I’ve been living as an expat off and on in Italy for about a year now, and I am always reminded about how you need to make a certain schedule for yourself while you are living abroad. When I first get settled in, I love this new-found freedom of being able to do whatever I would like, but it doesn’t take me long before I start craving a basic structure to my days abroad.
Here are some tips to helping you develop your schedule when you are living abroad.
Know what you miss from home.
It’s easy for me to pinpoint what I miss after living in Italy for a few weeks—I miss watered-down, American coffee. It’s become a ritual for me to sit down at my computer with a cup of jo and work on my writing for the day, so I’ve learned which little comforts make it easier for me to get through the day. It’s often the daily things people base their schedules off of—the small feeling of peace you get from a meditation session or having time to watch an episode or two of their favorite TV shows.
It might be the last thing you want to do when you’re surrounded by good, foreign food and there isn’t a gym in sight, but exercise can contribute a lot to finding the right schedule for you. I’ve been doing yoga most mornings and making an effort to walk ten miles or so a day (which isn’t hard when you live in Europe). Knowing that these are an important part of both my mental and physical health has helped me put together a schedule that I can stick to most days.
Know when you need time alone and when you need company.
Adjusting to living abroad means that you will meet a whole group of friends, but living in a new culture can take a lot out of you, as well. If you’re an introvert like me, you need time to process your time abroad and to spend a few hours alone. But you should also know when to take advantage of your social life and to have some fun experiencing your new chosen culture, as well. This also means knowing when to turn your cell phone off and to take a break talking with those from home.
Do you have any tips for someone trying out life as an expat?