November 11, 2017

They say that one of the best experiences you can give yourself is to live abroad. That is always easier said than done because not all people from third world countries, like me, can afford to do this.

Nonetheless, a lot of people who do get the chance to live abroad sort of have some similar experiences. I’ve been staying in New York for a few months now and I’m sort of loving it here. I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in New York? It’s one of the best cities in the world! I know that a lot of people would love to be in my shoes right now, but living abroad has also some of its downsides, believe me.

As for me, here are seven truths about living abroad that I wish I knew sooner than later:

1. Culture shock is real.

I am from Asia, and Asians tend to be more implicit. We also like beating around the bush. I still get culture shock at how fast forward Americans are. It’s just not in my culture, but I am slowly learning to work my way into their culture in a way that I wouldn’t lose my roots.

2. Racism is real.

Yes, it is now 2020, but racism is still real especially in big cities like New York.

3. The shift in the weather is a constant struggle.

I was raised in the Philippines where it’s sunny all year round. I’ve never seen snow in my life, and this cold weather sometimes gets to me. I also basically couldn’t wear half the clothes I have brought from the Philippines since they’re mostly summer clothes, lol.

4. You’ll have no friends.

I stayed home the first few months of my stay in New York, but thanks to this travelling app called Couchsurfing, I got to meet and hangout with people from all over the world. Yes, you’ll miss your old friends but you’ll also get to meet people from your new ‘home’ that you’ll get to cherish and keep forever.

5. You’ll inevitably miss your family.

I’m very close to my family so this is sort of a struggle for me. Thank goodness that Facebook and Skype were invented!

6. Life as you know it will completely change.

When you live abroad, you will have a different perspective in life, you will have a different approach to decision making, you will also be more aware of all the other cultures in the world and not just your own.

7. You’ll survive.

This is the most important thing, you’ll survive. It might seem hard at first but trust me, you’ll survive.

For someone who has lived in countless cities and five continents, I think the lessons I’ve learned are quite great. Although, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from shifting my life from one country to another, it is that; things change, experiences will always welcome you in its arms, and you will surprise yourself time and time again. So, just be brave and be scared as well…these two go hand in hand, even though it might seem highly unlikely. Fear brings the human in you, but bravery shows you that there is nothing that you can’t do…especially if you put your heart on it.

It is true that living abroad is one of the best experiences that you can give yourself. Just make sure to make the best of it because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity and not everybody gets to experience it. Living abroad is great and you’re blessed if you get to experience it…but then again, grow and live your life to the fullest!

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

2 Corinthians 4:16 KJV

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