Moving to a new city can be a dazzling experience, and it can be even more intimidating if that city is abroad.
Sure, you’re a grown-up now and you can handle anything, but here are a few things that it takes everyone a while to get used to:
- Your timetable is a mess
The rhythm of life for each nation is slightly different. Whether you have to get used to everything happening later (Spain and their “mañana mañana” outlook), or everyone’s habitual punctuality (Germany), or the shops’ random opening times (France; what is up with that), your daily schedule will inevitably be turned on its head.
- Searching for a flat is like the quest to find Mordor
As this is usually the very first thing you need to do on arrival, your languages skills may not be up-to-scratch and your knowledge of the city limited. You trudge through websites and newspapers trying to decipher which is best. But the rules are different here, and though you are not sure if your future housemate said they were a ‘clean person’ or a ‘kleptomaniac’, you are too polite to ask them to repeat. Let’s hope it’s the former.
- Night life is suddenly a mysterious new world
It’s Friday night, and you just want a typical night-out. But you soon realise that you don’t know the meaning of ‘typical’ in your new home. You may protest that ‘it’s too late to start clubbing at 3am’, or ‘no-one’s body needs this much beer’, or ‘do Nordic women feel the cold?’, but as they say, ‘when in Rome..!’
- You don’t know what to expect on the roads
Why are they honking their horns? In which direction are we driving? Why are these traffic lights all different!?
- You don’t yet know how locals treat each other in order to blend in
Quick decisions must be made at the start; How polite should I be? Should I wave or smile to strangers? What is the public transport etiquette? What kind of flirting is acceptable? You’ll get there, but be prepared for a few awkward situations while you make the transition!
- People continue treating you like a tourist even when you’ve been resident for a while
Some automatically assume you don’t speak the native language (you’ll show them) and you can almost hear them saying ‘bah, tourists’. But be proud of your origins; it’s what makes you exotic.
- When you live in a holiday destination and you can show your visiting friends around (like a baws)
After weeks or months of feeling like a foreigner who knows nothing (Jon Snow), some of your visiting compatriots need a guide for their holidays. Suddenly, you are the fountain of knowledge for all of the city’s hidden gems, and you get to enjoy a holiday with your friends without any of the holiday hassle. But..
- Living abroad is not the same as a holiday abroad
You may not be able to enjoy the sights as much as you’d like to, as you have to actually work/ do chores/ cut through some more “red tape” (i.e. visas, foreigners’ IDs, endless documentation..!), and then you discover that you don’t have day-to- day clothes fit for the new climate. And people back home just think it’s all fun and games. *Sighs*.
With all that said, you’re ACTUALLY LIVING ABROAD. So let’s be honest; this, my friends, is the life.
How are you managing abroad? Did you experience these frustrations? Or are you looking to relocate in the future? In that case, find a job that lets you travel with Europe Language Jobs!
Happy travelling 🙂