As of Tuesday, I’ve officially been living in Dublin for two months. When I say that out loud, it sounds like such a short amount of time. I’ve done, seen, and learned so much already – for example, did you know that Irish people aren’t drunk all the time? Crazy, I know. In all seriousness, I’ve had such an easy transition into life here (big shout out to my boyfriend and his family). Not working a full time job has been really weird, but going back to school has been even more weird. Who knew a 4 year gap between undergrad and grad school could put you so far out of touch? *eye roll*
Whether it’s a new state or a new country, moving is almost always going to bring about changes, but it’s up to you to decide how those changes affect you. The best (and maybe most cliché) thing I’ve learned is that you have to roll with the punches. Mistakes will be made and lessons (good and bad) will be learned, but there’s plenty of fun to be had if you keep an open mind! Check out a few things that I’ve learned so far while living abroad:
Stepping outside of your comfort zone is a must
You’re in a new place with no friends, family, and no one to ask for advice when you need to know which take away is best at 10pm on a Monday night. It’s time to step out of that safe little bubble you’ve been living in! Getting to know people at school or work is a great start. If you don’t find anyone who peaks your interest, try joining a club, gym, or volunteering somewhere, that way you know you already have something in common. Conversation starter? ✔️
Immigration Offices are like the DMV on steroids
If you’re from the good ol’ USA, you know that there aren’t many things that are worse than the DMV. At least an hour wait, crabby desk workers, and a stuffy, cramped room that you get to share with 100 other people, yay! I assure you, this is nothing compared to the Immigration Office. Hundreds of people, screaming babies, three separate stations, 4.5 hours and an almost dead cell phone battery later, I made it out by the skin of my teeth. If you have to make a visit to an Immigration Office after your move, learn from my mistake. Bring a book, bring your laptop, bring headphones… for the love of God bring SOMETHING. You’ll thank me later.
FOMO is a real thing
You’ve taken the leap and moved across the country or to a whole new country all together, good for you! The only downside? You’re going to miss some stuff going on back home. From weddings, to birthdays, to sporting events, and holidays, you’re bound to miss out on a few things that matter to you – Skype/FaceTime are good for this. Your friends and family will still be there when you get back, there are more birthdays to be had, more sporting events to attend, and the world will keep revolving. It’s normal to be a little down but don’t dwell on it, make the most of your time while away – I promise it’ll be okay. Well you know, unless the Cubs win the World Series for the first time in 108 years….
Traveling is cheaper – do it while you can!
My fellow Americans know how expensive it can be to travel to, well, anywhere outside of the U.S. If you’re lucky enough to have relocated somewhere abroad, TRAVEL! Seriously, it costs me €20 to get to London and back. Spain? Italy? Less than €150. Where has Ryanair been all my life?! This is absolutely unheard of if you’re traveling from the States. If you’ve moved to the U.S., welcome! Rent a car or grab a plane ticket, traveling within the country is pretty affordable and there’s so many places you can go! Is there somewhere you’ve always wanted to travel to? Take some time to explore the world, you deserve it.
Public transportation, what’s that?
Living in Chicago has absolutely spoiled me in terms of public transit. You can get pretty much anywhere by way of the “L” or buses and if you don’t feel like taking those, a quick Uber will do the job. Although Dublin is a big city, public transportation seems to be a bit lacking. Sure, there are a million different buses you can take to get to the City Centre and back but if you want to go somewhere a little bit off the beaten path, good luck! I learned this the hard way. My advice? Invest in a bike or, if you have enough money, a car. You won’t have to rely on other people for rides, you’ll almost always get places quicker, and you’ll end up saving a ton of money.