As I approach the end of my third year studying at Goldsmiths, and come closer to the end of another chapter in my life, I feel like I could move to another country. Again. I was born in Italy and moved to Ireland when I was 17, then to London when I was 19 for uni. Although it’s never easy – and probably even harder as we grow older – moving abroad is one of the best decisions you can make. It’s life changing.
Here’s what to expect…
You grow up in unexpected ways
In the exact moment you land in another country, you are already different to the person you left at home. It’s a cliché, but moving abroad changes the way you think, the way you act, the way you socialise, the way you interact with the world and, yes, even yourself.
You learn how to fit your life into a suitcase (or even hand luggage at times!)
Whenever you will pack to go back to visit your family, or to go on a trip somewhere, you will learn how to fit your whole life into a bag. You’ll become pretty great at it, too. After a few visits, you will know how to pack everything you own half-asleep, maybe tipsy, at 3am, three hours before your flight.
Culture shock is real, and happens when you least expect it
Seriously, it exists, and it will make you wonder why you moved away from home, it will make you sad, sometimes angry, and there is no way to prepare for it. It also does not happen once as people think, but many times. It could hit you when you’re having a bad day, when you’re homesick or during rush hour on the tube. Breathe in and out, give yourself a minute and think of all the good things you have seen, done, and felt since you packed up your life to embrace this new city. It becomes worth it.
You become both a tourist and a local
One of the best aspects of moving abroad is exploring your new surroundings and being a tourist in your new city. You will enjoy the touristy areas, but you will really find yourself when discovering your own favourite spots. You’ll find it just by walking around or getting a bus to a random place just because the name of the road sounds nice. You never know what you’ll find on your way to the supermarket.
You learn how to survive without much money
After a few months of shopping, galleries and “Let’s go for one drink!”, you will slowly learn how to survive with just a few coins in your pocket. Suddenly you will love cheap soup, cheaper wine and nights in watching Netflix.
You become your own best friend
You’ll make new friends, but you’ll also learn how to be on your own. Living abroad will help you to get to know yourself in so many new ways, that at times you’ll feel like you just want some time for yourself. This is they key to learning how to make yourself your own home wherever you go next.
So what are you waiting for? The world is waiting for you.
Words, Benedetta Ricci
Feature pic: Benedetta Ricci