7 Things I Missed Way More Than Expected Being Abroad

Being abroad I expected I would miss my friends and my family. I thought I would miss going out to my favorite bar, having all of my stuff around me. But to be honest, those things might have been among the things I was least thinking about.

Maybe it was because I was expecting to miss them, so it was easier to deal with them, but there were other things which I wasn’t expecting to miss so much that I ended up crying for.

1. My pets

Of course I expected I would miss my pets, but I for some reason it was harder to deal with the fact that my dog was not around than the fact that my friends and family were not, and especially when you are having some hard times, it feels good to talk to something that is both warm and fuzzy and always listens to everything you have to say without judging.


2. Being able to actually understand people around you

Being able to understand everything that is happening around you is in my eyes severely under-appreciated by those who never really leave their home country.

Don’t get me wrong, I love being abroad and I love learning new languages, but there is nothing like picking up just a few words or even sounds in your native language, and actually understanding what they are talking about.

Learning a new language is just very complicated, and even if you are pretty good at it, it’s still pretty fucking hard. Nothing will ever compare to a lifetime of practice with both the language and culture that comes along with it.

3. People around actually being able to understand you

Whether it is because people make fun of your accent or because the way of saying things is just very different, I have been in so many situations where I honestly thought I could not be any clearer, yet people just have no clue what you are talking about or what you want.

4. Being able to say “Remember that time when..” 

Even though you meet some of the most amazing people abroad, you often just don’t have a long history with them, which means it’s almost impossible to talk about the good old times, or make fun of the haircut someone had in the past.


5. Sharing a (cultural) history with people

For some reason when you are with people from your own country, even if you don’t know them at all, you share this culture and history with each other, so without knowing someone you know you can talk about certain things. You know the same songs, the same politicians, the same celebrities, the same TV channels, and for some reason that is just incredibly comforting.

I remember almost tearing up when I saw an interview with a football player from my country. First of all, because he had the worst accent when speaking English which made me realize I am not the only one struggling to speak another language  (at least I didn’t have to do it on TV), but also because I knew he had probably seen the same TV channels when we were growing up. It sounds incredibly stupid, but sometimes you just miss that sort of connection with people who have their own cultural history.

6. Being able to fight with your parents

This is only for those who have lived with host families. No matter how comfortable you feel with your new family, it is very hard to get to the point you are comfortable enough to actually fight with them, or even just make a snarky comment when they tell you to clean your room, which is probably one of the reasons why living with a host family can be so hard.

You have to keep all the little annoyances and anger inside of you instead of letting it out like you usually do (or at least I did), which makes that the general atmosphere is more tense.

7. Recognizing people in town

You slowly get to meet more people, but it takes time before your number of friends is high enough to always be bumping into someone in the streets. No long lost cousins you haven’t seen in forever, that are suddenly married. No primary school classmates that have suddenly turned into models.

None of the generally awkward encounters you get with people you should have kept contact with. And even though they are generally awkward, they are somehow also pretty enjoyable and epic.


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