I think there is not a single person that is not waiting for the moment they move out of their parents’ house and start to experience all the changes necessary to start living their life on their own. But have you ever wondered how is it to live alone in a whole new country? Let me tell you, it is not easy. It is a big new adventure that will most certainly help you develop from all points of view.
My experience – changes that can occur
For a year, I studied in Austria, in a small town, called Krems and it was much more than I expected for various reasons, but it also was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life because such an experience changes your whole life. Used to the comfort from home and to your own little habits and routines, being in a different country, with different rules and traditions, with a new language and different norms of behavior, it takes a lot of courage to make such big changes all in once and on your own.
First things first, I have to say that the people and how they interact was one of the first obstacles I had to overcome. Every single person I interacted with in Romania had such an expressive way to show their feelings, being them of joy or of sadness, they truly knew how to express themselves. Either by the way they talk or the look in their eyes, you can figure out what they are thinking. Or at least, I do. But in Austria, people do not show their emotions. You can’t read them. You can try, but it is really hard to succeed. They are way more private and they really mind their own business.
Then I think you can imagine that the language barrier really hits hard, especially in an international university. Imagine this: you are in class, the teacher talks in English, but gives some examples in German, then, your colleague from France, answers a question in English, but does not remember some names in English, so tries to explain them, using some French information too, and so on with all the students, but from Spain, Italy, Hungary, Russia, South Africa, China, Korea, and a lot of other countries.
The language, along with all the different backgrounds, is now mixing in your head. Of course, it is hard in the beginning to get used to this, but trust me, that it is such a unique experience to learn from various people with such a diversity of experiences.
What was even more different was the way that things work in the city. When it comes to shops and restaurants, all of them are closed on Sundays. On normal weekdays they closed at 6 or 7 PM and on Saturdays, they closed at 2 PM. There, the weekend was supposed to be a special time when you can stay with your family or cared ones. If you try to take a walk on a Sunday in Krems, you will mostly find other 4, 5 people on the streets. This is something that I really appreciated there. They know how to take time for themselves.
My advice – how to overcome the hard changes
I know that all of that can seem really scary at first, but don’t worry, if you truly want something to work out, you can do all it takes to make it happen. You can take it step by step, one day at a time. This is what I did. I recommend you make some friends and everything will be better. You can share your experiences, you can complain about what is bothering you, you can take out your problems, even if it is just for a while.
Later on, you have to turn your new apartment, room, or house into your new home. What I mean by this is that you have to create your new comfort zone where you live now. If you have a place where you can just be yourself, with your thoughts, with your routines, you can forget about all the other stressful stuff that is going on around you.
As a final piece of advice, I honestly think that the best solution is to forget about all the difficulties you may find. Just try to live your life fully and travel, discover, make new friends, interact with all types of people, study, have fun, be happy, be sad, just let yourself feel whatever you have to feel and try to improve yourself as much as you can, so you can become the best version of yourself.
Don’t forget the good sides!
Whether you are in Austria or another foreign country, or even in your own country, do not forget to see all the amazing things that are going on in your life. You have the opportunity to experience new food, new architecture, new places, and, overall, a new chapter of your life. Don’t forget to enjoy every airplane trip you have, every train ride you have to take, every bite of the new food you are trying, every new sight, and every new place.