Lessons I have learned living abroad

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This time last year I had just moved to France after finishing my degree, now I’m getting ready to move back home. So after living abroad for over a year now it feels like the right time to share the lessons I have learnt. If you’re considering moving away this may help you to make up your mind (hopefully to confirm that you do want to take a chance and move!) Everyone has a different experience, some make it seem so easy while others realise after moving that home is where their heart is.  It all depends on where you move to, why and how much of a home bird you are. I’m somewhere in the middle, this year hasn’t always been easy but at the same time it was always worth it. I moved to Toulouse which is a beautiful city and having lived abroad before I knew I could handle it.

You’re probably now wondering why I’m giving up my life in France and I promise you it isn’t because I have lost my love for la vie française. It’s quite the opposite actually,  I’m only moving home now to pursue more opportunities in the hope that I will be  able to live abroad again. This wasn’t my first time living away from home, I spent my erasmus year in Aix en Provence before coming back to Ireland to finish my final year of law. During that year I knew I wanted to return to France and so I did!  Having lived in France twice now for a total of nearly two years I have learned a lot of lessons, some good, others bad but all worthwhile. So here are 5 things I have learned from life abroad.

1. If nothing changes nothing changes 

If you want things to be different you need to do something different. Of course you don’t have to move abroad but it’s one way of making a change, doing something different and stopping yourself from getting ‘stuck’.

2. A change of scenery can offer a whole new perspective

At the end of last year I thought I was done with college. I was graduating from my undergrad and had no real plans to do a post grad. Then I moved to France and… Did a post grad course. I realised that what I was finished with was my way of looking at college. I relaxed my studying, stressed less about grades and stopped aiming for perfection. The funny thing is that in the end I did well in all my courses. A change of scenery was all I needed to reignite my ‘education spark’.

3. Fresh ideas come from a fresh perspective

Maybe you want to write a book, start a business or change career but you are stuck at the starting line – you don’t know exactly what it is you want to do. You have a general idea but your creativity is at a standstill. Moving abroad, travelling in general,  opens up your world and more importantly your mind. You see and experience new things and so your creativity is renewed and ideas flow.

4. The grass isn’t always greener

I suppose this contradicts all I have said above but moving abroad teaches you a lot good and bad. We are all guilty of envying people who seem to have a perfect life in some exotic location. We think that our lives would be like that too but it’s not possible in our current location. So the solution we find is to move. Move to where the grass is greener. However sometimes moving can really mean running from your problems. You think it’s the location that’s holding you back but it’s not. It’s scary, a new country should mean all your problems are left at home. Reality can be different. The good thing is you can’t run anymore, you have and that didn’t work so now it’s time to face those problems. No more excuses.

5. The travel bug is impossible to shake off

Living abroad has taught me so much, it’s different for everyone but whether your experience is good or bad something changes. Getting a taste of another culture is exciting and it makes you want to explore further. The world is so big with so many unknown places and after living abroad you want to explore them all. The idea of settling in one location becomes more difficult and the best way to find a new place to live is…travel. For some people having the travel bug means they need to keep living somewhere new while others find they like the stability of settling in one location and travelling often.

Saying all this I appreciate how lucky I have been to be able to live in France, I don’t take it for granted. Not everyone is able to move away, not everyone wants to. I have friends who have moved abroad and loved it, others who stayed home and loved it and others who love to travel but live at home. I’m only in my early twenties with no commitments tying me down and so I am taking advantage of it for now, I hope that I get the chance to move away again but for now home is where the heart is and I’m excited for a new adventure!

What re your thoughts? Are you a home bird? Or is it impossible for you to stay in one place?

A post shared by Rachel Wolchin (@rachelwolchin) on

I think this quotes sums it up perfectly!

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