6 essential life lessons you learn in your first year living abroad

Gelo Lasin

I lived in Sweden for a full year.

For those not in the know, Sweden is a small Scandinavian country in Europe, famous for IKEA, H&M and the oh-so delish swedish meatballs.

Still have no clue? It’s where Alicia Vikander (aka Tomb Raider hottie) is from.

*Swoon* i.pinimg.com

And with a different culture comes a whole new set of enlightening life lessons that would make Buddha jealous. Here are a few of them.

1. It’s actually stressful to be a bum

Look, I love the bum life. I am a fierce advocate of spending mornings by just chillaxing and watching Netflix.

But having to do it all week long? It’s mind-numbing AF.

I was unemployed for a portion of my time abroad, and being stagnant is one of the weirdest feelings ever. It’s like, the bum in me should be loving this, but my body KNOWS that I should be doing something productive with my life.

Plus, even if I did want to go outside and have fun, I didn’t really have any funds to spare.

2. Filipino foods are God’s gift to the universe

Fancy steak and wine dinners will never compare to the maasim taste of sinigang, the fiesta of flavors that is the menudo, and the salty yet unexplainable wonder of tuyo and kamatis.

3. Winter is depressing as hell

It’s hotter than Satan’s living room here in Pinas, so it’s only natural that we dream about a winter wonderland.

But the thing is, winter can get SOOO boring! In Sweden, it happens for 8 freaking months, with barely any variations in between. You have no idea how numbing it can be to look out your window and see only the color white 24/7

4. Your lifelong beliefs are not absolute

Yes, people can actually live together even tho they’re not married… and that’s okay. And no, same-sex couples are not disgusting, because, at the end of the day, love is love.

People abroad are more liberal with their views – and that is a good thing. It opens up your mind to the idea that there’s actually no “correct” way to live your life. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, then go do you.

5. All of us are different… and that’s okay

People, in general, tend to have their own stereotypical views of other cultures. Arabs are bad guys, the Chinese are selfish, island hogging a-holes and the Brits are a bunch of arrogant pricks.

One of my best friends in Sweden was Chinese, and she was one of the awesomest people in history. The kindest, most accommodating people I’ve ever met were Arabs and Muslims. Brits are compliment factories who turned out to be great drinking buddies as well.

Different cultures may have their own quirks but at their core, they are nice, funny, friendly – in short, they are normal human beings, just like you and me.

6. The Philippines is actually pretty lit

Our country might not be the cleanest nor the safest out there, but there’s this irresistible charm about PH that makes you want to keep coming back for more.

It could be the buzzling nightlife, the awesome people, or just our culture of being so darn upbeat all the time, which can’t easily be replicated anywhere.

Whatever it is, our country is way more lit than you can ever realize.

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