding you back, expect from yourself, which brings us to the next tip;

Fear is good
One of my favourite quotes is “if your dreams don’t scare you they are not big enough”. This doesn’t mean that you should live a life full of fear, but rather that you should step out of your comfort zone every now and then to keep life exciting and to continue growing as a person.

Be realistic 
This was particularly hard for me in Spain, seeing as I am a bit of an over-achiever and wanted to speak Spanish fluently after a week. I thought it was realistic since I had been learning the language for a few years already, however these things take time. Although the progress might have seemed so little, when I looked back on some notes I took during the first week of classes I instantly noticed how much I progressed by the end of the study abroad. This is just one of many examples I could give you. Before the study abroad my main goal was to improve my language skills, and I was so focused on achieving this goal that I hardly enjoyed my first few days. If you’re going abroad, set goals, try to achieve them as much as you can, but your main goal should always be to have a good time. 

Having a good time. This is what it is all about in the end. I am not referring to the ‘Erasmus student’s lifestyle’, although if this gives you joy then who am I to judge. However what I do mean is that you choose to go abroad for a reason, and whatever reason it was, it was always because going abroad was the better option. Thus, relax, don’t be hard on yourself and enjoy this journey as much as possible. 

I could go on and on about many things, but the truth is that there is no foolproof guide to prepare you for an experience like this. Just look at me, I have done this already and still I am nervous, excited and overthinking my decision. The only thing that I know for sure, and that I would like to give you as a final and golden piece of advice: go with the flow and take this time to enjoy your own company by really getting to know yourself and to acknowledge your strength as well as all other qualities that you have.

Lots of Love,