Why Going Abroad Isn’t Always Rainbows And Butterflies

Where I’m from, there are a number of people who aspire to boot out of the country to go and make a living someplace else.

I wasn’t always one of those people.

Admittedly so, I was contented with how things were going for me way back when. I had a stable job at a pharmaceutical company, my place wasn’t that far off from my workplace because, well, traffic jams have always been the worst in my homeland. Additionally, my close friends and I practically saw each other any time we wanted to. My point is that I wasn’t looking to join the bandwagon of those who wanted to hop on a plane and start a life in a place where you basically don’t know anybody, at all.

But, here I am, some years later after graduation, typing away in my room in a suburb I didn’t know existed until I decided to try my luck overseas. Yes, you read that right, I decided to quit my job for this (I never really liked it that much, anyway).

I left my long-time friends for strangers; I left my comfort zone for a place I am in no familiarity with whatsoever; I left everything I have ever known to try and learn new things in a place I never thought I would now be calling my home.

The beginning was the hardest part of all. No surprise in that, really. I felt the pang of homesickness just a few weeks after arriving and, let me tell you, it was beyond brutal. I cried more times than I can count. More so because I had this nagging feeling at the back of my mind that I made the wrong decision of coming here. There were days that I didn’t even feel like coming out of my room, I just watched re-runs of One Tree Hill over and over until my mom got sick of it and told me to get out and look for something better to do.

So I did. I volunteered for a local organization that gave me the task of looking after some homeless people from 9 in the morning until noon. I absolutely hated it. But I was helping people out, and I guess that counted for something, right?

The thing I didn’t like about trying to fit in, though, is that when you’re surrounded by locals and you’re the only one who is obviously not from there (judging by your skin color and other prominent physical characteristics), you’ll get asked more often than you’ll like the question “why do you speak English so well?” And you’ll have to explain to them time and time again that you’re from a country where English can be partly considered a mother tongue, as well. Learn to hold off the scoff, please.

What I’m really trying to say here is that, so far, this chapter of my life isn’t going exactly as planned. I am not living the fairy tale life some thought I would. And the absolute truth is that every single day is a struggle. The only good news is that I am slowly finding my footing. Not by myself, of course, but by the help of those I have met, and of those that I have known long before.

Yes, being a “foreigner” in a foreign land has its ups and downs.

Communication isn’t always going to be easy, and I still feel homesick from time to time.The only thing that’s keeping me going is the thought that there are a lot of people who could only dream to be where I am now, and I am here. So, it’s not a smooth-sailing journey. It’s far from it, really. But the truth about going off someplace else in hopes of having a so-called “brighter future” is that sometimes you’d have to go through the darkness first to get the results that you’re vying for. 

Featured image via Annie Spratt on Unsplash


  1. Wait, what?

    “I just watched re-runs of One Tree Hill over and over until my mom got sick of it and told me to get out and look for something better to do”

    Your Mom came with you when you moved abroad? Then your use of first person singular is a little dishonest, no? Shouldn’t you be saying “we”? So: you are a college graduate who quite his/her job to go live with your Mom abroad in a suburb? This essay needs to be flushed out a lot in order to be remotely coherent.

  2. Very true from someone lived overseas for 8 years. All I had was two suitcases. Course, it depends upon your ability with language but even though I became a citizen it is not my country and I came home when the assignment ended. Actually it is easer if you do not take everything with you, that reminds you of your home more than if you repurchase your life in your new country.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.