As I started college, my parents encouraged me to travel, as they believe exploring the world will help me grow. My first time traveling abroad on my own was seven years ago. I spent two months traveling to Germany, Czech Republic, France, Austria and Hungary. That first taste of travelling left me with an amazing feeling. Two years later, I took my second journey. It was also great! It wasn’t always beautiful, but I had an unforgettable experience.
After I graduated and worked for six years, I decided to pursue my master’s degree in the United States, and this is how my first time living away from my home in Thailand starts.
My first move abroad has been completely different from my travels abroad. I have struggled sometimes and, at times, what seemed so simple back home has seemed overwhelming. The process of adapting to a new place and finding new routines in my new home challenges me. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned in the past year:
- I’m willing to feel uncomfortable and be challenged with something I’m not familiar with.
- I’m more responsible, independent and patient. I have to break out of my comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar culture, language, people and lifestyle. Without my family nearby, I am forced to take full responsibility for my life, schedule, health, social activities and finances.
- Living abroad opens my mind and perspective to new ideologies, cultures and customs. I get a chance to meet people from several backgrounds who may have different morals, values, political or religious views. It helps me see life through a prism of alternative points of view and gives me an opportunity to learn how to understand and get along with others.
- I realized that I actually don’t need a lot to survive. Life isn’t about accumulating possessions. Material possessions become less important. As long as I have my essentials for survival, I’m set!
- I have become more adventurous and
have learned that change isn’t something to fear. Life abroad reminds me there’s nothing to fear in unexpected situations. There are always surprises around the corner, and it’s up to me to make the best out of them.
- My self-confidence has increased rapidly as I have had to make my own decisions.
It puts me in situations where I need to dig deep to figure out what feels right. Many times, I have surprised myself with what I’m capable of achieving!
I believe that living abroad these past few years has helped me become a better person. I’ve learned many lessons I don’t think would have taken hold in me if I hadn’t experienced them overseas. I have become a more positive thinker and have gotten to know my true self. And perhaps the best of all, I have pictures to show and lots of stories to tell! Just ask me about them!
By Orawin Narabal, Relocation Intern