Living abroad has many challenges but it also has great advantages
Yes, there are tons of pros and cons when living abroad. And after living abroad for 2 years, heading back home to Puerto Rico and abroad again I can tell you crossing the pond is never easy. Indeed, it comes with many challenges. In fact, I think every person who is abroad experiences them. Still, if you ask me if I regret it, I just have to say NO WAY! Moving abroad is the best experience I’ve had.
I made this list of pros and cons, so you can go abroad knowing it’s not going to be a piece of cake but that there is always some (if not many) good things to it.
Cons of moving abroad
Let’s start with the disadvantages of moving abroad. Not because I’m a pessimist but because then you will get to see that everything has an upside to it.
- Missing family
When moving abroad it is inevitable to miss your family. Maybe you just can’t wait to move out of your parent’s house and you just can’t wait to go abroad. However, there will be days where you just want to be with your mom, dad, and even your pets. Don’t worry this will get better with time. In addition to time, video-calling will help with blue days.
2. Missing holidays or special moments
One thing is missing your family and a whole other category is missing those special holidays. For instance, there will be times that for some reason you just won’t be able to make it to a special occasion. Including weddings, Thanksgiving dinner, graduations, etc. You name it and be prepared for anything. For example, I was convinced I was going to be in Puerto Rico for Christmas this year. However, Spain had other plans and I just couldn’t go back to see my family.
3. Culture shock
At first, your new place will seem amazing! And it probably is. Unfortunately, it comes with the package of missing things but with an added shock. For me, it is something so simple as ordering the right coffee or having my tropical Sundays by the beach.
Another thing can pose problems are the language barrier and gastronomy. Learning a new language takes time so keep in mind that if you don’t speak the language this will add to your culture shock. And if you are thinking of eating your favorite comfort food to feel better don’t be surprised if you don’t find it.
4. Feeling lonely or new kid syndrome
Before you start making friends and get comfortable you are going to feel lonely or outplace from time to time. In fact, if you think your new abroad life is going to be partying with new friends then think again. Unless you are in a student exchange program or go abroad with a couple of friends meeting new people will also take some time.
On the other hand, you may be finding yourself surrounded by people but still feel lonely. This is completely normal so don’t beat yourself up.
5. Bureaucracy pains when living abroad
Last but not least, if you think your country has bureaucracy issues don’t think the grass is greener on the other side. This might be true for some places but some others just suck. For example, this can be simple things like opening a new bank account, getting your visa, getting a new place, you name it.
Read more about moving to Spain and bureaucracy hassles!
Living abroad pros
Now that you already know some of the disadvantages of going abroad prepare yourself to get excited about moving abroad.
- Expand your horizons
When you live abroad you experience so many new things that make you grow with every step. You’re going to view life and what is important in a whole new way. Additionally, you get to learn more about your strengths, likes, and dislikes as well. It is really interesting how the little things that used to bother you or seemed important to pass to another plane.
2. Form new relationships
Remember when I said you will feel lonely? When with time this will change, and you will get to create new and meaningful relationships. You will not only have friends in different places but new places to visit with your personal tour guide! Jokes aside, I have met some wonderful people I’m lucky to call best friends. Not to mention, when you go abroad you change in a way your friends back at home won’t. On the contrary, the people you meet abroad will understand what you go through in a way they won’t.
3. Appreciate your relationships back at home in a new way
Although it is beautiful creating new friendship you will also cherish the ones you have back home at a whole new level. The reunions with your hometown friends are going to be emotional and if you are true friends the sensation of pertaining is so comforting. In addition to this, you will also learn who your real friends are.
4. Make a new home
After living abroad, you will understand the meaning behind home is where the heart is. The definition of home changes. And while it takes time there will come the day that after a long day of exploring outside the words “ I can’t wait to go home” are going to slip from your tongue. And the most amazing thing is that you meant your new home!
5. Travel opportunities
Another thing I love about being abroad is the travel opportunities.
For example, I come from Puerto Rico and getting around was hard. Now in Valencia, it’s so easy to explore around the globe taking cheaper flights, trains, busses, etc. It may be the travel bug or that it is easier but once you cross the pond you will have many more opportunities to keep adventuring.
6. Develop new skills
Finally, when living abroad your survival mode kicks in and you develop a whole range of new skills. These skills go from social skills to tech skills. For instance, you will master your spatial skills. Yeah! Before moving abroad my spatial skills where rusty. Finally, I know where my North is. Also, you will master social skills and when you find yourself in a need for a job well let me tell you that is where many skills will flourish.
I was a social worker back home with a minor in sociology. Now I’m a tech-savvy online teacher with great social skills to get more students taking my classes.
Should I experience living abroad?
In my humble opinion, if you have the opportunity of living abroad do it! Yes, there are challenges but as you can see this can turn into positive things.
The cure to all of the cons listed here is time and remembering yourself why did you move abroad in the first place.
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