So you’re thinking about moving abroad?
The thought of moving abroad can be, well, scary. What can you expect? Well let us tell you a little about our experience so far and maybe it will help you to see what to expect if you decide to move abroad!
It’s hard for us to believe but we’ve been living in Europe for the last four years! Sometimes it seems like only yesterday that we arrived in Spain to settle into our new life. Coming from California, we knew that moving to another continent would be an adjustment. Definitely, we can say that we’ve learned a lot of the last several years.
Maybe you are in a similar position to us and are contemplating moving to Europe someday. We have spent the majority of our time in Spain and some of it in Portugal. Perhaps you’re considering these countries or maybe France, Italy or somewhere else. Regardless of where you end up, you will be able to learn from our experiences and journey. So let me share with you four things that you can expect moving abroad.
The first thing that you will likely notice is that the pace of life is a lot slower in many ways. So you will likely need to slow down! If you’re from the US, you may relate to our feelings. We are used to convenience and having everything almost immediately. We really weren’t used to waiting. When we arrived in Europe we learned what it actually means to take your time.
This can be a good thing but also frustrating sometimes. Seeing how people here are not in a frantic rush all the time has taught us to just go with the flow and let things happen as they will. As a result, we’ve been much more relaxed and have been able to deal with the ups and downs of life much better.
Culture is King
If you’re thinking of moving abroad, you know that you will encounter new cultures and ways of thinking. We also knew that coming to Europe would mean learning about many different cultures but we really had no idea how much people take their culture seriously. We’ve lived in several different parts of Spain over the years and we’ve seen that people in each area are very proud of their own unique culture and ways of doing things. We’ve lived in the north of Spain in the Basque region which is rich with culture. They have their own language, customs, and even autonomous government. When you are there you often don’t even feel like you are in Spain!
Being in this environment taught us so much about how people interact and what it means to have pride in your own unique culture. We also learned a lot about our own culture, as you will too! We now spend much of our time in the south of Spain and we can clearly see the difference in people and it’s very interesting. So when you come to Europe you can expect a marked difference in cultures depending on where you go even within the same country. You will likely come away enriched by this and excited to learn more about other types of people and yourself!
Money is not Everything
Having spent the majority of our lives in the States we’ve become accustomed to a capitalistic society. In this environment, many strive to work hard in order to acquire more and more materially. When we arrived in Spain we didn’t see that mentality so strongly displayed. Oftentimes, people here are content with the necessities and would rather focus on spending time with loved ones and enjoying life in simple ways. This shift in thinking has really impacted us for the better. We are not as focused on brands and keeping up with the latest gadgets and other things. This has allowed us to see what is truly important to us and has made us happier as a result. So you will see that it’s not really money that makes us rich but experiences that enrichen our lives!
Work has its Place
Another thing that we’ve really liked seeing here in this part of Europe, is that people don’t live to work but rather work to live. You will notice that people just work until they have enough for what they need and then stop. For us, this was really strange at first but we soon started to see the benefits. Coming from the States it’s normal to just keep working and working which would often time throw off our work-life balance. After being here for some time we have learned to put work in its place. This has been great and we wish that everyone could learn this lesson.
We hope that these lessons have been useful to you and can help you see what you may expect with a move to Europe. We know that you will enjoy this amazing continent if you decide to make the move!
Have you lived abroad? Comment below and let us know if we left anything out!
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