Many people and friends know pieces of my life and most of the times they feel amused by my experiences and adventures, so I decided to share with you some parts of it so we can grasp the sense that living abroad is a lot of fun but also hard. Maybe, your prince or princess is actually out there, just like mine was just that day looking at me in from of Sainsbury’s supermarket near Wimbledon Station in London when I was with my Korean roommate.
I have lived abroad since I am 21 years old and even though Korea takes up to 10 years of those precious years, I lived in Canada, England, Scotland, China. Also some short-term stays in other countries such as Ireland, Japan, Italy, and France. You might wonder why this urge of living abroad since young age, my mother used to say to me “Laura, eres culo de mal asiento”, which in english means something similar to someone who is always restless and never settles in anywhere, but I truly believe that this is a life style that you chose to live because it fits your personality and the way to see life. From the outside it seems an extraordinary and courageous thing to do, which actually it is, but form the inside this lifestyle is full of frustrations and anxiety because not everything goes on your way all the time and there are so many things going on all the time, literally all the time. What’s more, loneliness plays a role in this life style as well.
The next good thing is that people see you as an extraordinary person with lots of courage, tenacious, experience and brave. Only if, eventually, you get through it for several years in another country working, studying, as an expat or as a third national, people look you up and want to know how you did it.
So, here in short there are some pieces of my personal life. When I was younger than 22 years old I used to go abroad and work there. I always moved to another country with job. No job (waitress, anything) not chance to move because I did not want to be a burden to my lovely mother. Also, I am very independent women, back then I was even more independent and sort of unpredictable. When I was not at work I was partying, busy all the time getting to know people, getting to know the city through interviews with companies, and I was kind of close to Spanish expat community since my English was not really flowing (:P) During those years I met fantastic people from all around the world. I also quit drinking after that period. You can imagine why!!
After my 22 years old and having acquired decent english skills, I decided to move again and study a Master Degree in The United Kingdom. That time I did totally opposite. When the Master started I barely went out or party. I focused on study and spent lots of time in the library and hanged out with my classmates in the campus or in study groups, gym or Chinese classes, no korea class available in anywhere at that time. That all hard study it actually payed off and I was awarded with distinction when I graduated. I can assure you that was one of the best times of my life. The hectic feeling of success, the adrenaline in my body and I wanted to shout to everybody out there that I made it! All the shed tiers were worth it! Thanks to my father, rest in peace, he help me so much to get me through it.
You might wonder why it was real hard. I studied General Management and Public Administration, which is more like law degree. But our MsC in International Business is more addressed to people with background in Economics or with previous similar knowledge ( includes econometrics which you should have studied at least in your first and second year of Economics BA) so imagine all the materials that we I had to go trough. Fortunately I was not the only one, so that made me feel better.
Well the point is that for me was a challenge, a good challenge and I am so proud of it.
I also have a love story, but that’s for another post. But what I can tell you is that I did my thesis in Korea and my boyfriend (now husband) helped me so much. When I wrote my thesis I was doing an internship in Seoul with a Germany Company. It was hard to get because at that time chances in Korea were very slim and not common but, I managed to secure it to I could be near him.
And this is how I landed TO LIVE in Korea for a man. That’s the hard truth. After graduation I gambled everything and chose to go to Korea. It did not go well.
Anyways, what I want to emphasise in this post are the advantages and disadvantages of living abroad. Probably my son will read it some day 😛
Disadvantages first because advantages are greater!
- You have to do all on your own. Find school, job, apartment, open bank accounts, get mobile number, find internet hot spots or wifi where you can save data.
- Find suitable groups of people to hand out so you can make friends that speak native language. Schools friends are also good!! I found soulmate/husband like that 😛
- Invest time finding which ones are the best websites to find a job and how to find a job full time or par-time.
- Weekly time to make your number and control how much you spend weekly (this is high recommended) becase money flies!!
- FREEDOM and CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE
- you get to know yourself better than anyone else and shape your own personality –> you will know what you want and so what you need.
There are 1000s of advantages and disadvantages, but these are the more remarkable for me since am 18 years old.
If somebody is thinking of living abroad, I think the best 10 question/suggestions to start will be:
- what is the main purpose to live abroad?
- Do you have the financial support to do that? How much do you need?
- In case you don’t have it? How long is gonna take it to have it? and make a deadline to leave.
- Which countries you can go without visa? Which countries you can go with visa?
- How to get the visa? If it is through study? How much is the course that allow to stay with visa? For how long?
- If you can get a company to sponsor? Can you get it done? What documents you have to provide them in advance?
- Do you have english certificate? I recommend you to have proof in paper that you can actually communicate in english, EVEN if your english speaking skills are amazing. TOEFLS, IELTS…. anything will help you for your job hunting later on.
- In destination, can you find a share apartment? If so, they are trustful people? Or, where do you plan to live? with a friend, with relatives?…. You have to think about deposits and pay in advance for the rental.
- If you succeed, OK. But if you fail, how long do you allow yourself to hang in there in order to redirect your path in this country or another?
- In case of coming back home later, have a plant B. What do you want to after that? I suggest to think about different scenarios so you can take better decision. I did it half 50-50 and I can assure you, I think is better to think in advance, so when time comes you can make more rational decisions.
Thank you for the reading and if you have any question, shall you post your question or comment.
I hope I can write about my love romance with my husband real soon.
Life is hard and difficult if you want to try out to be out of your comfort zone, but also the people that surround you are very important. Do you settle for less than the things that make you happy. Life is long but relatively short and we have to get the best our of it.
Thank you and have a great day!
Note: This is my personal experience and if you think that it can motivate people that you know to take the next step to live abroad or to study, or to do the things they love, please share it.