By: Katelyn Duong
1. Don’t pack your house with you
This is for the people who are going to have their first time living abroad. It can be
quite daunting to leave all your familiar stuff behind since you never know when
you will need your favorite towel or spirit animal cup. But to be honest, most of
the things that you need for your everyday survival can be easily found in your
local grocery stores or drugstores, you won’t need to bring them all the way from
home unless the place where you are going to is in the middle of nowhere. Extra spending
may be required, but it will save you the stress and energy of packing.
2. People will have stereotypes about you
Just as you can have an opinion about other cultures and people, the people
you meet may also think in a certain way about you. Stereotypes may or may
not be true, but it is inevitable if you or the person you meet are not educated
enough about such matters. It is important to have an open mind and not be
negative about your opinion toward others.
3. Financial Management is your new best friend
Managing your finances is hard already at home, it can even be trickier if you’re
moving to a new country, especially the ones using a different type of currency. If
you are not the type of person who keeps track of their spending, like me, you
should start trying out different methods or applications that can help you
monitor or at least know the amount you are spending every month and set up a
saving plan for it as this does help a lot.
Personally, I’ve been using and highly recommend Money Lover or Wallet to log
my spending. A good financial app is the one that allows you to set up budgets
or restrictions to how much you can spend each month. If you are more of a
card person, then using your bank mobile app can be a great way to keep track
of your money. Research in advance the exchange rate of your currency and of
the destination abroad, the preferred method of payment of the destination and
you can save yourself quite a lot from exchange rates and withdrawal fees.
4. You can never be fully prepared
There are going to be things that you can only experience when you set foot in
the destination. For instance, it is hard to know how cold -20 degree or +30
degree feels like if you have never experienced either, the same with culture
shock or homesick. You know it will happen and you can equip yourself with the
knowledge to avoid it but it is inevitable. Instead of indulging yourself to know
everything about the destination, keep an open mind and adapt yourself along
the way, you will go far.
5. Having fewer expectations means you can have a better and deeper experience
It is no surprise that the expectations we have are largely built by what we see
and hear from people around us. But those pictures and stories will do little
justice to the lives that are actually happening there.
Especially when you are going to spend a while living there, you will experience far more than what
is told by those travel magazines or brochures on the internet. And sometimes
those priceless moments of experience don’t come from the picturesque
landscape but from the people you met or spend time with. Those little moments
of sharing stories and clashes of culture are what made memories. So embrace
the now and don’t expect too much about the future.
6. Culture shock is a real deal
You will not know it’s there when it hits. That’s what I personally experience
when everything starts to go downhill or to be technical when it passes the
“honeymoon phase.” Culture shock happens inevitably when a person is abroad
and experiencing a culture that is different from one’s own. The problem can
vary from noticeable things, such as culture gap, information, and generation gap,
homesick to more subtle things such as boredom or personal disorientation.
Everything starts from the mind, and being abroad brings a lot of pressure to
what you think as well. There is no true way to prevent this from happening but
think of this as a way for you to learn and emerge yourself in a new culture.
There is a lot of information on the topic of culture shock, so educate yourself to
know what you are dealing with. With time, things will improve for the better. If
you are interested in information about human psychology and what to expect
emotionally when going abroad, leave a comment to let us know and we’ll see
you in our next post.