The Year Abroad That Nobody Talks About

It is easy to forget that people only show the best aspects of their life on social media, I’m sure at least some of you have scrolled through Instagram to see what everyone is up to and began to compare your life to theirs. This post is a reminder that behind the photos that show how much of a good time they’re having, there is a person who struggles with things just the same as you. This is inclusive of the YA, which has lots of highs and lows especially in the first few weeks, don’t be fooled by the photos of new friends, beaches, sightseeing etc.

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day, saying that you can tell that I haven’t left the house much recently as I haven’t uploaded any Instagrams- which is true! Nobody wants to see me upload a photo of me sat at my desk listening to music on a Saturday night, sunbathing by myself on the terrace or out for a drink with a friend so we tend not to upload such simple things. And people definitely don’t want to see me spending the first week upset because I haven’t made any friends, bored out of my brains at work, or when I have to run to catch the bus more often than I’d like to but just because nobody talks about this on Twitter/Facebook doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.

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“Instagram worthy” photos

The main point of this post is to let you know that it’s okay to find things difficult, so many people say that this is the best year of their life but not every day is going to be amazing. It may feel like you’re all alone feeling the way you do, but trust me you’re not, thousands of people have moved away from everything they know and they will have felt exactly the same as you at some point! It’s like when you’re heartbroken and you feel like nobody in the world could have felt just as bad as you do right now, then a few months later you realise that of course other people have gone through the same thing

It is such a big change in your life that of course it’s going to be difficult, nobody just moves abroad being completely unfamiliar with everything and everyone and is settled in with a new best friend within a week. Heck, I’ve been here 5 weeks and I haven’t even made a “best friend” yet. These things take time and you’ve gotta get through the hard stuff that comes with the first few weeks to really get yourself accustomed to your new life (at least for the next X months). Below I will mention the top 5 things, in no particular order, that stand out as being particularly difficult when moving away.


1. Being in a completely unfamiliar place

Now, I’m not the most sociable person in the world but of course I appreciate having people to talk to and go out with, now arriving in Seville without knowing a soul definitely presented its struggles. It also adds a level of difficulty with the fact that you don’t know where anything is! It takes a few days to get accustomed to where the restaurants/bars, supermarkets, bus stops etc all are. But this naturally all becomes easier after the first week or two so hang in there!

2. Feeling like you’ve left things behind

Seeing your friends move back to uni and start going on nights out without you, not being able to spent time with your family and leaving behind the familiar comforts of the things you know may make you feel like moving away was the wrong decision. But remember that those things will all still be there for you when you get back, your friends and family aren’t going to forget you exist just because you’ve moved away for 10 months and upon your return to England you will appreciate things a lot more. Don’t resent yourself for taking this fantastic opportunity, make the most of it!

3. Lonely

Not only have you moved to somewhere new but you feel completely alone and having nothing to occupy yourself with ends up making you feel 10x worse. Instead of sitting in by yourself moping about how you don’t have anyone to talk you can go for a walk, read a book, go for a drink, do some exercise… just anything to keep your mind busy!

4. It is exhausting

It is hard work getting used to living somewhere new, in the first few weeks I had to get used to waking up early to go to work everyday (lie ins are a luxury of the summer), making my lunches, organising my NIE and Social Security number to allow me to work in Spain, going flat-hunting and most importantly getting used to speaking and thinking in Spanish. Having to cope with all of this at once is hard and can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Luckily this also wears off after a week or two once everything is organised then you will start to feel a lot more at home.

5. Comparing your time away to others

Ever heard the quote “comparison is the thief of joy“? Well, it’s true. Stop comparing your time away to others as it will make you feel like your time away isn’t as good as theirs which obviously isn’t true. Just because someone has made loads of friends in their first month, that doesn’t invalidate the 3 friends that you’ve made so far. Everyone’s experience away is different and shouldn’t be compared to each other. Just live in the moment, be happy for other people and don’t put yourself down.


Of course there are more struggles and like I said, some people will find certain things more difficult than others and there’s nothing wrong with that. Hope you enjoyed this post and if you are struggling with anything then speak out about it! You might find someone in the same position who has advice to give you, or even just a friendly face to talk to about your problems.


I got my inspiration for this post from user Jordput so
click to read "Year Abroad Reality / Behind Social Media".
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