So many tips for living abroad. I’ve lived in 5 countries and travelled to over 35. But travelling and living are different. Here are some tips about living abroad, starting with 3 most important tips.
3 Most Important Tips for Living Abroad
Step out of your comfort zone to meet new individuals. You never know who you are going to meet! People make your entire experience, so choose them wisely.
Be Courageous, Stay Out of Your Comfort Zone
I literally jumped from rocks to rocks, climbed steep cliffs and hiked every weekend. I never thought I could do these because of fear. Fear that city-dwellers inculcate in us. Fear of falling, fear of dying, fear of getting hurt. But sometimes, all you need is the 10 seconds courage to push you to scale new heights.
Small Decisions Have A Huge Impact
Everything happens for a reason, even the smallest decision can make a huge impact in the future. Should I decide to be lazy and stay home during mid-autumn, nothing would be the same. I went to the mid-autumn festival because the host of another event organised this and invited me. There, I met Samuel then Jan then Valentin and the crazy family. Today, Valentin is one of my best friends and we have a group of friends across 3 continents!
New Habits To Try
- Take a picture every day and/or write a short note about every day. It helps you to remember your journey and it also helps you to reflect on all the little small happiness that happened that day
- Wake up early. Walk in the streets when it’s still quiet. Embrace the silence and be thankful for the people who wake up that early every day.
- Cook. Living abroad doesn’t mean you should scrimp on yourself and stuff yourself with all the unhealthy food bought outside! Learn to cook, cook food that your mum cook, cook local dishes. I learnt to cook several dishes and I learnt to cook a dinner without having much dishes to wash. Gordon Ramsey’s Ultimate Cookery Course was a life saver. He teaches you to cook awesome food at home.
- If you’re cooking, visit the wet market. Listen to the locals conversing in their language. Practice the language. Also, the wet market is cheaper than the supermarket! Ps, I saw live chickens, fresh goat body parts, fresh cow body parts and horse body parts. First time in my life and I just cursed like 50 times in my head when I went to the wet market for the first time.
- Work out; Run. Explore new routes and you need to work out cause somehow, it’s easier to get fat abroad. I found so many new streets because I ran and explored. My favourite street was explored because of running!
- Give yourself enough me-time. New cities are exciting, new people are so fun and adventures provide a constant adrenaline pump. But it is also how you can wear yourself out easily, so remember to have time for yourself and to constantly look back and see how you’ve changed
- Have tons of crazy fun
- but remember to do what you need to do (like applying for university, jobs, etc.)
- Have several hangout places. Seriously, do not just hang out in bars and clubs. There are so many more things the new city can offer you.
- Learn to adapt.
- Continue to be curious even though you’ve lived in the city for a while
- As much as you have to live on your own and bear all the expenses, treat yourself once in a while. Eat in a nice restaurant with great food. You deserve a little splurge.
- Remember to eat your meals. Do not skip them.
Travelling When Living Abroad
- Explore the road less travelled. but stay safe!
- Your perspective about travel, living, life, home country, the host country, people will all change.
- As much as you are tempted to travel, please don’t travel every weekend. I know of people who come to Hong Kong for a while and travel to an Asian city every weekend. Please don’t. Experience the home country you are in first. You can travel to all those places in the future when you’re rich and stuff, but to really immerse in a country and experience the adventure of living somewhere else is not an opportunity that comes knocking on your door every time.
About Going Home
- Things might not change when you return. When I came back, I actually felt like nothing changed and the days back in HK felt surreal. It actually felt like HK did not happen and it was just a weekend away. It was too easy to adapt back to Singapore but so were the memories in HK, they felt like they did not exist.
- You might lose your sense of self. You’re too caught up in the crazy and fun things that you lose yourself in the midst. You will change. Make sure you never lose your values.
- Learn to let go and say goodbye. The toughest thing I have to do.