We asked fellow Dreams Abroad Members what they would do differently if they were just starting out on their advantages of living abroad. After finishing up his first year abroad as an auxiliar in Madrid, here’s what Justin had to say:
5 Things I Now Know About Living Abroad:
I Need to Align My Goals
1. I know that I can be more assertive in order to get my point across in my advantages of living abroad. I understand now that in order to get what I want I don’t need to be obsequious or aggressive but that I need to align my goals with those of the person I am asking for help.
Friends are Amazing
2. Friends are amazing, but what you really need is a circle of respect. I love my friends, they are always there for me when I’m feeling down and are up for a fun night out. However, when things need to get done, be it for your job or finding an apartment, what matters most are those who respect you and will work with you. Friends don’t always fit the bill in this regard.
If You’re Traveling Abroad You Will Make Mistakes
3. Allow myself to make mistakes. This is my first time abroad! I am in a foreign country! Whenever something doesn’t work out as planned (missed flights, ferries, buses, etc.) I learned to not beat myself up. I am learning throughout this entire experience. Research only helps so much. Hell, that’s why I am writing a blog about it!
Plan for Yourself and Your Advantages of Living Abroad
4. When I travel with friends I need to make sure I have my own plan and express my goals. At the end of the day, I really need to take care of myself. Throughout this first year, I realized that my feelings or intentions are not the same as others’. Not even friends. This isn’t a bad thing. My friends and acquaintances aren’t malicious in their decisions, not even selfish (mostly.)
Explore the World Around You
5. Allow yourself to explore! Your advantages of living abroad will always remind you of your first experiences. Living in Madrid has allowed me to take chances that I never would have dreamed of taking in America. Take a surfing lesson, sure! Go to a horse farm on a Greek Island (more info coming up,) go for it! Nothing is as hard as it seems once you sit down and research what you need to do to accomplish it. Some things might still be nearly impossible (can I get into Stanford Graduate School, probably not) but at least at that point you have allowed yourself to dream, plan and grow.
Justin is blogging from Madrid and just completed his first year as an anuxiliar and will be working in Madrid for another year. You can follow his work and read more about him on his page, Justin Time for Life https://www.dreamsabroad.org/justin-hughes-coleman/
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