What is it like to live abroad?

I’ve been in Amsterdam for more than three months now and I’m already halfway through my internship. Time is flying! That’s the reason why I would like to share you my thoughts and experiences on living abroad in the meantime. I have to say I’ve experienced many really good moments so far, but I also had my downs to be honest. Now I have the feeling that I really moved abroad with all the consequences involved. I mean it is not always as easy as it might seem on the internet (i.e. Instagram).

I’ve realized that there is clearly a difference between going abroad for an exchange semester as a pure student compared to a job. I mean I am still officially a student, however, I consider myself at the moment as more a working person than a student.

Small things to struggle with

The struggles I had to deal with the last three months were a lot of small things you would not really expect. For example, opening a bank account. I know this sounds really silly, but it still takes some effort to choose the right bank and to get an appointment there. Especially if you have to hand in quite some documents (and when you also  work full time all of a sudden). But I managed and now I have this stupid account and there are no boundaries for me anymore to fully enjoy the perks of being an Amsterdam citizen.

Social struggles

Another struggle is more of a social nature. Moving to a new city and especially moving abroad means you leave your partner, family and friends behind. I have to say that most of my friends at home I’ve known for a really long time and hence those relationships are already quite deep and of course real. Being at a new place, you need to find new friends. I mean I already got to know lots of new people. But real deep relationship need time to flourish. Three months is of course nothing compared to a few years. And that’s the thing which I realized that long term friendships need time.

But it is also nice to build new friendships and meet lots of new people from everywhere (since Amsterdam is super international).

Abroad also means being alone (sometimes)

Excepting the fact that being alone is also not a bad thing is also something I’ve started to tackle the past few months. Related to the previous paragraph, it is not as easy going to find people to do stuff with compared to being at home. I also have to admit it has hold me back sometime to just do things on my own and to entertain myself on my own. I mean usually I don’t mind being alone. But back home I hardly ever had a really free weekend cause I mostly needed to study. Besides that I also had a lot of other social commitments such as catching up with friends, celebrating birthdays or just handing out with my boyfriend. When all those social commitments start to fade and you also don’t need to be busy with studying in the weekend it can be quite overwhelming with that much sparetime all of a sudden. I mean I am happy that I am finally able to do whatever I want on the weekend, mainly due to no studying anymore. But I still need to get used to that I need to make my own plans in the weekend to make the most out of my time. (Or just except the fact that I can chill without any regrets.)

Even though I struggle sometimes of being abroad, I am still 100% sure that I made the right choice because I would never like to miss my experiences. They make me richer and also my situation forces me to step out of my comfort zone and that’s what really chances one’s personality. I can tell that I am becoming a more and more secure person everyday.


Hi, I’m Lisa

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