This article was first published in iamgreek.nl
During the last 3 and a half years I live far from my homeland, Greece. No matter how much I miss Greece, I often think that my life abroad helps me thinking and feeling in a way that I wouldn’t know and have if I was still in Greece and that would be a shame. I don’t know for how many more years I will be staying abroad but what I want to do is to keep noticing and considering things in order to understand people and of course myself in a better way. So, do you want to know what I learned and understood the time I have lived abroad?
People have the same feelings and have the same needs no matter where they live
How many times we may think that culture affects everything? This is not a completely lie but it’s not absolutely true too. Culture has more or less to do with behaviors, customs, habits, lifestyles. But all the people need love, safety, approval, respect no matter where they were born and how they were raised.
Most of the times a foreign language is not easy or difficult. It just takes time and demands enough effort to learn it!
Don’t say you can’t speak one specific language. Maybe you don’t want (have been there!) but the ability of learning a language is a whole different story and has to do with two damn boring but really important things: studying and practice!
Always be patient. Most of the times expats need time to make things work!
It has to do with so many different aspects of life that you don’t want to read them right now. Just stay calm, keep trying, have a desire to ask and learn new stuff. As we say in Greece: “By asking, you reach the city” (Ρωτώντας, πας στην πόλη).
Before someone believes that knows everything in the right way, he/she should move in a different country for some time.
The time you eat your meals, the hours you go out, the way you socialize and communicate. Probably you were taught to behave in a specific way but guess what: every place has its own rules! Nowhere is like your home and that is actually good. You have a homeland, somewhere in the map, you don’t have to take it with you! Hold your nostalgia to your heart and learn again to live, to speak, to have fun. And if you are so lucky, find other expats who come from your country and once in a while have some beers with them.
Greek positive characteristics are not so unique and some negative behaviours are not only Greek!
Actually the biggest truth I learned! I will put it in a simple way: Greeks are not the only people who can be loud, entertaining or happy. A lot of people in the world are like Greeks. Moreover, laziness, disorganisation, tax avoidance, bad customer services and bureaucracy are not unique phenomenons of Greek society. Actually, if you stay abroad you may have already noticed that, right?
Are you an expat in a foreign country? What have you learned during your short or long stay far from home? Feel free to add your thoughts.