The moments I have spent abroad taught me a lot of things on every level.
I have learnt to be independent, adapt myself to every situation, appreciate moments on my own, take initiatives and organize myself.
Let’s also be honest, I am not going to pretend I have not been scared and did mistakes. I did a lot. I felt stupid a lot of times, I lost myself in many occasions and I have spent money on stupid ways. But that’s the purpose, you do a mistake, so you can learn from it.
You have to take care of everything and every shit that happens, it’s on you. And believe me, shit always happens. But you can’t do anything to plan every second of every day. There are always good and bad surprises that’s life. So, you learn to breath, calm down and accept that a lot of things that you can’t control are going to happen and you will have to accept iT.
Living in another country on my own has taught me to go with the flow and be patient. Generally, when you have problem with a reservation, your rental, your phone or your papers, nothing get solved in a couple of minutes.
Here is a little review of my trips outside of France:
- After I graduated my Licence degree, I packed a suitcase and a bag and left to discover London in England. It’s because of this trip that I achieved my actual English level. During this year I lived in a small house in a not-really-good but safe neighbourhood with other young people trying to improve their English skills. I have been working as a waitress in a pub, really cliche, with the regulars every night asking for the same amount of beers. I also worked in a clothes shop and since then, I have admiration for people working in this area. There is nothing more annoying than spending 20 minutes folding a pile of clothes and then having a client destroying it in 10 seconds.
Last but not least, I have been a barista in Starbucks and I can honestly say it has been one the toughest jobs I had in my life.
London is an expensive but very nice city to live. There is always a lot of different things to do and once you passed the typical touristic spots, there are amazing little places hidden in every neighbourhood.
What I liked the most is how British people don’t care about the way you are dressed and clothed. People have very different styles and they aren’t scared to do what they want.
A spirit I never found in France. I can’t speak and generalize an entire population but from my experience, English people are very much less judgmental and it’s a release.
- After this year in a rainy environment (still better than my native Normandy), I chose to go to Spain to also improve my second language. As I have Spanish origins in my family and went to Spain every summer since I was a baby, that was kind of an obvious choice.
I went to the Alicante University, in the province of Valencia and studied in one year my Communication Master’s degree. The classes were really interesting, modern and collaborative. I was the only French, all the classes were in Spanish and we were a very mixed group of students. A part of the class was coming from the city but the majority from different parts of Spain and various countries of South America and East Europe.
It has been very interesting to learn from so many various cultures. Also, Spanish people know how to work hard but also, they know how to party hard, especially in Alicante where you have sun all year around.
What was better than England and very similar to France, was the food. Spain has incredible fresh foods and each province has its own recipes and treats.
I keep as a souvenir a population suffering from the civil war and fighting numerous economic and political problems, but with a ferocious willing to enjoy life.
- After my master’s degree I stayed in France for two years and a half. During this period, I travelled for short weekends and holidays. I celebrated one of my birthdays in Amsterdam, two New Years in London and I went back to Spain during the summers.
I made two road trips that made me fall in love with North America.
One in Canada for a month by myself: I went to Quebec, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
One to California with friends: LA, San Francisco, Vegas and a lot of small towns in between.
It took me a long time to get there but every time I was in Canada or United States I thought, “I will be back to live here someday’. Which led me in 2017 to my next move in Montreal.
- May I say the obvious: it has been the coldest year of my life. No one can complain to me about cold except for people who lived in Canada or any country from the North.
I have to endure the all freezing winter but what a human experience. By far Canadian people, Quebecois for the least, are so welcoming, warm and easy to live with.
It stuck in my mind and I repeat all the time now, it’s a cold country but full of warm people.
I have had crazy work experiences and I made friends for life. You have to make tight relationships to endure this type of cold for months (and a lot of alcohol, it helps stay warms, we use the same excuse in Normandy).
Montreal is a really special place because there is a huge mix of different cultures. The city also has two faces, one for the winter that you wouldn’t recognize during the summer. It seems like another planet, everybody is outside all the time and the city teems of activities.
From the beginning I knew this place was going to be temporary for me because my ultimate goal was to go to America. But I am really grateful for the year I spend there and the people that crossed my path.
- My most recent move is to Miami. As a former Normande who spend a lot of time on rainy and snowy places, I wanted my spot in the sun. I took several trips to Miami during my year in Montreal, I liked the energy and made it my new destination goal.
As I am living here only since a couple of weeks, I will give you guys a feedback in a couple of months. For now, I still feel like a tourist in an adaptation mode, looking all the time for the landmarks I have lost.
To conclude, to each and every one of you that fears to go abroad for a week or a year, just go. Jump and go. It doesn’t matter if it goes how you were expecting it or not. You will learn tons of stuff and you will grow as a person. Of course, to do so, you will have to try and don’t give up when the difficulties are coming to you.
When I was in London, I had a lot of roommates that left after only a couple of weeks because they found it too hard to work with a low English level. I get it. But if you give up and go home where you can speak only French and stay in your comfort zone, how do you expect to improve your language skills?
Believe me, I watch shows in English and Spanish and I read books and articles in those languages. It helps, but it won’t make all the work and won’t make you bilingual. There is nothing more efficient than living in a country to improve your language because you doesn’t give you the choice. You are forced to adapt yourself and get better because you don’t want to feel uncomfortable and stupid all the time.
If you guys want more details or advices about one of the trips I did, just tell me and I will develop more.