It’s probably one of the scariest things when you move to another country for a little while – not knowing what’s going to happen.
People tend to be scared of the unknown. Some people dream about traveling the world but never do it. Other people want to go work in another part of the world, but never take the big step. In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons is that they don’t know how it’s gonna be. What if it doesn’t work out the way you want it? What if your dreams are better than what your experience is going to be like in real life?
I would say that’s also one of the most exciting things about it – you don’t know yet how you’re life is going to be. Great right? You’re free to be who you want to be! You can make new international friends & do stuff you have never done before. If something doesn’t go as planned, there’s no way it wasn’t at least a good learning experience. After that you know more about yourself and what you want. Isn’t that already awesome to have?
Even if you have been traveling around, it’s a totally different experience to actually live in a different place for a little while.
For example: Just after I turned 18, I went backpacking in Australia for 7 months and loved it! Moving from hostel to hostel and one group of people to the next… A period where you can have hundreds of best friends for 1 day and some even for weeks. You meet people who you’re able to tell your biggest secrets to and totally open up – good chance you won’t see them again any time soon anyway (if ever). Note: don’t get used to that so much when you get back in your home country and try and be the same with people you will actually see a lot – it doesn’t always work out great, although it is liberating.
You might have had an experience as an international student or you might have done an internship abroad. It almost feels like backpacking, in the way you meet people. There are big international communities. I remember when I studied in Cape Town we had a huge friend group and stuff to do every night: house parties, braai, sundowners, etc.
Now, moving to a different country. Even when it’s a country you already know, it’s going to be a totally different experience. For me, I moved back to Cape Town after being here twice before (as a student and intern). Back in the same place, I noticed that it was different this time. Not in a bad way, but still different. You don’t do the things you used to do, the people you were best friends with at the time all moved back to their home countries and most important: you’re not a student anymore!
This made me think. I’m a social person, I love having a lot of people around me! Luckily I knew some people here already, but it would be cool to get to know more people and see what new things I can experience in Cape Town.
I decided to see what’s out there and stumbled upon a cool organization called Internations (check their website here). It’s a quite well-known organization that connects international people in different countries: very awesome! A few days ago I decided to go to an Internations event in Cape Town. I decided to go by myself, since I feel in that way you talk to more people anyway. You don’t stand next to the friend you went there with the whole time and you’re actually forced to go up to people and talk to them if you don’t want to spend the evening by yourself. It was great! Time flew by and before I knew it it was a couple of hours later & I had talked to people from all different countries: Columbia, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Sweden, England, France etc.
I know that there’s a lot of other organizations doing similar things (e.g. Meet up, Couch surfing, Hiking / running clubs), but I haven’t participated in all of them yet. Internations also has loads of activity groups, where you can do whatever you can think of: participate in arts or sports, go partying and join dinner clubs for example.
For everyone who’s going through a similar situation: I can highly recommend finding out for yourself what’s important for you to make you feel at home. Start doing some activities you loved doing at home for example or talk to like-minded people in your city. It definitely makes me feel more connected with the city I live in!
If you read this you took the time to read my whole story: thanks for this! If there’s anything you want to share with me or others please comment below, I’d love to hear from you!