You might not know but many Filipinos, including me, leave our country to live abroad. Japan is not only a favorite holiday haunt of many of us but also a good place to work and live for good.
Hello there, my name is Ali from Share to Inspire blog and I specifically wrote this article for Home Life Abroad readers. Just like Ronnie and Ave, I am currently working in Japan, away from home, as an English teacher and I have been living here for six years. It’s a long time some might say, and I agree. I feel like I have been here for a long time and living abroad has completely changed me as a person.
One of the best things about living abroad is that you meet new people and make friends, adapt to a different culture, and gain new perspectives and lessons in life. Indeed, we learn a lot of things when we venture. In this article, I’m sharing the most important life lessons I’ve learned from living abroad.
1. Friendship can come from small gestures and not words
My first year living abroad was pretty difficult because of the language barrier. All I know about their language is basic greetings.
So whenever I would go to the bank, or city hall to process stuff, my coworker would accompany me. She would give me small gifts too and say thank you to me for working hard at the end of the day. These small gestures sparked a friendship between us.
Two months of difficult times in Japan pushed me to study Japanese. So, I bravely inquired at the city hall for free group classes and I was admitted.
It was great to meet fellow learning from different backgrounds and cultures. We couldn’t really speak to each other. We were limited by the different levels of broken Japanese but that did not stop real friendships from blossoming.
2. Living abroad makes you more resilient
Resilience is what makes us keep going in difficult times. It’s not about avoiding your sufferings or pain but it’s to bravely face them. It’s about seeking out the pain you are willing to endure for greater purposes.
Living abroad is not easy as we all know it. We face difficulties and struggles in understanding a new culture, dealing with different work ethics, and questioning our own beliefs.
But these make us more resilient and prepare us for the worst. Our pain from living abroad makes us stronger. And I know, this is a rewarding thing. It’s a great lesson to learn and to continue to do so.
3. You can live on less than you think
My life back in my country was a mess. I was young and naive. Buying lots of unnecessary things that I thought would contribute to my happiness.
But moving to Japan has changed everything for me. It was a big shift in my life. An exciting new journey to embark on.
However, I realized, I could only bring a few things with me. I couldn’t bring all my collections of bags, shoes, and sunglasses.
Two years had passed and living abroad has taught me to live on less. I could not really live a lavish lifestyle because I had to live independently and save for emergencies.
Living abroad separates us from friends and family that we would turn into when we are in trouble financially but those days are over when you move abroad. I had to learn how to be independent and live on my own.
Less is more is the mantra I live by now. I learned how to be content with what I have, be minimalistic and live on less. This is one of the best decisions I ever made and I don’t think I can ever go back to my life back in my country.
4. Life is messy, flawed, and fundamentally imperfect
This is something I specifically learned from imbibing Japanese culture. They have this concept of wabi-sabi where simplicity and imperfection are valued. If you are in the pursuit of perfection in this life, wabi-sabi contradicts this belief because life is meant to be imperfect.
Things we can learn from this concept are acceptance and flexibility. It teaches us to accept our flaws and this imperfect life itself. I have been tuning into nature more because of wabi-sabi.
Japan has many wonderful and amazing places, from waterfalls to sacred temples, and mountains to explore. It made me stop to smell the roses and appreciate the beauty of this. This is a powerful message worth sharing
Living abroad is indeed a rewarding experience. It may not always be easy but we can learn a lot of lessons from it. It has changed me as a person and made me into the woman I am now. Empowered and inspired. Have you lived abroad? What are the lessons you learned from it?
More about the Author
I am Ali, the creator of Share to Inspire blog. I created this platform to inspire and empower fellow women in the aspects of finance, personal growth, relationships, and productivity. I also share my life in Japan. This is the perfect place for you for motivation and inspiration.