I wanted to write this post to share all the great things that moving countries has taught me. Whether it is your own choice to go or someone has made the decision, moving countries is one of the scariest changes there could be because you are leaving a big part of your life behind for something unknown.
Maybe you have read it in previous posts but if you’re new here, I moved from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom in 2015. You can read more about that in the diary section here but I just wanted to say that so you know I can speak from experience when I say that a change like this will have a large impact on your life, personally and professionally. I have learned a lot about myself but nothing can teach you more than a sudden change in your life. The following points are the four main things that this experience has taught me and will most likely teach you when you find yourself in the same position.
I always thought that it is too difficult to reinvent yourself, I mean everyone already has an opinion of you so you might as well live by that, right? No way. For example, if you always get comments about not saying much and shying away, you are probably not going to speak up. However, moving to a different country is the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself since nobody knows your personality and you can have a fresh start. This was the case for me because when I moved countries, it taught me that you can be who you want to be. People will judge you no matter how much you try so why not start today and work on yourself? I understand that this is much easier when you enter a world where no one knows who you are or what you have done in the past but you shouldn’t be afraid to show who you really are. So if you always come across insecure but you know that you want to be more confident, show it. Don’t hold yourself back because of what others might say, they will have a certain view of you and if yours is different for yourself, then that is what matters most. This brings be to my next point of what moving countries has taught me, confidence.
Confidence is always something that most people look up to, but I believe that everyone has confidence within them, you just have to find it and if you haven’t yet, fake it until you do. That’s exactly what I did. When I joined a new high school after the summer I moved to the UK, I was so insecure and afraid that I would not fit in. I knew before I went inside that all of those people had known each other for years and that I would be on my own from the start. It is all different when you go to university because EVERYONE is new, everyone is in the same boat so they will try and make an effort with you. However I knew that going to this high school, everyone already had their lifelong friends so they didn’t need me, I needed them. At this point, I could have walked in there with my head down looking scared and unapproachable OR I could walk in with my killer heels, head up, smile at everyone that walked past and confidently walk over to a table where I would sat down by myself, pretend I am having a full on conversation on the phone (HA) hang up, and eat my lunch. I chose the second option and it worked. I may not have felt confident at all but I certainly wasn’t going to show anyone that. If you can show people your confidence, they will pick up on that and when they believe, you will start to believe that you are it is as simple as that. I am not saying that you shouldn’t be yourself but it works both ways, if you show people your insecurity, they will pick up on that too. As Diane von Furstenberg once said, ”Life is short, insecurity is a waste of time”
Something else I’ve learned from moving countries is to accept the changes that are happening. I was only 16 so I found it hard to see the bright side and all the opportunities that were coming my way, especially at the beginning. Only after a while I noticed how much more independent I had become, how my English had improved massively, how I made so many new friends whilst still remaining good contact with my friends from back home. Only a few of them since another thing that moving countries has taught me is who my true friends are. I knew this all along but it felt as if it was just an extra confirmation.
The change was not looked at negatively anymore when I realised I didn’t actually lose anything. just my comfort zone. In fact I discovered more sides of myself and I could see more opportunities around every corner. I was not doing incredibly well in high school back in the Netherlands, I knew I could do better but I hated the subjects I was studying and I didn’t like way of teaching. That is definitely not enough reason to not do my best but I was losing motivation. I wanted to go to university but I knew that was not going to happen if it had carried on that way. I noticed how the school system worked in the UK and saw that as one of my opportunities to show everyone, but mostly myself, what I could actually do. I chose to combine creative subjects with the business attitude in me and now I am studying at my dream university LCF in the middle of London. Back home I always had a feeling that I would not stay in the Netherlands forever, the idea of studying and living abroad was too exciting for me so I knew deep down that I wanted more from life. The only issue was my comfort zone because I had just got a part time job, had all my friends and family around, my dance team, it seemed like too much to give up for something unknown. I guess I really needed that push back then because I now strongly believe that it is okay to be afraid of change but fear should never stop you from doing anything in life.
Have you ever moved to a different country and learned a life lesson through this? I am also curious to know what your tips are for self-confidence!
Love, M x