A little over a month ago, I up and moved my life from Seattle to Auckland, New Zealand. It was time to move forward with life after college, learn my field, and begin exploring the world. College is the place that fosters the creativity, critical thinking, and understandings in a protected bubble. Traveling is where this bubble lifted into the 'real world' and where these skills are learned and put into action. So there I went, wide-eyed and ready to go, thrown into a new country and new work environment.
I will not fail to admit, that I experienced tremendous culture shock when I first arrived. I missed my own home and the comfort of those around me being only a few minute drive away, not 18hr flight. However, after one night, I decided I can do this new country, new environment, and experience the world like I wanted to. I changed my attitude and now those I live with think of me as the extremely outgoing, 'up for anything American'. I changed my mentality from missing my home friends, to reaching out to new ones. I moved my location from hibernating in my room to socializing in the kitchen and shared spaces. Within a week, I knew more people than others living in the house. I said hi to everyone and yes to every offer for a new adventure.
And let me tell you something, I am so glad that I did. I am only halfway through and every weekend I am off on a new adventure with new international friends exploring this amazing country. So, my biggest advice to anyone moving to a new country for a short time or long one, do not be afraid to mingle and meet new friends. Make an effort to put yourself out there, and it will turn out for you. Tell yourself you can do it, and trust it. I didn't think the culture shock would affect me. I assumed I am only gone for three months, I'm outgoing, and rarely homesick. Whether you think it will affect you or not, take a deep breath, and put yourself out there. Make connections, you never know where these relationships will take you and how they may cross paths with you again in the future.