Living abroad, I can tell you quite a bit of my life has changed. Living abroad in a foreign country isn’t always as glamorous as it seems to be and I spent a lot of time in isolation reflecting. I’ve gone through cultural shock without support from family, friends, and the loss of my greatest mentor — my father. However, my father Daniel Kepner was always a great leader and motivational speaker. Here’s an email he wrote to me titled “Get Busy Living” about dealing with living abroad that I’ll never forget and any expat can relate to:
You are going through a normal part of missing people and friends you care about. It is normal to feel lonely and to feel like you may have made the wrong decision to go to Spain to gather knowledge and improve your language abilities in Spanish. I think you made the right decision to go to Spain, but now you have to move forward to take advantage of the offerings that are there for the taking!
In the long run, if you improve your Spanish speaking skills, you will be more valuable to a future employer and you will feel more comfortable around others that are fluent in the language you have chosen to learn.
Your decision to go to Spain to teach English was a choice you made to improve yourself. You knew that you were leaving Georgia to develop yourself professionally and that you are young in the stage of your career life figuring out what you want to do. Maybe that will change, but my advice to you would be to experience all that you can right now. Who knows what will happen in 7 months, a year, 5 years……….you need to get busy living life and soak up everything around you while you have the opportunity.
As you get older and you have increased responsibilities, you may not have the opportunity ever again to see Europe like you can now. If you come home now, will you ever feel totally satisfied that you got to experience your dream of learning a culture and a a language? Will you kick yourself that you had the chance to see countries like Portugal, France and other parts of Spain or will you second guess yourself that coming home early was the right decision?
I think making it a priority everyday to learn a new word or phrase in Spanish should be your primary goal. Seek out people at the school and get them to help you learn their language…..I’m sure they would love to help you. Make yourself a list on paper of what you want to do while you are there and start pursuing the items on your list. Challenge yourself to learn something new everyday. You will find that you will experience things that you will remember for the rest of your life and that being on the internet and looking at Facebook postings most of your day is not what life is all about.
So, get off the couch and go do stuff…..meet new people…..see new places…..try new foods…..get out there and experience the culture while you can.
Dan Kepner, CPCU, ARM
Licensed Insurance Agent
Message heard loud and clear. My blog response to come soon. Getting Busy Living.