Expat Reflections – 10 Important Things I Learned from Moving Abroad

I never expected to learn as much as I have about life in such a short space of time. Moving abroad all alone has a way of opening you up to new challenges and experiences and with this comes new opportunities for learning about all sorts of things. What follows are some ramblings – 10 important things I learned from Moving Abroad.

What has moving to a new country taught you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

10 Important Things I learned from Travelling Solo

Moving abroad has taught me…

1. To Keep Going

Moving abroad all alone can be tough. It is difficult to be in a foreign place all alone with little or no support. Therefore, I try to find people who will support me and who inspire me to keep going. I also try to be grounded in the present moment and enjoy it instead of thinking of the past or the future. I find joy in the small things in life such as seeing a rainbow, a beautiful building or a person’s friendly smile.

2. To Aim Even Higher

Moving abroad presents a huge challenge and once you’ve done it the rewards are high. Why? Because now you can go through and experience pretty much anything. As a result of overcoming this huge challenge, I have been encouraged to try and make the best of every situation and become the very best person I can be. This challenge has also helped me better formulate goals in my life and work towards these in an improved manner because I now know I have the determination and drive to get there.

3. To Deal with Unhappy People

In my move abroad and in life in general I’ve come across many unhappy people. The sad thing about unhappy people is that they tend to project their unhappiness on others and it becomes sort of a domino effect (if you let it of course!). It is sometimes very hard to obtain distance from the situation especially if they are constantly in your surroundings. Unhappy people only make being away from your real home so much harder. I’ve found that finding more and more positive people and maintaining friendships with these people helps me rise above the unhappiness. The more positive and motivated people you surround yourself with, the better. And as an expat all alone you need it!

4. To Seek Out Beauty

Without beauty, life is purposeless. One can argue that beauty is a distraction but for me it’s a pleasant one at that! I love seeking out the beauty of my new environment. It’s important for me to see this and to embrace this beauty with open arms.

5. To Trust Others More

As a South African it is sometimes difficult to trust strangers and let them in. Especially if you are on your own. I have learned that most people are inherently good and want to help you out as a foreigner. Mostly, you have to have faith in people.

6. To Have More Faith in Myself

One of the 10 important things that moving abroad has taught me is to have more faith in myself and to go with my gut feeling. Only I know when things are wrong and right in any given situation.

7. To Take Life as it Comes

When moving abroad I have encountered many unexpected things and I had to deal with those things quickly. These situations have taught me to take life as it comes and to accept that negative things can happen no matter where you are in the world. I usually think to myself that no situation can be worse than it can be at that very moment and that things can only improve.

8. To Take More Pride in My Writing

Moving abroad and travel in general have helped me take more pride in my writing and in the up keep of my blog. The more I find the world as my inspiration, as my muse, the better I write and the more I want to share my experiences with my readers.

9. To Accept that People Seeing Things Differently

Much of the suffering in this world comes from a lack of understanding of one another. Moving abroad has helped me become more understanding and accepting of cultural differences. Of course, we all have our inherent biases, which are part of our makeup as children, and later as adults. However, a positive attitude towards others and an attempt at understanding is very important. Moving abroad has allowed me the opportunity to get to know people from all different backgrounds, learn from them and find fascination in these differences.

10. That the World is a Sad, Beautiful Place

As melancholy as it may sound, the more I travel the more I realise that this world is a sad place. The world has so much to offer and people are inherently good. But I realise more and more that people remain stuck in their same (often) negative habits and thought processes which makes them unable to strive for something greater than they are – something outside of themselves. Moving abroad has allowed me this insight and I hope that through the musings on my blog I can encourage people to step outside the known and opt for the unknown. The more one embraces risks, the more rewarding, meaningful and creative life can be.

What has moving abroad taught you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. 



Elizabeth Joss

Elizabeth Joss is the founder and main writer at The Museum Times. She works as a university lecturer by day and is an avid travel blogger and arts and culture enthusiast by night. Elizabeth started The Museum Times out of the need to give smaller, lesser-known museums more exposure.

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