Things I learned from living abroad
I’m so excited about my upcoming visit in London this November. 15 years later I’m going to visit London again. I can’t wait to see one of my favorite cities after such a long time again. And I’m also thrilled about the idea of witnessing a different me. The difference between a 20 year old au-pair who was abroad for the first time for a year all alone and a lot older me now who lives abroad for the last 10 years.
I remember the New Year’s Eve, 31.12.1999, just like today. Yes, I celebrated the millennium in London with friends I met in the English class. I started the new century on London Bridge together with thousands of other people. I was filled with hope that my life will become an endless path of new experiences. Today, remembering back my time in London as a 20 year old, I am so glad I took that one year off.
During my year as au-pair I experienced a whole new level of me, better said, I became an adult, emotionally. I’m so glad I had the chance to have this experience at the beginning of my twenties already.
Because at a pretty early age, I learned how to cope with difficulties on my own and to trust my own instincts to identify critical or dangerous situations.
I learned to appreciate the access to arts and music from all around world and from all eras of the world history. I learned how to live with only a little amount of money and “things” alone don’t make happy.
I learned how it feels to be a foreigner and that language is not a barrier. I learned how it enriches to meet people and make friends from all around the world and get to know about their countries and cultures.
I learned that it is OK to be alone as long as you don’t feel lonely and that not all friendships last forever. I learned that having one single friend who you can trust to help you no matter in which situation is worth having thousands of “friends” who would not answer the phone when you call them in inconvenient times.
I learned how to embrace the change and how to accept the fact that your environment and your friends don’t always change the way you change.
But most importantly I learned not to take anything for granted and that it can take a lot of strength and endurance to have a fulfilled life.
Without hesitation I’d encourage everyone, no matter at what age, to take a year off and live abroad on their own.
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