This week was quite nice! We had different activities happening in the week and new projects starting, also more socializing between Danes and International students. I also think of how it was when I arrived, the work (the way I work is so different now! it’s funny to see the change), the people the place and even my self and it started to make me think…
If you have been living abroad, when making this choice you may have been told you run away from your “problems”…When are you coming back? When will you start to have a serious life and solve “your issues”. This all a lot of BS seriously.
This could not be less true.People who leave actually look for new solutions they cannot find where they are. If you are running away from your problems you dont acknowledge them. When you decide you want to go abroad because the current situation and place doesn’t bring you anything new (you don’t have to go very far to do that though, you can just change city in your own country…) you are looking for something different and hopefully better.
Why? Because you know that you are diving into something “strange”: the word “foreign” in French is the same as “strange” and it can also mean unknown. It’s scary but it brings you new things that well…you couldn’t know!
New solutions and perspectives you will never find back home.
For instance a new way to communicate. Not only learning a new language but expressing your self differently (maybe more effectively?). One example: what we call a “discussion” in France might be a confrontation for my English friends. So you may have to reconsider how you express yourself. Being with new people who don’t know you, who can’t read your mind, who can’t understand your cultural codes will force you to try other ways to understand each other and it can benefit you when back home.
Sometimes we forget how to communicate with our own family because they know us for such a long time so we expect them to understand us completely to read our mind. And we forget that the new people we meet don’t know that. So they will base their opinion on what they see. Trust me, your mom may know how to talk to you but for them it might be as talking to a wall sometimes.
The fact that you are elsewhere also allow you to do these crazy things you wouldn’t dare to do back home. Sometimes being “home” for too long makes us lazy, we don’t see the opportunities anymore, our friends have an image of us that it might be hard to get away from (if everybody thinks you are hilarious, you feel you owe it to them and changing is hard, if you are the one always depressed it’s the same…it’s tiresome sometimes). When I was back in my hometown it was taking me forever to motivate my self to look for a job. In a new country you are like on a high being somewhere blank, where you have everything to built, so you take more risks. You have to do it because otherwise you’ll have to go back and usually you want to make it work more over there.
Also because you are surrounded by people who mostly think quite different than you do, you’ll be challenged, you will be confronted to tons of different way of doing and thinking (remember don’t say it’s dumb, it’s just …different ;). Last Wednesday an acupuncturist came to school and gave us a demonstration.The following day we talked: a friend doesn’t believe in it, another see in it some sort of magic, someone else science, another danger, others they don’t really know… and we were all together seeing this demonstrations, yet because we have such different background and culture we comes up with completely different opinion.
While being abroad I can also feel my progression. I remember last year just before going to Israël, I was living with my parents for about 6 months. The last 3 months I was dying of boredom. I didn’t see anything new, anything changing. I was stuck there and it felt like a dead end. The place I am now in Denmark isn’t the biggest city, it’s actually a school in the middle of nowhere (but it’s very beautiful!). My kibbutz was also in the middle of nowhere. Yet so many things happened in nearly a year!
Travelling doesn’t leave you in peace. It can be exhausting. I remember going crazy sometimes not understand what was going on but now I can see the benefit. Accepting new ideas and situations and also enjoying it. It frustrates me sometimes when people ask me if I like Denmark. It’s more complex, I like it, I do now but it wasn’t an easy road, however it’s not because something is difficult you should give up. If it was that bad I would have left, trust me. I left France so I wouldn’t have hesitated one second. But something was holding me back. And I am glad for that.
I really have no idea if I’ll go back “home” one day. I miss my friends and family, yet I feel I am going backward every time I am there too long…
I explained here that a lot of the people I met in my kibbutz had some hard times back home or they needed some changes. I talked to many after leaving and, running away was the best thing that happened to them. Because they go back to their problem with fresh ideas and approach. They question themselves and what is going on instead of pretending there is no problem. So we will see in few years where it gets me. One of my friend is very curious about it, he says he has no clue about what to expect. Me neither, but I am not freaking out at all not knowing what I’ll do in three months…
PS: If you want to know more about Denmark and you are too lazy to read you can shake out this marvelous tumblr made by EVS volunteers. Only true facts of course!