7 unforgettable firsts of living abroad
1. First time you are mistaken for a local
That moment when you get stopped in the middle of the street and asked for directions is priceless. Yes, I do live here, I can show you where to go and I am not a tourist!
2. First dream in a foreign language
You might not remember the details when you wake up, but you’ll know it happened. That first dream in a foreign language often occurs during a language immersion experience, like living abroad. It’s a wonderful indicator that your brain is soaking up all that exposure to a foreign language and you’re a step closer to fluency.
3. First time you get completely lost and find your way home
Getting lost for the first time isn’t exactly something you want to remember. But that first time you actually navigate your way back home is an experience to be savored. It’s a huge learning moment, even if it takes hours and feels like a waste of time. Learning is never a waste!
4. First local friend
Maybe you met at the gym in your building or at a nearby coffee shop, but this is your very first local friend in a foreign country and it’s a pretty big deal. Friendships with locals ground you to a nation’s people and the culture in a unique way. A local friend also isn’t necessarily an easy thing to find, which is why when you find them, you really cherish them.
5. First time you don’t have to ask any questions about the menu
Navigating the menu in a foreign country can be more problematic than anyone would like to admit. Asking the waiter tons of questions can be uncomfortable, though it’s important to understand what you’ll be getting on your plate, especially if you have allergies. You’ll be so relieved that first day you pop open the menu and know exactly what you want.
6. First time missing your native tongue
As exciting as it can be living in a country where they speak a foreign language, it can get tiring always having to think a little bit harder about what to say in public places. It’s just not as comfortable speaking a foreign language, so it’s natural to miss speaking in your native tongue. This is especially true when you’re looking for a specific medicine or food item that you have no clue how to say.
7. First time you’re homesick for a place outside your home country
This is what happens once you get back home, of course. No matter how happy you may be to be back in your home country with your family, you’ll really miss the sights, tastes, sounds and smells of your intern abroad country!
To read more about the living abroad experience, check out the blogs that our alumni wrote about their experiences.