The toolkit to thrive abroad

This piece was written by Cloe Grampa.

I decided to move from Italy to the UK seven years ago and with time passing, I realised that there are a few things that have allowed me to thrive while being away from home. 

Moving to a new country is an amazing opportunity to discover a new aspect of yourself that otherwise, you would not be able to find at home. It is a challenge, and a lot of the time, it is not easy to find ways to help yourself when you are so far away from your support network. 

This topic reminds me of a beautiful quote from the book “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” by Milan Kundera that beautifully describes living abroad: “Being in a foreign country meanswalking a tightrope high above the ground without the net afforded a person by the country where he has his family, colleagues, and friends, and where he can easily say what he has to say in a language he has known from childhood.” 

I hope this little list will give you all the tools needed to make the most of living in a foreign country, but as a disclaimer, I would like to say that sometimes you will feel homesick and sometimes, you will wish things were easier. Please be gentle with yourself.

 Moving abroad is a huge deal, and you deserve to treat yourself with kindness, especially in the moments of darkness.

 1. Find a Support Network

The first thing you will need to allow yourself to thrive is to find a support network. I know it sounds easier to say than to actually do it, but trust me it is easier than you think. It takes time to actually create a support network but these tips will fast-forward your search for friends. 

Facebook has been proven to be the best way to find friends. Most of the time, there are Facebook groups for people who come from abroad in a given city. For instance, I am Italian, and I live in Brighton, UK. I found so manyfriends by typing “Italians in Brighton” and a couple of groups popped up. You’ve just got to sign up and read the rules, and then you will be able to write a post introducing yourself and asking for a friend. 

Another group that was incredibly helpful was “Brighton Girl”. Unfortunately, The City Girl Network which is the one that runs Brighton Girl, is only UK based. You can easily find your city on their website; read the rules and you are ready to go. 

Bumble Friends is a free app to install that allows you to match with like-minded people. It is literally like a dating app but for friends. 

It might take a little bit of time to actually find your people, but never give up and know that there is people around you that would love to meet you and spend time with you.

2. Engage with the Community 

My second tip that will allow you to thrive is to engage with the community of the place where you live. There are many ways in which you can do this. First, you can again check on Facebook what events are running in your local area, and you can pick a couple to check out. This is not only a beautiful way to make the most of spending your time abroad, but it is also a way to connect with other people who live close to you. 

It will push you out of your comfort zone which is an amazing thing; you will find out so much more about yourself.

3. Journaling

This is probably one of those things that you will think, why would  journaling help me thrive abroad? Well, let me tell you. Sometimes you might feel isolated and not being able to make sense of your days, and journaling offers you an outlet whereyou can share all your thoughts and feelings. You will also be able to record your good days and the fun activities you have undertaken . 

It might seem useless at the beginning, but it is an incredible tool to properly see your growth. Journaling has saved my life many times while living abroad and I now made it part of mydaily routine. 

4. Keep touch with your support network from home. 

Although many do not understand what it is like to leave one’scountry or city, old friends and family can keep us company and provide us the necessary reassurance during tough times. They will also follow your progress and growth. By talking to old friends, you will be able to see how far you have come. 

I hope you found this little list of tips helpful. Know that youare never alone and that there are many people in the same position as you. With the grace of the internet you will find friends in no time. 

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