By Kristina Eventov
Whether you’re moving for school, work, or just because, moving away from home can bring with it extreme highs and lows. Though you might hope to “find yourself”, you can just as easily lose yourself along the way. Until you’ve actually done it, it can be hard to imagine what exactly moving away will mean for you. As a student, it has been made easier knowing that there is a plethora of people in my position who understand exactly what I am going through. After my first few months of living abroad in Munich, Germany, here are some of my tips on how you can leave home behind, in search of a new adventure.
1. Bring Memories with You
Scrolling through Instagram/Facebook etc. can make it easy to keep up with friends’ lives from a distance. Nowadays we’re all well aware that everything is not always as it seems, but this can be hard to remember when you see countless posts of everyone seemingly “living their best lives”. Rather than letting this get you down, reflect on your own memories you and your friends have made. Whether this means printing out photos or taking mementos with you, don’t allow your own memories to be overshadowed. Especially in your first days away, it can be comforting to have familiar items with you to remind you of happy moments you’ve shared.
2. Do Your Research
Contrary to popular belief, the internet can actually be a great place to put your mind at ease. By finding out as much as you can about the destination that you’ll come to all your new home, you can feel infinitely more prepared for any eventuality that you may encounter. Whether that means researching your new accommodation, or finding a club you can join, it always helps to be a step ahead. Personally, I skimped out on this step. I definitely could have done more research on where I was going to be living and what I was going to be doing. But this was okay for me, as I like the feeling of the unknown and being able to discover things for the first time on my own. However, if you are feeling especially unsure, finding out what amazing things your new destination has to offer can make you infinitely more excited. I know that for my next adventure I will be joining lots of local Facebook groups so that I really know what there is and how I can get involved.
3. Bite the bullet
Travelling the world and getting to explore different cultures is a luxury not available to everyone. If you have the opportunity to leave behind what you know, take it — if you keep postponing, you’ll miss out on so much. Especially whilst you are young, it is more “socially acceptable” to take time out to travel and explore. As a languages student, I am able to have a year abroad where I get to live in different countries and work, study, or both! I cannot emphasise enough the benefits of doing a placement year. It’s basically a taster of real adult life, where you’re encouraged to ask questions, to learn, and allowed to make mistakes. Even if you’re scared, it is better to just throw yourself into it, rather than live not knowing what could have been. Many people sit around waiting for the “right time”, but it never seems to come. You can always find a reason to stay no, that it’s not the right time, but just remember all the amazing reasons why you should go: you’ll meet new people, experience new things, become more independent, and the list goes on. As the famous Nike slogan goes “just do it”.
4. Allow Yourself to Miss Home
Despite what you may think, everyone will miss home at some point. It is impossible not to miss having comforting and familiar surroundings, where you know everyone, and everything. As seductive as the idea sounds, a life lived in comfort is a decidedly boring one. Allow yourself to feel these “negative” emotions, but don’t let them overwhelm you. While you may miss home, there are bound to be things your new place has that you didn’t have before. This can be anything from a new class, to new friends; every new place has something new and exciting to offer you. Living in Germany has definitely had me missing home a few times; arguably most important, I never realised how much I appreciated (and relied on) shops being open on a Sunday or past 8pm any other day…(In Germany this is not the case!)
5. Don’t Look Back
If you are constantly looking back and replaying what once was, you’ll never be happy with where you are or where you could be. It is important to keep looking forward and keep your chin up. Even if you are having an amazing time wherever you are, it can always get better! On the other hand, every seemingly “negative” experience will always help shape you in some way and allow you to grow from it. I have had an incredible time in Germany so far, and it can be scary to think that my next adventure might not be as exciting or fulfilling. That doesn’t mean that I won’t still try. If you approach your new beginnings with an open mind, you can make of it exactly what you want.
There have definitely been times when I’ve missed the UK and wished things here were the same as back home. However, I’ve also made some incredible memories, with some incredible people, that I will cherish forever. By leaving what you know and going somewhere new, you can expand your horizons and encounter things you never would have otherwise. Give yourself a chance, and leave your comfort zone.