“It is fantastic to be found in a foreign country” – Ed O’Brien. As a result of globalization, many people can now have the opportunity to live in a different country. There is no doubt that living in a different country can bring people lots of benefits, but it can also have a lot of negative effects. It can be a really interesting and exciting experience, but at the same time it can affect you in ways you never thought possible.
People have different reasons to move to a different country, but, the effects of living in a different country are, however, similar: adapting to a new society and culture, homesick and independence. The most common and first effect we are going to talk about is the culture shock, which is a personal disorientation that an individual may feel when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life due to immigration or a visit to a new country, a move between social environments, or simply travel to another type of life.
Accepting the new culture and traditions of the country you are in, might not be as easy as you thought. It will actually be really difficult. You will have to learn how to speak the language, you will have to make new friends, get used to the food they have and also learn how to accept different opinions and points of views. However, those are not bad things. You can stick to the values and opinions you have, but, do not forget: try to be an open-minded person. The second effect is the hardships of living in a new country.
Once you start living a regular life in the country you are in, you will miss everything that you left behind. You are going to miss your friends and your family. You will even miss those places that you thought you did not even like to go. Being away from everything and everyone you have grown up with can be really heartbreaking. However, it does not mean that you will not appreciate or like the new life you are about to have. You are going to miss your family and you are going to cry a lot, regardless of how happy you are, wherever you are.
You just have to not let it get to you so much to the point where you will not be able to enjoy your new life; keep in mind that everyone you left behind is really happy for you and they love you and will not forget you. Family is always going to be family and distance does not matter. Our third and last effect is the independence you earn. Living away from home makes you more confident and independent. You will do things on your own and you will have to solve your own problems. Having independence is a really good thing; your parents will not be with you forever and people will not always be willing to help you with everything you need.
Responsibility and independence are two things that walk together. Both of those will help you through your entire life. Moving to a new country can be really hard at the beginning, but, once you’ve gotten used to the different culture and values, you will realize how strong you are. Changes are not always easy and moving to a new country is a really hard choice to make. However, the experience of being on your own makes you really appreciate everything you have and everyone you have got by your side.
I have an aunt who has been living in the United States since she was eighteen years old and she used to invite me to stay with her many times. One day I decided to go. Staying with her and her family was one of the greatest experiences in my life. Besides learning a new language, I made new friends and I really got into the culture of a great and beautiful country.
When I arrived there, I got very excited. First, I was excited because it was my first time in a foreign country, and second because I was going to live something really new in my life. On the other hand, learning English wasn’t an easy process because my aunt used to speak just Portuguese with me; I used to take English classes just twice a week and all the students were foreign too. My experience of learning English in a regular course was limited to this little experience and a short period taking English as a Second Language at the local College. Thus, from that period until de end of the time there, I learned the language with the people from the city and the new friends I had met.
Besides the experience of studying a new language, making new friends was the best aspect of living abroad. I had a girlfriend who lived in a beautiful city by the Pacific Ocean and I used to spend every weekend with her. We used to go out often and in one of these times I met my first American boyfriend. He was handsome and very kind and we had a great time together. He took me to many interesting places and showed me the authentic American way of life by introducing me to his family, his friends and his culture. Moreover, going out constantly and talking to him helped me to improve the skills with the language and mainly to be familiar with the American people and their habits and customs.
Another great experience I had was working as a babysitter. Once I read in the newspaper an advertisement looking for a foreign girl to take care of two children. At first I got really scared with the big responsibility of taking care of two children, but I decided to live this new adventure. The family’s house was in a very nice place by the ocean and the children were very cute and curious about my “weird accent”. In spite of the fact that this new experience wasn’t easy due to my lack of practice at that time, everything went well and the whole situation was very meaningful to my life.
During the time I was living in a foreign country, I realized that living abroad does more for you than just being bilingual; it enables you to live new relationships and to learn about the real culture of a country. I never returned to the United States again, but I will never forget this memorable experience in my life.