We know that life abroad comes with difficulties. For example, we may have limitations that the locals don’t have, and we may miss people from our country of origin and sometimes feel like we don’t belong.
But the other, bright✨, side of the coin is the freedom the foreignness can bring (of course depending on the situation and the reasons for living abroad). This ‘Foreigner’s Freedom’ or ‘Stranger’s Freedom’ comes in many forms.
10 examples on how thE FOREIGNER’S freedom CAN manifest
1. 🪶 Detached from certain cultural expectations, traditions and norms, you can form your own habits.
2.🪶 As you will never be 100% one of “them”, it leaves more space for finding out who you want to be and to have your own unique accent not only in speech but also in being and doing. It’s okay if some others see you as a bit of an oddball.
3.🪶 Without traditional family places and events, you have possibilities to explore new destinations and happenings.
4. 🪶 Without relatives and old friends near, you are pushed to create new connections and friendships.
5. 🪶It can be easier to shake off your old roles, habits and labels placed on you.
6. 🪶 You observe things from a fresh perspective because of your different background and outsideness. You may notice things and opportunities which the mainstream doesn’t. And you can sprinkle your unique perspectives, and cultural peculiarities and experiences around for others.
7. 🪶 You have several locations to call home and you can feel like a citizen of the Earth.
8. 🪶 If you can speak a language (or a few) that the locals don’t understand, it also gives you some freedom.
9.🪶 If you don’t understand all the words and sayings around you, it provides some quiet space and leaves room for interpretation – and it can also create funny situations for both parties.
10. 🪶 When you are walking off the beaten path, you are free to go where you want and you are more likely to find precious things and surprises along the way.
“No bird in a cage has ever come to know what the mountain winds feel like, by staring at the free flying birds, wishing that they would fall from the sky!”― C. JoyBell C.
Here is one example of how limited language skills can create funny situations: I sometimes said “Regal” to people which means “Shelf”, when I meant to say “It doesn’t matter” which is “Egal” in German. With my local neighbour we were laughing that maybe people think I’m in the furniture business now, always excitedly talking about shelves!
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Text, images & illustrations: Helena / Abroadland