I think no other travelling can teach a person as much as an expat life does, absolutely no comparison! It surely was bitter initially but it turned out to be one of the most beneficial experiences of my life. It taught me the art of being independent and face everything with a clearer and braver outlook.
The challenges and joys I came across!
Living in Turkey was always such an exotic thought to me but the actual experience comes with its own set of challenges and pleasures. I think everyone, at some point in their lives should live and work abroad. I have learnt a few important life lessons here.
Normal is different for everyone
My first and foremost experience, in the initial two weeks, was that nothing can be termed as normal. By this I mean that every country and city have their own culture, routine, norms and ideas, hence whatever is normal back in your home town, might collide with the one you’re living in now.
Each task, included in my daily routine, was different than those observed in Turkey. For example, if I talk about breakfast, their Turkish tea with traditional breakfast includes fresh cheeses, black and green olives and eggs with sausages, was not the type I was used to, however for them this is ‘normal’.
Language became an exciting challenge
Language is without a doubt one of the best experiences and learnings I have had in Turkey. One can really never learn a language so easily in school as much as they can living in that country itself. I have learnt the Turkish language so well just by being around these people.
At first, when only a few months had passed, it used to get frustrating not being able to understand what is everyone speaking about, but then it became more of an exciting challenge for me to learn, catch and start comprehending the language.
Learnt to acknowledge minority more
It is only when you’re in another country that you realize what is it like to be in minority. I had never felt this way before, not having your people around you, believe it or not, it did get to me. That is when I realized how being called a ‘foreigner’ felt like.
No matter how much of their language I had learnt, there are numerous slangs and inside jokes that were impossible to understand, this seclusion felt awkward. This is when I understood that it is actually nobody’s fault, these things come with time hence I started acknowledging minorities more.
Understood the real value of friendships
Friendships are essential when you’re an expat because this is what keeps you going through tough times. When I came to Turkey, not only did it make me truly value my family and friends back home, but even the friends I made here are equally special and close to my heart.
It helped me understand who were the ones I missed the most and how important were they to me. Also, my friends here in Turkey, are the ones I have seen all my ups and downs with, they have been my pillars of strength. It’s been a very special and unique experience that we have been through together.
Living abroad isn’t always extravagant
It is a very general perception that life abroad is very extravagant and glamorous. I thought the same before shifting to Turkey, now it has completely changed though, as I have said before it comes with its set of challenges. It isn’t always all sunshine and rainbow; some days show you the thumbs down.
I lead a very normal life here, very much like I would have lived in my hometown. I wake up early, go to work for 8 hours, come back in the evening and go for grocery shopping, cook dinner and watch my favorite series. This pretty much sums up the whole day, just Turkey surroundings are different.
Budgeting and living simply
When you are in your hometown with your parents or family, you usually don’t prioritize budgeting that much. I happen to be the same but this is one more lesson Turkey taught me. Turkey is a place where entertainment never dies plus their food is like heaven on earth.
These material things changed their meaning when I became independent. I started listing things I really needed and how much would I want to spend in a day. Living in a place that isn’t permanent for me made me think twice before buying and shopping for the stuff I liked.
Patience is the key
Somehow, maybe human nature, but you develop this extra sense of patience when you are in another country. During my initial days here, I had to face extreme difficulty due to language barrier. It used to get really difficult in making people understand what I wanted or the destination I wanted to reach to.
This is where all the patience part came in, I had to be patient enough to make them understand what I was trying to say. Carrying out every task took longer than it usually would. However, all of this taught me a lot because every accomplishment would give me a sense of pride.
All in all, wherever you are, you always have to face challenges. Being an expat has actually taught me to a great extent and brought about the best change in my life.