6 things I’ve learned from living abroad

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Hackesche Hofe, Berlin, Germany – July 2017

1. Cut out negativity

This comes in two different categories; negative influences and non-meaningful relationships. I am going to start by explaining non-meaningful relationships.

For a long time, I believed in the quantity over quality type of relationships. I thought I would be “cool” and more popular if I hung out with the football players, if I knew everyone at the college parties, and if I had more friends than most of the people at Augsburg. It wasn’t until I developed some meaningful relationships in university that I began to grow my self-love and realize it’s quality over quantity.

By holding onto these non-meaningful relationships, or people I now refer to as acquaintances, I developed negative feelings about myself. As you may be able to tell the relationship between acquaintances will not be as strong as the relationship between genuine friends. Acquaintances often ditch each other, miss birthdays, and may not have a level of mutual respect. After years of being pushed to the side, I realized I would much rather prefer my own company over someone that would consider me a second option.

Next, I’ll touch base on negative influences and how they can be problematic.

Yes, that includes long term friends, family, significant others, and anyone else that may be holding you back from accomplishing your goals.

For me, it was a member of my family that really held me back from my goals. The worst part about this situation is, I let it happen for far too long. Mind you, I didn’t grow up as a confident person and I didn’t believe in myself. So, I preferred to have more friends and family around to make me feel better. What I’ve now learned is negative influences can have more harm than one would imagine, especially if you move abroad alone. So my key piece of advice is to get rid of any and all negative people that stunt personal progress.

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Flensburg, Germany – May 2017

2. Stay positive!!

Major key right here!

“Tough times don’t last, tough people, do.”

One of the biggest things I’ve taken away from my time abroad is how to handle negative situations. A positive mindset can drastically change situations. For example, I once left my train ticket at home while traveling to work on the s-Bahn (public transportation in Berlin.) To my luck, the controllers, (people who check tickets) were on the train that day. Long story short, I ended up getting an expensive fine. Yes, I was very upset, but I chose to look at the positive aspects of this situation. Now I know controllers wear fanny packs and dress like everyday civilians, (this was the first time I came across one.)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely hard to stay positive, but I have no other choice considering I’m living abroad alone. I could get in a rut and have no one to help cheer me up, which isn’t ideal. So, I rely on me, myself, and I. At the end of the day I am living abroad, a dream I’ve worked toward for years so not much can bring me down. 🙂

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Charlottenburg Palace – February 2017

3. Step out of your comfort zone

I’ve had so many people praise me for my life changing decision to live abroad, but to me, it just seems like another day. My mother instilled values like independence and bravery in us children from an early age, and that has been extremely beneficial and advantageous for my transition abroad.

Growing up I was always very adventurous and curious about the world, so moving abroad was essentially part of my vocation.

I get it.. living in a country where you don’t speak the language, don’t have a job, don’t have a place to live, and don’t know anyone seems quite outlandish. One is never ready for growth, so we might as well dive in head first. I have so much admiration for people that take risks, step out of their comfort zone, and make life changing decisions. This is partly because my experience abroad has changed me so much for the better. I highly recommend doing something that makes you uncomfortable, trying something new, and TRAVELING. You never know how much your life may change.

4. Decrease social media

I know this may sound hypocritical because I am a blogger, but honestly, this is so important. I struggle with this right now, but I’m determined to no longer spend hours a day online.

According to entrpenuer.com, millennials spend 18 hours a day online. That’s ridiculous. Besides various health issues, spending this much time online prevents us from living in the moment. Do you think people really want to see every part of your day on SnapChat? I highly doubt it. So log out of your apps, spend time with your friends, or pick up a new hobby! I promise FOMO, (fear of missing out) will not hurt you, loves.

 

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Hackesche Hofe – Berlin, Germany, July 2017

5. Don’t compare yourself to others

I left the structured 9-5 corporate life at 23 years old to move abroad alone, it doesn’t get much crazier than that. With that being said, I want to point out how difficult it has been for me to not compare myself to friends and family back home that have fancy corporate careers.

Anyone that knows me, knows how much I strive from organization and structure. So now that I’m working as a freelancer, my life has no structure whatsoever. For example, I’m moving out of Berlin in two days. Anyway, this lack of structure has influenced me to resent my decision of leaving corporate life. I love Berlin and my life here, but I can’t help but be jealous of how much easier my life was 7 months ago.

Of course, comparing yourself to others is never a good idea. Especially because you never know the real story. Like I mentioned earlier, most of us spend a lot of time online and less time interacting with others, so we only see the glitz and glamor people post online. Just because an individual takes amazing photos to make their life look incredible, doesn’t mean it actually is. Realizing this has helped me focus more on myself and my goals than other people throughout the world that seem to have their lives together.

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Brandenburg Tor – CSD July 2017

6. Have the time of your life!

“Life’s too short to be anything but happy.”

Yes, I’m corny af and proud. But for real, have the time of your life!

I can still remember daydreaming about all of the beautiful sights I would see once I moved to Berlin.. and now that’s my reality. I love structure and organization, but sometimes that part of my personality prevents me from fulfilling my dreams.

Every week I try to do something I haven’t before, (tying back to number 3.) This new exposure has helped me enjoy activities that I never thought I would. I’ve mentioned this in previous blog posts, but I’m genuinely happier now than I have ever been in my life, and I like to think that’s because of these 6 lessons I’ve implemented into my life. BT

Near Brandenburg Tor – Berlin, Germany, July 2017

 

 

7 thoughts on “6 things I’ve learned from living abroad

  1. Great post… it is so hard to no compare yourself with the people who still in the 9-5 routine, and wonder how things could have turned out. Life is much easier with routine, structure and all of that, but amazing things happen for those who take chances and are willing to do this crazy stuff outside the comfort zone (and go with the flow). As you said “Tough times don’t last, tough people, do.” Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right about that! Thank you very much. 🙂

      Like

  2. Irene Gonzalez July 29, 2017 — 8:53 pm

    Thank you for writing this. My husband and I are wanting to move to Berlin to teach English as well. Did you have a BA before teaching English? Are there a lot of teaching opportunities in Berlin?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Irene! Yes, I had a BA before teaching English. The demand for English teachers is really high, so there are a lot of opportunities to teach English in Berlin.

      Like

  3. Kudos to you!!! I found your blog after reading your feature on the ITA newsletter – so inspiring! I start my course in November, and plan to leave to go abroad next fall. Can’t tell you how comforting it was to see someone who looked like me. Now, after reading your blog I’m that much more excited about my decision! You rock girl!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, thank you!! I’m saying though. Representation matters. 🙂

      Like

  4. I completely agree with you, especially on not comparing yourself with other people. The lion does not concern himself with the opinions of the sheep.

    Like

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