The Expat Life: From Canada to England

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!adventures-and-naps

 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!adventures-and-naps-4

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
  • exercising
  • drinking lots of water
  • taking time for hobbies
  • staying in touch with friends and family
  • exploring your new home

adventures-and-naps-3 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. adventures-and-naps-5

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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10 thoughts on “The Expat Life: From Canada to England

  1. It’s always interesting to read about other people experiences. And food is one of those things that is surprisingly so different! Both the meals, but also the eating habits.

    I’ve been an expat for so long, that it was actually weird when I returned to my home country when I was 18, and I felt like I didn’t belong at all! It was very weird. I was completely out of tune with everything, what was new or trendy, even my way of talking was so different that some people thought I was a foreigner, but I wasn’t. I left again when I was almost 20, and I felt much better outside of my country! I don’t really see myself living full-time in my country again. I’m used to being “the foreigner” and people already expect me to not understand all the references, to not have had the same upbringing, and are actually amazed of how well I fit in.

    • You are exactly right! One thing I would be afraid of moving to another country would be the food. I know that is silly, but I can be picky on occasions and I have a weak stomach. So if I didn’t like the way something looked I am not sure if I could eat it.

      I have never experienced living out of the country. I have lived outside of Alabama for only 6 months in Louisiana. Even then though Louisiana is so different. I can’t imagine moving to a new country, I would love to experience it though.

      Well I am glad you are here for a little while, or maybe forever lol. I am sure you have some exciting stories to tell! Thanks for sharing your story. How long have you been living in the U.S.?

      • I’ve been here for a bit over 3 years. And I will likely stay for a big while, since I married an American. Though I keep telling him that it would be cool if we could live somewhere else for at least 6 months or a year sometime in the future. I don’t mind too much living in Utah for the rest of my life, though the thought of it sounds a bit boring to me. And I would really love for my future children to experience living somewhere else as well, I think it changes the way you think. As a little girl from a tiny Central American country, living and visiting other places since I was so young taught me that nothing is impossible, and that we have no boundaries. Which is something that not a lot a young people in “third-world countries” learn, we usually think we are small and insignificant. And even here in the US, I feel that people who haven’t traveled a lot, or who have never been outside of the country, are missing out on a lot. And you don’t need to necessarily travel, it’s stuff you could also learn through blogs and books, but traveling is what opens your eyes to see what’s out there. I met a girl once that embarrassingly admitted to me she didn’t know they had cars or modern technology in South Africa until the World Cup happened. There’s so much talking about wanting to make the world a better place, but we have to learn about it first. This became a super long rant, sorry! I just think that traveling is not just about vacationing, but it’s so much more 🙂

        • Oh I agree! It’s not about just relaxing, eating, and drinking! That is one reason I like to travel, and read about traveling. I like learning about other countries and their culture. There is sooo much people from the U.S. do not know. Our education to me is not that great, but I also feel like going to these places are a lot more interesting than learning about them in the classroom.

          I would love to do the same, move to different cities and live there for about a year and then do it all over again. (sigh) I wish.

          And I love this —-> “There’s so much talking about wanting to make the world a better place, but we have to learn about it first. ” Because it is beyond true! I feel like people are shouting we need to do something, let’s help out, but they really do not know what’s going on in that part of the world. You have to know what is going on first before you can help.

  2. Honestly. I couldn’t live in any other country except the US. I love visiting other countries. ADORE IT actually… But whenever I come back to the states, I always feel like it’s giving me a big, warm and inviting hug, welcoming me back home!

    • I feel you! I would love to move somewhere for maybe 3-6 months tops. I was gone for 3 weeks to Europe in 2013, and I was extremely happy to be home! I missed my familiarity! But then in two weeks I was ready to leave again. Like Alanna said it being an emotional rollercoaster! Imagine it is! I think it would hard to live somewhere else besides the country you grew up in, unless you live in a horrible country…

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