1. Do you hate the US?
Honestly, sometimes yeah. Look at the sh*t going on in our country. Between clowns, Tr*mp, and children being killed for carrying a water gun, yes I get fed up with what’s happening in our world. But I also know I’m fortunate to come from such a hegemonic country: I grew up in a nice house, both my parents had jobs, I got a good education (albeit an overly expensive one – thanks, Miami), I got to play sports, I went to summer camps, and went on vacations with my family.
I understand that I am privileged to have grown up in the U.S. and wouldn’t change my childhood for anything. I can’t possibly hate a country that gave me so many opportunities, especially when one of those opportunities is the chance to travel, study, and work abroad.
So no, I do not hate the U.S., but that doesn’t mean that I always feel patriotic. Just because I was born in the ‘land of the free’ does not mean I’m going to run around waving an American flag and singing country music.
2. Aren’t you scared?
Aren’t you? With guns in everyone’s pockets, people are scared to go to the movies or a to a night club, scared to be pulled over by a cop or to walk down one own street while wearing a hoodie or a short skirt. There are bad people everywhere. I’m often less scared in a foreign country than in my own.
Either way, we cannot let fear discourage our will to experience the most out of this world. If we fear the world, we will miss out on really living in it.
3. Won’t you miss your family/friends?
Yes, of course, without a doubt. However, thanks to Facebook and WhatsApp I can talk to them often. Of course the time change can make things difficult, but the people who want to be in your life will make the time (although I look forward to the moment in which teleporting is normal form of transportation so I can zap back to my house and cuddle with my dog).
Living abroad is also an excuse to get your friends and family to take a trip out of their comfort zones, to come visit you – it’s fun to be the tour guide after being accustomed to being the tourist. Being away from friends and family can be lonely sometimes but you meet new people and make new friends while abroad – with so many things to do and people to meet you’ll keep busy enough to not feel too homesick.
4. When are you coming back?
I don’t know, and I don’t care to know. I’m not looking for a date that takes me permanently back to one place. I plan to continue to travel and move all my life, unless something comes up and makes me want to stay. I’m not on vacation – I’m working, studying, living in a different country – a fact that some people often forget.
5. What’s really so great about living abroad?
The experience, above all, and the people with whom you create that experience. I find it difficult to portray accurately how incredible it is to meet people who are different from you and the people you know. The second you step outside your hometown, let alone your home country, the world changes. It is simultaneously bigger and smaller. Filled with so many things to see and do and discover: beautiful architecture, cobble stones streets, olive tree covered hills, the beaches of France, the Mountains of Austria, red wine from Spain, beer from Germany, cous cous from Morocco… the history that comes along with every church or hidden café. Each day in a new country something fascinating is learned.
Whether or not you look for it, whether or not you speak the language, education follows the traveler from place to place. And the people, there are so many people that one encounters on their journeys, whether in a small town in the countryside or a city filled with lights and life, a waiter in a bar, or the receptionist of a hostel.
These people from which a traveler learns, makes friends with, or merely says thank you to, contribute to the adventure of living abroad. The hospitality and wonder of the people who cross your paths are enlightening, and each distinct. It is without a doubt the people and their stories are what makes the traveler continue to travel.