The 11 not-that-cliche lessons of a student living abroad

On the 27th of March I completed 365 days living in Dublin in a completely different life style. I went to a B.A graduated and office intern in Brazil to be a M.A. student and sales/deli assistant in Ireland.

I know that these lists are cliche but as I was feeling a bit bittersweet philosophical about this one year, so I wanted to share the most important things I learned so far.

1- It’s impossible to keep everyone you love in the same place.
Well, that was the most difficult one and after loads of goodbyes it’s still hard to accept it. I thought it was difficult enough to say goodbye to friends and family at the airport, but I was wrong.
When you live abroad you meet  and get attached to a lot of new people that are from completely different cities from all over the world, and that’s beautiful, but they are all coming and going all the time.
Thus, saying goodbye turns into such a constant moment in your life that after a while you just get used to it. One are worst than others, but those goodbyes are the hardest as you have no idea when you are going to see that friend again. You hope so, but you actually don’t know.

Photo credit: Vithoria Escobar

2- It can get lonely
Making good friends takes time and it’s not that easy. You can meet loads of people, you can have nice colleagues in school/college, nice flatmates, but it can take time to click with someone or to form a good group of friends.

3- You will learn to enjoy your own presence
I can’t count how many times I refused a night out to stay in my bed watching a good series, reading a good book and doing my crosswords.

4- Home will always be home
I remember I got so anxious when I went visit Brazil in Christmas but as soon as I got there it felt like I never left. My family and friends, everyone doing the same things in the same city and it just felt home, like it always was.

5- It can be complicated to live with your parents again after living on your own
When you’re in your parent’s house you have to play by their rules, which it’s fair enough but it’s not easy to get used again to tell where you going out, what time you go back home, who you bring home. And it’s really important to highlight that they are not wrong on asking any of these questions, after all you’re living in their house. However, re-adaptation can be difficult,  even if it’s only for a few weeks (sorry mom <3).

6- Nothing feels better than paying your own bills
Being a student with a part-time job can be really stressful (and it can leave you penniless), but nothing compares to that amazing feeling of financial independence.

7- You will miss your family more than you want to admit it
I regret every time I complained about going to family meetings or family lunches.

8- Travelling is the best thing you can do for yourself
It doesn’t matter if you go alone, with family or with friends. Getting in touch with new cultures, new countries and new people is wonderful and also necessary to self-knowledge.

Photo credit: Vithoria Escobar

9- Changes are necessary.
This one is not necessarily about living abroad. As the years goes by, you will change a lot: the places you go, the things you like, the people you hang out with. I often see myself thinking with a mix of sadness and nostalgia about some period of my life where I used to hang out people I don’t really talk to anymore.
But the truth is we shouldn’t feel sad. Changes are necessary for your evolution as a human being, and sometimes things or even people don’t make sense for you anymore and is no one’s fault. It’s life, it happens.

10- Living abroad will not solve every problems of your life
A lot of people believes that travelling or doing an interchange will solve their indecisions and that you will magically know what you want for your life.
Definitely, no.
Living abroad is about helping you to be more open minded, mature and independent and seeing things from a different point of you but don’t carry the expectations that it will solve all your problems.

11- You will freak out. And it’s fine!
No one can handle an amount of stress with a smile on their faces for a long time, so don’t worry about freaking out or having a little crisis eventually. 🙂

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