Moving to a new country can be scary, anxiety provoking, and fill you with self doubt. It can also be exciting, a chance to grow spiritually, mentally, and emotionally and be the best time of your life. Here are my four tips that I have learned in my almost two months of living abroad in an amazing, beautiful foreign country called Israel.
1. Ask for help
No matter how much you think you have your life under control, there are always going to be unexpected curve balls. Some days you will end up in tears. It’s important to remember that those tears will eventually become a good laugh later on. It’s okay to need help, whether it be help navigating, finding something you need, pronunciations, or even a place to go when you feel alone. Someone once told me “the only stupid questions are the ones never asked” – so feel free to ask away because you may never know what you find out.
2.Be open to new adventures
Allow yourself to become immersed in new adventures that are outside of your comfort zone. Whether that be going to an underground 90s grunge concert, meeting with an Israeli family for Shabbat, or even joining a new activity – be open to the new adventures living abroad affords you. You never know what might happen – you may end up meeting your new best friend, significant other, or fall in love with a new activity.
3. Use your support systems
There will be days when you wish you could fly home immediately and never leave your loved ones, the familiarity of your native language, and the comfort of an American routine. On these days don’t shy away from these feelings, instead embrace your support systems. This could be your roommates, your program coordinator, or family and friends back home. Schedule a facetime call, read through old letters, or look through old pictures, anything that will help you feel comfort from those closest to you. Don’t bottle up those feelings, though. Chances are there are others in your program or your apartment who are feeling the same way. Take time to have these vulnerable and emotional conversations but just remember your end goal of moving to a new country.
Your mind, body, and the world around you may be going a thousand miles a minute, but it’s up to you to slow that down. It’s okay to not do everything those around you are doing. It’s okay to stay in one night instead of going to the club with your housemates. You, and you alone, set the pace for your own life. Take the time to listen to your body. In Israel, there is a saying “lizrom” and it basically means go with the flow. Allow yourself
the time to heal emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Allow yourself the time to go on a long, slow walk, to visit local bakeries or spice shops. Allow yourself time to sleep, to wake up later than usual, and enjoy your cup of coffee or tea. Allow yourself time to be the best authentic version of yourself that you can be.
Moving to a foreign country will be scary and hard but it will also be a lot of fun! Treat every day as a gift and take advantage of all of the new opportunities coming your way.
Your favorite Tel Aviv Fellows,
Aly Danick is a Fellow in BINA’s MITF+ program.
Originally from Maryland, USA, Aly was an English teacher for students who spoke a language other than English as their native language.