Moving to another country is something many people have probably thought about. I did it, and now when people ask me where my home is, I tell them that I live in a beautiful country on the Pacific Ocean, among the picturesque Andes Mountains and the Amazon jungle.
I live in a country with a very interesting and ancient culture. I walk and work everyday where more than 500 years ago the amazing people of the Tauantinsuyo Empire lived, and where amazing Inca structures are still preserved today. Yes, I live in Peru now.
I answer this way because this is how I feel about the country. But I could have answered in a different way, sad and vulgar, and then my feelings, moods, and impressions would have been appropriate.
Abandon everything and move away
How does a person who decides to change the country of residence act? He chooses a place for his future life, weighs the pros and cons, assesses possible risks, makes a tourist trip to the chosen country, then decides: “Yes, I want to live here”, and calmly moves. He knows where he is going and why.
At least, before my own demarche, I had exactly this picture in my head. In real life it was different: a ticket was bought, one suitcase was taken, and I left without very well-thought-out plans and without one of the most important skills – knowledge of the language.
Of course, the year before that I had the opportunity to see the country for a month as a tourist. While visiting the wonderful city of Cusco, it even occurred to me something like:
“It would be nice to live here for a while”.
But so to plan a moving abroad (with all my belongings and permanently) to a place where I would work, knowing what I would do… Hmm… I’ve never had that.
We never know ahead of time what will happen with our lives. And to summarize, there can be many variations of how, why, and how you ended up where you did. Everyone has a different story.
But now you have moved abroad. Your environment has changed. You’re here… and what? What changes besides the landscape around you? Do you change yourself or not?
Have I changed? Have I become happier?
It’s hard to say. Some changes in those five years certainly happened to me. But are they related to the move, or was it a natural process of growing up. So it’s hard to answer these questions unequivocally.
But I do know that now I pay more attention to myself, to my inner world. I appreciate communicating more with people with whom I am “on the same wave”. And I have more peace of mind inside. I have become more tolerant of people, but more categorical in my relationships with people. I have also learned to take responsibility for myself.
Of my circle of acquaintances who have radically changed their place of residence, I like to communicate with such people who have moved harmoniously – both physically and mentally. They have combined their past experiences, their culture, their lifestyle and accepted the new country, people and culture, they are trying to realize their present experience. Such a person is interesting because he has undergone some kind of internal transformation.
I know there’s a saying:
“Wherever you come, you will only find there what you bring with you”.
I don’t fully agree with that. The people who move to other countries do bring their habits and ways of life with them, but they change. And usually for the better.
In my opinion, my life now is the same as my home country, but my environment is completely different. In my country I was bored with people, they were like robots. My country didn’t have the same natural beauty and the urge to get out of the house often.
That is, my main motivation for moving was to communicate with new people, to discover my potential, to find inspiration in what surrounds me. And I found it all in Peru!
Of course the process of moving was not easy and everything was not exactly as I had pictured in my mind. In the process of adaptation I had to find answers to dozens of global questions: finding myself, my own business, finding opportunities to do what I like, finding new interesting things to do. I also had to deal with problems related to everyday life and communication. But somehow everything is gradually falling into place: friends and acquaintances are being found, and everyday issues are being solved. Maybe it was a little more difficult to find my own business, but it was found, too – all I had to do was to start moving.
How to get settled in new country faster?
First, you need to learn the language as early as possible. At least at a basic level.
Secondly, when you move to another country, you don’t have to close yourself off. You need to force yourself to get out of the house and start doing something interesting. Do what the inner voice calls you to do. Don’t be afraid to change yourself and change the world around you. Start taking action.
I know that when you are unfamiliar with everything, it’s not easy to do. At one time it helped me to take action in aikido. Now I do Thai boxing, MMA (mixed martial arts), kiting and running. And I also organize trips and show tourists one of my favorite countries – Peru. And it turned out to be my favorite thing to do.
What about the feeling of an outsider?
Many people ask me:
- How does one feel in this country?
- Does local people accept you as you are?
- How do you feel the differences in culture?
- Do you have to make an effort on yourself?
I answer: “It’s no more complicated here than it is when you move to other countries. And in general in these matters everything is individual”.
How you are perceived, what people come into your life, and how you react to them – all this does not depend on the country in which you lives. It depends only on the person himself.
But you have to be prepared for the fact that when you move to another country with a different culture, you have to work harder on yourself. Yes, you have to move, you have to act. That’s not the rhythm of life in my country. But after moving here, I have a much better understanding of the meaning of my life and learn some things quicker.
It is important to have your own goals, interests, desires, to create them, to achieve them, to solve them. It is important not to be indifferent to yourself and to the world around you. It is important to move, even if it is not quite clear what for and why, even if it is scary and uncomfortable.
The movement is life. It sounds hackneyed and trite, but it’s true.
Five tips to help you settle in a foreign country
- Learn the local language. If you know the language then learn the slang and dialects;
- Be active and constantly engaged in any activity that attracts you at the moment. Find in the new place something you like to do;
- Show interest in the world around you. There is no need to be indifferent. Ask yourself every morning: what is going on around me, with me?
- Be calm and humble as you learn a new culture of the country and people. Remember the parable: “If you can’t change the situation, change your attitude toward it”;
- Constantly work on yourself, develop and improve yourself and your skills.