Romanticized Life Abroad: Not What You Think Living Abroad is Like

People romanticize that living abroad is this fabulous/ glamorous living experience where you go on trips every weekend to Paris or wherever, don’t have hardships, and just like the movies. Living abroad is an experience everyone should get to do, but it’s not glamorous! By living aboard, you are giving up the familiar for a new and strange place. Living aboard will open many new and exciting possibilities for you. Plus, you can learn/ improve language skills. During the past month, I’ve had to find a flat (apartment), open a bank account, navigate through a new city, and communicate daily in broken Spanish. Plus, go to the ER and see a Spanish speaking doctor!!!! Also, I’ve had to battle anxiety, homesickness, and loneness.   I don’t regret moving overseas to Madrid. This experience has allowed me to become a stronger and more independent woman who is living her goals and dreams abroad.

My job has made me get over my fears and become a role model for my kids. I work Tuesday- Friday at school and tutor on the side to make extra money. I have rent and bills to pay. I am not going out every night partying till the sun comes up. I am busy planning stuff for work or tutoring sessions. I am a citizen of Madrid not a tourist!

During the last 30 days, I’ve been pushed to the point of an anxiety attack. I’ve not had one because Spain has reminded me, more than once, everything will come together and I need to take things in life one step at time. Spanish Government is a messy system to work with because there’s not set standard on how things are to be done and the idea that if something is not done today there’s always tomorrow.  My anxiety has been reduced because there are things in this country that I can’t stress and worry over. For example, getting a piso or applying for my residential card. Spain has made me more of risk taker. I now enjoy getting lost in neighborhoods and checking out new things in my current home. The past 30 days I have socialized with new people, gone to lunch by myself, explored Madrid on my own, practiced and improved my Spanish, and allowed myself to be comfortable in my own skin without others judging me. I moved 5,000 miles away from home, but this was the right choice for me. I am so happy here and have so much joy for where my life is heading.

There’s a price you pay for living abroad which is changing relationships with family and friends. 5,000 miles has placed a communication block, time zone difference, and changed how close I am with friends. I knew that my choice of living overseas would change my relationships with family and friends forever, but I am willing to pay the price to live overseas and chase my dreams. Over the last month it’s become clear to me who really matters in my life. People who were bad news in my life have dropped out of my life. I am allowed to reinvent myself and not worry about others judging me harshly. Moving abroad has giving me rebirth and sanctuary from everything that I needed to remove myself from.

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