things I've learned while living abroad
Photo by Menghan Zhang on Unsplash


The idea of living and working abroad seems exciting and frightening at the same time. I mean, going out of your comfort zone and trying something new gives me that feeling of nervousness which I had never experienced. Back in the Philippines, life was at its regular pace. Living comfortably with my parents, my daily routine is work and home, going out on a weekend (sometimes not even on weekends). So, if you are like me, who was given the opportunity to try to live and work abroad, here are my 10 learnings I’ve learned while living abroad.

  1. I learned to trust people.

Trust is a big word, and lots of people will tell you never to trust others. Even our parents taught us not to talk to strangers. But hey, you will be alone abroad and the only way to get through the day is to have friends who will be soon in your family. And the only way to have this so-called family is to trust them. Moreover, the world is filled with kind souls who will inspire you to live.

  1. I learned to value time

From the moment you wake up until the time you go back to your bed, you will do everything. Preparing your meal, doing your laundry, cleaning your room, going to work, everything you will do. It was hard at first especially if you used to live with your parents who will do everything for you. I have learned that time is gold. You will accomplish less tasks if you do not know how to manage your time. Set priorities. Finish tasks on time.

  1. I learned how to spend the hard-earned penny wisely.

Yes! Coming from me, most of my friends will not agree that I had learned this thing, but yes, I did! During my first year of living and working abroad, I haven’t saved anything. But I am always present during mall sales, weekend brunches with friends and the likes. After quite some time, you will come to a point that it is enough to have those same sets of clothes, those same pair of shoes, coming over to a friends’ house for lunch. I must tell you this, it is okay to spend your money on things like this but after you must save, after all, it is saving money the reason why you are working abroad

  1. I learned to pretend

Pretension is not bad after all, fake it until you make it. Fake it until you perfect it. If you are promoted in a new job that you don’t know how to do, accept it and learn about it later. Trust me that you will do great, let your spark shine well. Learnings will come along the way.

  1. I learned to rely on myself

At the end of the day, the only one who will understand you better is yourself. So, learn to believe in yourself. Trust that small voice coming from you. You can do it! If you fail, go back to number 4.

things I've learned while living abroad

  1. I learned to get up during my lowest points.

Sometimes, it is okay to just be lazy. Lock yourself in the room, close the blackout and cry. I am telling you; it is one of the best feelings in the world. To let go of all your worries and emotions. After that, you will feel light, you will feel renewed. Just remember where you stumbled and get up from that position.

  1. I learned how to make connections.

I am not just talking about work, rather how to build your network, your friends. Personally. I had made a lot of friends while traveling and living abroad. As I mentioned in learning number 1, do not be afraid. These people will contribute to your whole being even in their little ways

  1. I learned to get good points from others.

You are like a jigsaw puzzle, made from tiny bits of everything. Try to see the bright side of each person you will meet along the way. Learn from these people. Bit by bit, take all the good points and soon you will see a beautiful picture of yourself

  1. I learned to pray.

It is not that I don’t know how to pray, or I don’t pray. But living alone in a foreign land, it is God where I can talk to every time. He is and he will always be my way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper and light in the darkness as the song by Sinach goes. God will always be there for you, in good times and bad times. If you feel heavy, just talk to him and your burden will be lightened.

  1. I learned that it is okay to go back home.

After 5 years of living abroad, I have learned that it is okay to step backward, tone down, and go back home. There is always no place like home. If you feel uncertain, it is totally fine. That is the beauty of uncertainties. You can always go back home, breathe the same fresh air you used to. It does not mean you quit with your dream, but more of like preparing yourself for another life adventure.

I know 10 learnings aren’t enough to summarize everything I learned while living, working, and traveling overseas. In this crazy ride called “LIFE” one thing is certain, that life is a cycle, a never-ending one. It is a continuous process of learning, getting mistakes, falling, and getting up again.

Have you tried living overseas? Share one of your learning below.


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