So for those of you that don’t know in September 2015 as part of my foreign languages degree I took the plunge and moved my little self all the way to a small town in the south of Spain. In order to be closer to my job I also took on the challenge of living alone for the first time. Yup that’s right I chose the first time that I live alone to be in a country that I have never been to, and after a few months I think it is only right to share some tips for anyone who is thinking of doing the same.
- Keep busy
When you are living alone it is easy to fall into the trap of isolation and keeping to yourself, and yes solitude can be bliss and refreshing at times but like most things, only in moderation. So in order to find your balance, I suggest that you completely immerse yourself in your new culture and the best way to do that is to say YES to all new opportunities that head your way. That’s right I literally mean say yes to it all like in that film ‘Yes Man’. When I first arrived here in Spain, the locals soon discovered I was the new English teacher in town and this opened up so many doors for me, work wise and socially. Colleagues invited me regularly into their homes for delicious traditional lunches, and experience new festivities with them, like Semana Santa. Additionally, an English examination company approached me with a teaching opportunity, to run English oral and listening classes for students in order to prepare them for their exams. Now I must admit at first I was very hesitant to accept the offer, as prior to moving to Spain I had not had any teaching experience at all. So understandably, many doubts cropped into mind such as; “How am I going to control a class of teenagers BY MYSELF?” “I only just left teen hood myself” “How am I going to make sure that they all pass their exam BY MYSELF?”. Well the truth is I didn’t know, so I shut off those thoughts and said yes anyway, and like most things in life I have had to learn along the way. I think living alone in a foreign country has been a great moment of growth for me and it can be for you too, if you just say YES to the unknown.
- Bring home comforts
Now just because you have set yourself up in a new setting, it doesn’t mean that you have to completely shut yourself off in order to embrace it. When I first moved, it was the little things that I never expected that I really missed from home. The main thing for me was home cooking, so I had a family member send me some seasonings so I could try and recreate them in Spain. It’s important to remember that moving to a foreign country can be an extremely overwhelming experience, especially if the native language is not your mother tongue and you are still learning the language. So sometimes when the culture shock gets a bit too much, try out an activity you would normally do whilst back home, whether its catching up with your favourite TV show or reading the next book on your book list. Whatever it is that helps you to chill out, that doesn’t have to stop now that you are living in a foreign country. In addition to this, I also brought family photos, some of my leaving cards and some motivational words to decorate and make my place feel more homey as opposed to just another rented apartment.
- Socialise with locals
This tip may be easier for some than others, depending on how you deal with meeting new people, nevertheless I still think it plays a key role in establishing your healthy new solo set up. We are social creatures so wherever we go it is important for us to make friends for our own sanity. If not this could lead to the temptation of reaching out to friends and familiarities already formed back home, which could inevitably lead to homesickness and, you get the picture that I am painting here. For me personally, I am quite the awkward turtle when it comes to meeting new people, but what you will come to notice about me is, no matter how uncomfortable things make me I will still push myself into a situation as I know it will contribute to my growth. Socialising with the locals has helped with the loneliness that can come with living alone, it has also helped immensely with my language learning development, as there is only so much the much the books can teach you, sometimes the best practice is the real thing. And a bonus is that you get to learn cool slang too, which is priceless.
- Try something new
This is my favourite tip as it is what has brought be here today, so of course I have to share it with you all. There is no doubt that living alone creates a lot of mental freedom and you can choose to either procrastinate and deteriorate your mind or occupy and enrich it. I suggest the latter, you know that thing you have always thought about doing, but maybe it just wasn’t the right time, life got in the way, or you never thought it were possible, or even worst, someone told you that you couldn’t do it. Well you can, and now is the time, if you have already made the big step to live alone why stop there, you are capable of just about anything. I always wanted to start a YouTube channel, after seeking advice from it for so many years, I wanted to see what I had to offer. And after all the years of watching I am now a person people seek advice from, just by sharing my experiences. Three months after starting my channel I wanted to find another way to inspire others, and yup you guessed it that is how Amora Adventures came about, although I never imagined it I love being a part of the blogging community; sharing my written words and reading the eloquent ones of others. So even if you’re not living alone in a foreign country never stop trying something new, as you never know what doors will be opened for you.
- Stay in touch with family and friends back home
Never forget that just because you live alone, it doesn’t mean that you are actually alone, you have people back home who love and care about you and want to know how you are doing. Sometimes unintentionally we can get side tracked from this as we try to adjust to our new lifestyle. Thanks to the wonderful world of technology, communication is so much easier nowadays. Although I have only just taught my dad how to use Whatsapp Call (he was using phone cards to contact me before *facepalm*), there are so many ways to contact abroad, you have no excuse!
Well that’s it for now, I hope you can find some use for these tips even if you don’t plan on living alone in a foreign country. All of these tips are based on my own personal experiences, and so are life lessons which can be taken with you wherever you go 🙂
Check out my YouTube Channel to see the video this post was based from.