Being able to have the opportunity to live or study abroad is a wonderful that a lot of people should take advantage of but there is a lot that can make living abroad hard and I’m going to tell you. If you are new here, I’ve lived in Ireland for two years on my own working and going to school, I study abroad for a semester and a lot of people ask me question about these things.
They only tell you the good things but the bad is good too. Because like Winnie the Pooh says “how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard”.
VISA: They didn’t tell you much about a VISA. I knew that I could get a VISA for my year off because I had someone before me do it. Little did I know when looking on au pair world that there were limitations of what country Americans could get working VISA, like UK doesn’t give working VISA for nannies. You need to do your research on VISAs. There are requirements for VISA’s. And this is a whole different topic, but the cost of a VISA. The reality of getting a visa is a lot of unknown questions and calling the local embassy to double check, but once you understand exactly every paper work, its pretty easy. Don’t miss your dates, don’t miss your appointments, make those phone calls. The responsibility of “doing it on your own” comes pretty quick with the visa. ALSO when your finally land and your going through customs HAVE it READY don’t be that person.
Cost: They told you the cost believe me they did, but the truth is that cost really isn’t a something that should “stop” you. And well living/studying abroad is going to COST you; besides the flights and VISA, what about rent, paying it monthly. When living abroad traveling is so much easier and becomes this option that is right there, but its going to cost you. But here’s the thing your going to spend money no matter what or where you go, things COST money. So if you are on a budge, budget, you don’t have to spend a lot to get a lot. I still say the best experiences I have are taking the early busses because its cheaper and the birdness living.
Living: They didn’t tell you you get your own bed, and furniture! My first year there I didn’t have to worry. But when moving out and going on my own, I didn’t really know where to start. It all worked out. And it really helped that I was kind of force to do it or I’d be screwed. If you are studying abroad there is no worries you’ll have a place to stay you might of to buy some bedding and a better pillow. Living you want to make it your home for sure, make it your home. You’re living there!
Making Friends: They didn’t tell you about making life long friends. I’m someone who never had a problem meeting people, I’m just really friendly and out going. But think the one thing they don’t tell you about making friends is how hard it is to keep them, here you are a stranger to this place and everyone has there own idea. When I was working I was in a group of friends who went traveling but some odd reason around Thanksgiving they decided to go to a dinner without inviting me and then that was it, no more talking to me. Another hard thing is when you do make friends, they have there own life, they have there group of friends, memories, people they are going to talk about that you never met. The best advice I can give you is invite yourself, and make own memories with them.
Getting a job: They didn’t tell you what’s it like trying to get a job in a foreign country. It is going to be very different to getting a job in your own country. You will need to make sure you have the right things, your going to be running around to different government buildings trying to figure it out then trying to apply. Best bet is to walk into some place and ask, sell yourself and work your way up.
“Not actually from here” conversations: How many times have I had this conversation? I’ve also had the “you were in Ireland” conversation way to many times too. I’ve said this that I felt a lot of the time that I couldn’t get something or someone, or be able to do something, take the chance because I wasn’t from here. Like I couldn’t buy those shoes because would they fit in my suitcase in 9 months. IT WAS FRUSTRATING. And the reminder from people wasn’t helping. But what I did was ignored and proved other wise.
Coming back : They didn’t tell you that when you come back how not only do you want to go back but how suddenly it all is different now. I think coming back is more of a shock then actually going to a new place because if you are open and ready to try new things then it wont be as a shock of how much it rains and that they call cookies biscuits. But coming back, its a place you should be use to but its throwing you off, you feel weird and everyone looks funny. The buildings are higher and you feel even smaller.
When you live abroad know the good and bad will come, you will feel everything but you will feel yourself growing. Don’t be afraid be shit scared with no fear in your eyes! I never will take those two years away, the stories, the people, the moments I have for a life time. And I hope I can pass on my wisdom of living, studying, and traveling abroad. Open your mind to different things and oppunities. Also hope that those stories will be in a book one day.