If you choose to move abroad get ready for tons of questions from your family and friends from back home. They’ll ask you things you’ll want to answer with “like duhhh”. Here are some of the questions I get on a regular basis about my life.
- Oh so you’re like really rich or something, right?
Actually, nope. Not at all. You don’t need a trust fund to move abroad. I am fortunate enough to have an amazing family that supports me even when they think my big ideas are absolutely crazy, but I pay for my life. I lived in Germany in a wonderful apartment with a huge balcony that was really close to public transportation. I worked about 20 hours a week as an English teacher and my boyfriend worked as a pre school teacher. Clearly we weren’t getting rich with those jobs, but we lived comfortably. We were not saving a ton of money (which we should have done) but we traveled often. We never buy much in the way of material goods and spend more on great experiences. Now that we live in Costa Rica we are living with an even tighter budget as I try to get this site off the ground. We try to eat like the locals (a lot of rice, beans, fresh fruit, and veggies) to save money. I need a new cell phone, but I’m waiting until next time I’m back in the US to buy one because they are really expensive here. We still go on awesome adventures every weekend like hiking volcanos, checking out tropical beaches, and for wheeling through coffee plantations. So no, you don’t have to be rich to live abroad. You just have to be conservative and prioritize your purchases.
2. So you’re studying abroad?
No, I’m not studying abroad. I wish I had. If you have the option to study abroad I fully believe you should go for it, but if not, you can always move after. People don’t seem to understand that it is really possible to move to another country without the organization of an institution behind you. It’s for sure not easy, but it is possible. Actually, that is exactly why I started this site. I struggled a lot when I moved to Germany because I couldn’t find enough information geared towards young people that wanted to move abroad. Most of the info out there is geared towards retirees or for families that are relocating due to work. I wasn’t in that situation. So, hopefully this site will help you to be a young person living abroad like me. 🙂
3. OMG you live in Costa Rica? That’s like really dangerous right?
I have learned to exercise a different level of caution then I ever have had to before. It can be dangerous, but if you’re smart about the way you dress and act in public your risks will be minimized. I was joking with my boyfriend the other day that next time we are back in Germany our friends will ask us to go out partying and we’ll be like “We can’t go out! It’s dark outside. Ok let me first put on my money belt.” I think any place can be dangerous, you never know what’s going to happen. Be smart and come to expect that maybe somebody will rob you some day, and just deal with it.
4. Ok so you moved to Germany to be with your boyfriend. Normal people can’t just up and move like that, right?
Yes and no. I think anyone can move abroad, but you have to really really want it. It’s a lot of work to try to figure everything out on your own. Yes, I moved to Germany to a city my boyfriend grew up in, but we both just moved to Costa Rica on our own without speaking much Spanish or knowing anyone here. As strange as it may be, it was easier for me to adjust to life in Costa Rica than it was to adjust to Germany. So yes, normal people can move abroad, but different places will bring different challenges.
5. How can you live in a country if you don’t speak the language?
Let’s just say I have a whole new appreciation for all the foreigners in the US that struggle to speak broken English. You can always get by on hand gestures and usually you can find someone who speaks decent English abroad, but that’s not always the case. I find this is much easier in Costa Rica because it’s pretty obvious by looking at me that I’m not from here. People usually catch on quickly and speak slower. While living in Germany I struggled a lot because people were constantly talking to me in public. I guess I look friendly or like I would know directions really well or something. I never knew if I should interrupt them right away or let them finish their whole spiel before saying “Um my German is not the best, sorry.” I know enough German and Spanish to get by on basic things like shopping, but if you plan on moving abroad don’t be like me. Learn the language.
Have you been asked some crazy things about your life abroad? I’d love to hear them!