I grew up in Cote d'Ivoire, a country where I was surrounded with many people from different nationalities. I believe I have been lucky to be able to know so many people from different background since my young age and listen to different languages and learn different ways of life.
I guess that's what pushed me to travel and make the leap of faith to go live abroad. The first time I travelled on my own, I still remember today how scary it was. I am leaving my family, my friends and go towards the unknown, get out of my comfort zone.
The first weeks were fun, you are in the discovering phase also known as "tourist phase" when everything is new and exciting but soon enough this phase fades away and the reality hits you, you are in a foreign country, you barely speak the language, you are on your own with no body to support you, well, at least in the beginning. That's something not everybody can handle, especially when the home sick feeling kicks in and it is only normal to feel that way, it's just a phase.
Some of us will then go back to their home country, but others left their countries for a reason: work, studies, travel, love, war, etc... and we don't have any other choices than overcome the challenge to make a new life. Here are a few things you might encounter on your way to live abroad:
1. You will lose contact with most of your friends you use to hang out with in your home country
2. You won't see your family as often as you wish...
3. You will become social media savvy to keep in touch with friends and family
4. You will feel lonely sometimes
5. You will make new friends from all around the world
6. You will speak other language(s) and lose your vocabulary in your mother tongue
7. You won't be afraid to travel to any destination no more
8. You will have different language settings on your electronic devices
9. You will write and think in another language
10. You will know how to fit everything in a bag if you had to leave tomorrow
There will be ups and downs, that is for sure. But no matter how long you will stay in a foreign country, you will make connections with people you will keep in your life forever, even with the distance.
One advice I can give you is to try to blend in as much as you can and soak in everything in the beginning. Be curious, go explore, learn the history, learn the customs. You might be there for a semester, a year or indefinite time, so make your experience abroad as worth it as you can.
I live in Ireland now, that's the fourth country in which I have lived. Before that, I grew up in Cote d'Ivoire, then went to France and United Kingdom. Each country brought me something, they helped me to grow and discover new things about myself. Living abroad helps to adapt yourself quickly to the unknown, to be more open minded, to improve language skills, and to be more independent.
Ireland is certainly not the last country in which I will live my life. Living abroad has taught me that borders are just imaginary lines. The world has no limits and I wanna keep on exploring it. I guess that's what we commonly call catching the travel bug!