What It’s Like to Move Abroad Alone

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to move abroad to a foreign country alone? One where you know no one or even speak the language? Well, I can tell you.

To preface, I am someone who’s dreamt about moving abroad alone since forever. Why? I don’t know.

It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was a kid. And once I asked, “What if?” I had to find out.

It took me about 29 years but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I am here, and now I can answer my question and your question of:

  “What’s it like to move abroad alone???”

1. It’s unbelievable.

I…live here?

It’s true. I have many, many moments where I will be doing something, look up randomly, and think, “Wow. I can’t believe I’m actually here.”

Because you see, when you spend your whole life dreaming about doing something for so long and you finally do it, you don’t know how to feel about it.

The irony of achieving a dream, for me, is that I still feel like I’m dreaming. I’m sure this stage will pass at some point but for now, I still find it unbelievable.

The irony of achieving a dream, for me, is that I still feel like I’m dreaming.

2. It’s boring, sometimes.

Nothing is opened during siesta. Guess I gotta go to the beach, again.

You probably didn’t expect me to say this but you read that right. Sometimes I get bored. Not in a childish-I-gotta-do-something-now-or-I’ll-explode kind of way but in a pleasantly-odd sort of way.

On some days, when I get off work, I check my phone and realize, “Hmm, I have ZERO messages and there is no one looking for me. What should I do?”

Back at home (New York), I was so used to having to respond to my parents, my friends, and always having to go or plan something or somewhere that I didn’t know what to do with all my free time when I first got here.

Eventually, however, I learned to make use of it. Now, I read books, I paint, I listen to music, I dance, I sing aloud, I study Spanish. Personal growth takes on a WHOLE new meaning.

3. It’s lonely.

Hello fishies, are you there? Soy yo, Hui.

Yes, I do get lonely. I’m not ashamed to admit it because I’m human and humans need social interaction.

My loneliness (is killing me ooh yeaah~) is usually prompted by seeing groups of people hanging out together or when I see couples holding hands on the streets. I find myself envying them or wishing one of them would trip (I’m kidding).

What I usually do when this happens is I message a friend, bug my mom or dad, or go out and try to meet someone. Because you’ll realize, you can either stew in self-pity or do something about it.

4. It’s difficult.

Which sign should I translate first?

Of course, moving thousands of miles away from home by yourself is DIFFICULT.

But try doing it in a country where you DON’T speak the language!

Take me for example:

When I first arrived in Spain, I barely spoke Spanish and then I moved to a town where people don’t even speak Spanish!

I had no idea how to read the signs, get a new SIM card, and the worst part was: I didn’t know how to ask and when I did, I couldn’t understand the answers.

I had to look up EVERYTHING in the dictionary before I did ANYTHING.

This meant normal tasks like applying for an I.D card, mailing a letter, or responding to a text message would take me 10 times longer than it did for a normal person.

But things DO become easier. It might take a few weeks or a few months but it DOES.

5. You make many DUMB mistakes.

I may or may not have dropped somethings…

What do you mean the electric stove doesn’t completely turn off when I turn it off?

How exactly do you DRY laundry in the rain? That sounds like an oxymoron to me.

And why is everyone staring at me?

When you move to a foreign country, there are new rules and new ways to do everything. But if no one tells you, you literally have to do it WRONG before you figure it out.

The good news?

After a while, you stop worrying about looking or sounding like a fool. You just accept that you will look like one and become more forgiving with yourself.

You EMBRACE trial-and-error.

6. It’s worth it.

DESPITE it all, it is still worth it.

You know why?

Because you had the guts to do what you said.

Not only will this teach you to love yourself unconditionally but also, you’ll grow and stop needing other people’s validations.

Your self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth will SKYROCKET off the roof and you’ll NEVER want to settle for anything or anyone less ever again.

But most importantly, you’ll learn you can do what you say and that you deserve it.

You do.

2 thoughts on “What It’s Like to Move Abroad Alone

  1. Hi Hui!
    I also live in like half a dream state. Like I would be in any random moment and realize “wow! I’m in Spain, India or wherever”
    I cannot believe it!!! And I hope this feeling never goes away!

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