Living abroad has taught us a great many things about people, cultures, languages, and behaviour. In this post we share the five most valuable lessons we have learnt from living abroad. Living is a constant lesson, maybe living abroad just hastens it.

Bratislava Slovakia

  • Living Abroad Will Not Change Who You Are

When I used to be a teenager a decade or so back, I used to complain about the dreariness of my home town. Nothing ever happened, there was nothing to do. Fast-forward life a years and you find me sitting in a room of Moscow, admiring the sunset through my window. The view was a lot nicer than that I was used to in my teens, but I had not changed much. There I was, drinking tea and playing with a jigsaw puzzle – in one of the coolest cities on the planet. What can I say, tea and jigsaws are actually quite a lot of fun!

  • Home Is Quite Good After All

Well, that actually isn’t true – it really depend where you come from. However, I have learnt to appreciate some things back home after living abroad. For instance, let’s mention the social security in the Nordic countries – (let’s not talking about where it is heading), it is easy to live in the Nordic countries. Really, it is.

Bratislava Slovakia

  • People Are Very Much Alike Everywhere

I’m trying not to the state the obvious here, but in this time and place it seems quite necessary. People are very much alike everywhere. We worry about the same things, and we care about the same things. There is so much suspicion, so much hatred, in Europe right now. But – at the end of the day we are all people, trying to get by and along, trying to make a living.

  • “Strive On, And Have Faith”

This is one my absolute favourite lines. It can be found in a work called The Tragedy of Man by Hungarian Imre Madách. The Hungarian version reads: “Küzdj, és bízva bízzál!“. When you go abroad, and live among strangers, and in a system you do not know, you need to trust, and have faith. I’m not talking about faith in the religious sense, but you need to have faith in yourself, know that you will be able to tackle any obstacle in your way. And you need to trust others, in a way you don’t at home, because your safety net is gone. Your independence grows so much when you leave your comfort zone.

Bratislava Slovakia

  • Communication Is Much Easier Than You Think

Some people don’t mind communicating with everyone around them. And then there are us, the shy ones. When you live abroad, you must get out of your comfort zone (at least that’s what people claim!). You need to talk to people, get things done. And you often have to do this in a foreign language. Some people do it the hard way and learn the language (which, in my opinion you should do if you plan to stay in a country for long), others find completely new forms of communication. Either way, you find a way if you have to. Funny story! Before staring to work in Slovakia, I had to pass a health check. The eye doctor was a friendly, but rather strange, old man who would insist on speaking Slovak. The problem? I did not speak any Slovak. Imagine what happened when I exclaimed: ” Ya ne ponimaju!” (I don’t understand!) in Russian. He started making fun of the nurse, in Russian.