This last year and 3 months abroad has been a very satisfying and life fulfilment time for me. Leaving Europe is very difficult especially when you are leaving friends behind and they ask “When do you come back?”I don’t have the answer right now but, I know for a fact that I come to Europe often. Europe to me has always been home. In the last 10-15 years I’ve always been in and out of Europe traveling often in this wonderful continent. It was only a matter of time that I would move and live here. The biggest take away from this experience is feeling very lucky to be able to do this. I think I’ve always wondered before why a lot of people don’t travel often when it’s an experience that shapes you as a whole. I understand now that aside from money, it’s a personal decision that somehow to some don’t have the motivation.
For me, travel is ingrained in me. I’m a curious minded, an adventurous fiend and I absolutely love it. I am well aware of how lucky I am to be able to live and travel in Europe. I understand that not a lot of people can do this and I don’t take this for granted by any means.
Looking back, there are a few lessons that I learned and I will never forget.
- Traveling alone. This is still a work in progress for me but, if I can move to another country and not know the language I can definitely travel alone.
- Listen. Not knowing the language was difficult but, I learned to listen very well; a powerful skill to have when you need to understand someone who’s trying to communicate with you their thoughts and basically, when you need documents processed it’s those critical moments when listening is highly important.
- Speak Up. There’s been many times where I was put in situations where I was the only one who didn’t speak another language and made me feel uncomfortable. I learned to defend myself and stand up to what I felt was right even if you have to repeat yourself over and over again.
- Diversity. Coming from L.A. I thought I was living in a multi-cultural city and I thought I lived a diverse lifestyle. I was dead wrong when I sat in a room full of people who spoke 3-6 different languages. It was an eye-opener to learn that what you know may not always be right or someone can do it better.
- Communication. Learning a new language is also a powerful skill. It helps you defend your thoughts, ideas and pretty much everything that you want for someone else to understand who doesn’t speak your language. I wish I learned Italian before I came but, my Spanish skills helped me a ton.
- Customer Service. No one can compare to the customer service in USA. It’s one of the best in the world. I think Americans in a service oriented environment are able to explain things better than anyone from the beginning of a process to the very end.
- Quality. Americans are great in customer service but, Europe takes it home with quality food and drinks especially in Italy.
- Competition. I never realised how competitive I am until I came to Europe. Although, I think I learned to pick my battles and let things go when it’s necessary.
- Roll with the punches. I’m an impatient person but, when things don’t go as planned I definitely learned to roll with it. There are some things you have no control over.
- Identity. No matter how far I traveled, I am an American at heart. Until next time….ASA