by Chantal Bufe
Moving abroad can be both an exhilarating and intimidating endeavor that changes many things in your life, but when you dare to settle in a new place with an open mind and an open heart, wonderful things can happen:
1. Your view of the world changes when you're open to it
When you move to a new country, immerse yourself in a new culture, and meet new people, your horizon broadens. You step out of your familiar comfort zone and start collecting new experiences along the way, like little pebbles on the beach. And when you embrace this new beginning with openness and tolerance, your perspective on the world changes - it opens up: you begin to see our world for the vast, beautiful, and diverse planet that it is. You become grateful for being allowed to be living, exploring, experiencing yet another part of it. Moving fills up your 'experience jar,' and it ignites curiosity for our planet.
2. You learn, change, and you grow
Whenever you move to a new country, the first few months can be daunting: navigating new customs, cultures, and road systems. But you learn as you go. And you grow as you learn. So be lenient and patient with yourself. Let go of any expectations of how your new beginning should look like. Don't rush to move forward, to settle in quickly. Instead, you are allowed to be shamelessly new when you ask for advice, support, or simple directions. Despite the lightspeed at which new impressions will come at you, remember to walk at your own pace.
3. Your friendships change
When you moved away - in our case, that meant putting a large body of water and a nine-hour time difference between ourselves and the ones we cared about - you will notice that many of your friendships automatically change. You will quickly see who is making an effort to stay in touch (even visiting) and which friendships you have outgrown. It is an interesting process (like going through your closet to see what still fits) and while at times it may sting, always remember that the people who are meant to remain in your life will forever remain in it. No matter where you live.
4. Your view of home changes
Only when you move abroad do you realize what home actually means to you. Most often, this happens when you describe it to someone who has never been there. Suddenly, you miss all the things you used to take for granted, wondering why you never visited X, Y, Z more often. And once you return home - whether for a visit or good - you will see it with fresh eyes.
5. You take on challenges more readily
When you move abroad, you will face challenges and obstacles along the way; that's part of the game. But if you start to regard these challenges and obstacles for the life lessons they are, you will not only adjust faster, but you will learn so much about yourself in the process: what is easy for you to handle, what causes you distress? What can you deal with, and what triggers you? As you find answers, you will be able to cope more easily, find solutions more readily, and overcome obstacles more quickly.
(Photo: Erda Estremera/ Unsplash)