There are so many lessons learnt from living abroad. I’ve lived in Singapore, Vietnam, the Netherlands, Hong Kong and London. What is common about these places? People make up the experience more than everything else combined! I share my lessons learnt from living abroad in 3 broad categories below.
Adapting to New Culture
- Learn simple phrases of the local language. A hello, thank you, how are you, never hurts!
- Because of the language difference, sometimes jokes are not very well appreciated.
- Respect the other culture. Be extra mindful when you meet someone from a new culture.
- It’s important to know your country: culture, history, language, economy, interesting places that you cannot simply google to find
- Independence: You may not have friends around you all the time, and sometimes it can get lonely. Especially when you first settle in and have no friends yet. You learn to enjoy your personal company!
- Minimalism: Before buying something interesting but not so useful, think about how to bring them back to your home country. There are many interesting things abroad, and you might be tempted to purchase them. But hell no, I’m not going to ship a whole gorgeous looking bookshelf back to Singapore.
- Declutter: Throw stuff away. I realised and learnt that you really don’t need a lot of things to survive and do well. Differentiate between needs and wants.
- Importance of family: People who always have your back, who constantly worry for you, who respect your decision to live and travel but also always clean your room like you’ve never left. They’re a home that I know, no matter where I travel, I always have a home to return to.
It’s not only personal growth but also mindset change. You learn to open your mind to newer experiences. You test the beliefs you use to have and create new and better ones.
- Always have a plan, but also be prepared for how the plans might change.
- Always have an open mind. Probably the most important thing of all. A different culture, a different group of people to live amongst and basically a very different society. Be open about everything you see, for you will get the best out of your experience this way.
- Learning your limits. Test them. Break them!
- Do not be afraid to ask for help
- Living abroad is not about what you fear, but how you face them.
- Life is more flexible than we think; everything can be changed.
- There’s very little in life worth worrying about. After all, worrying takes you nowhere.
- EAT. Anything you see. Do not be afraid to attempt something new.
- Experience everything. After all, you only live once!