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The Untold Truth About Moving to a Different Country

As someone that’s lived in three different countries, I can say for certain that this transition isn’t as easy as it looks. Leaving everything behind, including family and friends, is probably the hardest part for me. The first time I moved was to Lima, Peru. I had to leave my hometown, where I had lived for the first 12 years of my life, and go to a new country of which I knew nothing about. To say I was terrified is an understatement. As the years passed, however, I managed to get accustomed to this new environment, and just when I was fully satisfied, it was time for me to say goodbye yet again. This time, I left Peru to come to United States to start my college career at Penn State. To my surprise, I had subconsciously gained more experience and information that helped make this second transition a lot easier than the first one, and within the first couple of months, I can say that I feel satisfied with my life.

Here are some of the things you should keep in mind when moving to a different country:


1. Be patient

It takes time and effort to get used to this new setting. Don’t expect for your life to be the way it used to be before. Be willing to accept this new change in environment and embrace it rather than getting upset because things don’t fall into place at first. Just have patience and know that everything will turn out okay in the end.  

2. Have clarity

This goes along with being patient. Understand that your life is going to change and maybe things won’t be the way you expect them to be. Know that that this isn’t just another vacation; you’re leaving everything behind and starting a new chapter of your life. Say goodbye to your previous chapter and move on, never forgetting to be positive.

3. Having an open mind is essential

Be open to change. Not every culture is the same; you’re submerging yourself in a culture that’s most likely different to your own. Be willing to understand the culture of this new country and be curious to research more about it. It’s important to know that the local people are welcoming you into their country, so it’s essential to respect their culture and show that you have interest in it.

4. Explore

During the first couple of weeks, don’t spend the whole time indoors unpacking; instead, go out and explore the culture of this new country. Try different foods that are traditional in the area, go sightseeing, and meet the local people. If you’re able to embrace their culture, the transition will be a lot easier and you’ll grow to love it eventually.  

5. Don’t take it for granted

You should feel extremely lucky and grateful that you’re given the chance to expand your horizons and learn more about the world. There might be days when you feel like you’ve made a mistake or you want to go back to your country, but just know that this is an experience that not a lot of people get to have, and you should feel lucky that you gained a broader perspective on life that you would not have had otherwise.  

6. Live in the moment

As I said, this is a once in a lifetime experience, so take in every second of it. There will eventually come a time when you might have to leave, so enjoy your time there while you can. Have as much fun as you possibly can in order to create valuable memories that you’ll hold with you for the rest of your life.  

7. Don’t forget your roots

Even though you’re emerging yourself into a different culture and you might feel overwhelmed and pressured to be a part of it, it’s important to stay grounded. Whether it’s by keeping up with the news about your country or reaching out to relatives that you left behind, always know where you came from and be thankful for the places and the people who made you the person you are today.

I’m a current junior majoring in Journalism and French at Penn State. My dream is to work in publishing after college and go to law school to study corporate law. 
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