Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Differences Between Studying and Working Abroad


You buy a plane ticket and you embark on this exciting adventure to an amazing European country for a semester where life is more laid back, the wine is cheap, and the nights are long. Walking through the narrow cobbled stoned streets, fall in love more and more everyday, explore the city's hidden corners, find the most local pubs and taverns, and make life-long friends. You have the most rewarding experience of your life and by the time you leave, your heart breaks slowly as the wheels of the plane take off from the tarmac. You sob and are close to hitting depression as you transition to being back home and the same routine until the light of the end of the tunnel appears- you suddenly come up with the idea of going back to that sweet life but instead of studying, you decide to finish your degree and work in the country you left your heart. As an individual who's been on both sides, here are somethings you should take into mind before making your big move.

1) The Paperwork is Messier: From apartment hunting to figuring out the paperwork yourself, moving abroad requires doing the nitty gritty work yourself. While during studying abroad your school or program did all of the arrangements, doing it yourself in a country foreign to you isn't easy, especially if you're not fluent in the language. 

2) Making Friends is Harder: During the studying abroad, you're able to go grab a drink with people in the same program or school, but moving and working abroad is a whole other ballpark. When moving to another country, be prepared to at times feel alone and take the initiative to get to know people doing the same thing as you. Join an expat Facebook page, attend a networking event, or meet people via social media outlets like Instagram.


3) Finding Housing is Draining and Difficult: Unlike study abroad where your program arrange housing, whether it's with a host family or through a residency, moving abroad is different and a lot more challenging to deal with. Whether it's dealing with roommate issues, landlords trying to rip you off (which can be a pain), you have to watch out for basically everything and anything that could go wrong before making one of the most important decisions when moving abroad.


4) Budgeting gets real: Most study abroad programs offer loans and/or grants so that students can take full advantage of this opportunity. Working abroad however is different since it means working, making an income, and dealing with bills while also making the most of your travels. This means budgeting, planning ahead, and making responsible financial decisions.

5) You Feel (almost) like a local: Moving to another country, working, and living day to day somehow makes you feel like your home- a place where you belong. This means you're more likely to assimilate to daily life and the way the locals live. Soon enough you'll be finding the best grocery stores to go to, your go-to place for a cup of coffee, and your favorite local place to grab a bite. 


6) Tough situations are amplified: Moving out after graduating is tough on everyone, even more so when moving abroad to a foreign country. Dealing with moving into a new city, trying to get settled in, and making friends is harder in a country that's not your native territory. This while getting homesick amplifies any tough situation you might encounter in your home country.

7) Maturing happens a lot faster: Studying abroad is a time where everything is taken care of by your program which means less things to deal with compared to moving and working abroad. The later one requires you to adapt quickly to different situations, look out after yourself, and grow a thicker skin which ultimately leads to becoming more mature. Moving abroad I've seen myself grow faster as an individual in two years than any other moment in my life- making it a rewarding experience.


Nevertheless, the journey to going abroad is 100% worth it and rewarding, I promise!


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