Ever wonder what it’s like to live in a country other than your own? Here is a guest post from Adventures and Naps telling us how she settled into a new country:
Hi everyone! I’m Alanna over at Adventures and Naps, a 23-year-old Canadian trying out life in England. I hope you enjoy my piece below!
“What is it like to be an expat?”
Where do I even begin?
Being an expat, an immigrant living in a foreign country, is basically an emotional rollercoaster. Some days are incredible, filled with experiences I could have never had living back in Canada. Things like exploring historic English villages, climbing nearby mountains in Wales or seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London. I am truly lucky!
Me exploring Edinburgh
Other days it’s panic attacks, ugly crying and feeling constantly overwhelmed. Things are different, difficult and exhausting. Some days I get home and wish I could curl up with my parents watching Jeopardy or take my dog back in Canada for a hike.
For me, living as an expat is trying to find a balance between the two. Because I moved across the pond to live with my English boyfriend, I’m lucky to already have a solid support system in my new country. But even then, there’s still bad days. And that’s just life!
Visiting Margate, a local sea-side town
Looking after yourself as an expat involves simple self-care like:
- following a solid routine
- getting enough sleep
- eating well
- drinking lots of water
- taking time for hobbies
- staying in touch with friends and family
- exploring your new home
Driving on the left side of the road and getting stopped by local horses
Life in England isn’t too different from Canada which makes the transition a bit easier. It’s still the same language, similar weather and comparable culture. I take the bus to work, finish my 8-hour shift, walk to the gym, bus home, shower, make dinner and play some video games. Nothing too different from Canada.
But I buy my bus ticket in pounds, everyone at work has an English accent, I can’t stop off at Tim Horton’s for a quick snack, the bus drives me home on the left side of the road and I don’t have Kraft Dinner in the cupboards. It ends up being the small things that build up that can be overwhelming.
A full-English breakfast at home
If living abroad is something you’re interested in, do not brush it off! It’s an achievable dream with some hard work. Take lots of time researching cost of living and visa requirements, make sure to contact expats for first-hand knowledge and spend some time in your potential new country. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s been the best experience of my life.
Whenever I’m having a rough day, I always remind myself of 13-year-old me, dreaming of adventures in faraway places. Just take a deep breath and carry on.
Thank you Alanna for taking the time to share your experience with moving over to a different culture!
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