1. That you are more resourceful than you’ll ever give yourself credit for. Whether it’s innovating new ways to make the home meals that you miss or buying “necessities” to acclimatize yourself to your new home, you become inventive in ways you never imagined.
2. How comfortable you are with spending time alone. Whether it’s the initial nerve-wrecking process of making friends or simply needing time to miss everyone you’re not around anymore, you’ll spend lots of time alone. And you’ll learn how comfortable you are with yourself.
3. How well you really understand the similarities and differences between people. And whether those differences attract you or repel you from being around people who are like you, or different from you.
4. Whether you really are a “people person” or not. For the record, there’s nothing wrong with not being a “people person.” People can be exhausting, no matter where you go.
5. What your sense of humor is really like. No, I’m not referring to how cultural-specific humor can be. But rather whether you’re the type of person who is going to laugh through growing pains or whether you’ll forget to laugh.
6. How well you “bounce” back from things. Moving somewhere new often means having to leave solid support systems behind. It means you’ll have to rely on yourself a lot to get through things.
7. How quickly you can trust people you don’t even know. More than anything, you’ll learn that from time to time, you have to trust people you don’t even know. It’s as scary as it sounds.
8. How much you will appreciate all the kindness from complete strangers who you sometimes never meet again. But for a few, in time, those complete strangers will become your family.
9. How willing (or unwilling) you are to play by the rules laid down by where you’re coming from or where you’re going to. But perhaps most importantly, whether you’re willing to write your own rules.
10. All the things that you thought you couldn’t live without can become things you don’t even want anymore. And you’ll often feel a lot freer for needing less.
11. What you’re really made of. Because you will for a long time feel completely out of your comfort zone and a part of you will always wonder if you really belong and whether you even need to “belong.”
12. That your “home” doesn’t need to be a static physical place. And that home can be many places with many different people who all mean the world to you.
13. How important is is to trust yourself and always listen to that silent voice that tells you who you are and whether what you’re doing is right or wrong. No matter where you find yourself, that voice never goes away. That voice is there to remind you of where you came from, what you’re doing now, and where you want to be.
14. The things that really matter to you. Take it from me, experiences of new cultures can change many things about you, from how you look at situations to your values. But wherever you are, you will always meet yourself eventually.
15. What the human spirit is really capable of experiencing, both good and bad. You’ll be amazed at what you can really survive, when you have to.
16. Whether you really like surprises because when you move to a new country trust that there will be many of them, no matter how long you’ve been there.
17. That you’re not a risk taker because you moved somewhere new, but you moved somewhere new because you’re a risk taker. And once you know that, you can conquer so many more things in life.