Saturday, March 24, 2012

guest post, Jenna (South Africa)

Hi friends!
Today, Jenna will be sharing some tips on living/moving abroad.
Jenna is an expat living in South Africa,
and, she's awesome.
I'm tempted to get on a plane and fly to visit her.

Head over to her blog and make a new friend!
You'll be happy you did!

---

Hello Lost&Found readers!  

I'm so thrilled that Bailey asked me to guest post for her while she gets situated in her new European home!  I can't wait to live vicariously through her life as an au pair in Germany.


I guess introductions should come first.  My name is Jenna and I blog over at A Home Away From Home about my life as an American ex-pat living in South Africa.  South Africa started out as a semester abroad experience for me in 2008, but when I met and fell in love with a local my life was forever changed and I sort of never left and still find myself here today.  It's amazing the surprises that life can throw your way isn't it?

While trying to decide what to post about today I found myself going back to the months before I moved to South Africa and all the tips and advice that I wished people would have given me before I officially took the plunge {so to speak}.  So today I decided that I would do exactly that, and give some tips and tricks I've picked up along way on moving and adjusting to life in a foreign country.

Tip #1: Pack Smart


This point cannot be stressed enough.  The key here is to pack light, but also remember the essentials: jeans, leggings, boots, a good quality jacket, a dress, a pair of heels, a scarf, a bathing suit etc.  I've been guilty of both sides of this one before, both packing way too light and only taking casual clothes and running shoes {see picture above in Croatia} and also packing way too much and running into major problems at the airport on my way back home {involving lots of tears and having to buy and re-pack a third bag at the airport and then paying $300 to check it}.  My suggestion is to take one large suitcase with you to the destination and then leave room to bring one more suitcase home full of all of the amazing things you've acquired in your abroad.

Tip #2: Meet and Make Friends with Locals



While it can seem really daunting, meeting and becoming friends with locals is one of the most enriching parts of living in a foreign country, and one of the best ways to transition into your new home.  Don't be afraid to start a conversation with a random stranger, join local interest clubs, or attend community events.  Ask new found friends for help when you aren't sure of something, join them for a dinner in their home, and be up for going on spontaneous weekend trips.  You'll be surprised how quickly you start to feel like a local yourself and get to know all of the non-touristy hot-spots in the city!

Tip #3: Consciously Embrace Each Moment 



Make a point of trying something new everyday and taking constant mental pictures.  Try foods that you normally wouldn't, visit new places in and around the city, take spontaneous trips, volunteer your time, enroll for language classes, stay out all night, go bungy jumping... the list could go on and on.  Although six months or a year may seem like a long time right now, it will fly by and before you know it you'll be on your way home again.  I also recommend keeping a daily journal where you can jot down anything you never want to forget and include clippings of receipts, museum tickets, brochures, etc.  My roommate did this during our first semester in SA and looking back I really wish I would have done it too!

Tip #4: Catch the Travel Bug



No matter what type of budget you're on, try and take advantage of all the incredible places around you {especially if you're in a place like Europe like Miss Bailey is}.  Save money by making use of public transport and discount airlines, staying in hostels/backpackers, seeking out free activities, buying your own food for lunch and then having a picnic, scoping out group/student discounts, and only taking a set amount of money out with you at night {I've learned this last one the hard way}.  You never know when/if you'll be so close to so many amazing cities and countries again so get all you can out of long weekends and breaks!

Tip #5: Expect Culture Shock / Homesickness, but also know that you'll get through it!



Unfortunately moving abroad also means leaving loved one's behind and almost everyone will go through some form of culture shock or homesickness.  Expect that this will happen and know that it's part of living so far from home.  Luckily there's skype {which has been a complete and utter life saver} and staying in contact with those back home isn't half as difficult as it used to be.  Try and focus on enjoying the present moment and remember that your stay isn't permanent.  Oddly enough, when it finally comes time to return to your home country, you'll in all likelihood experience reverse culture shock and miss everything about your new-found home abroad!

And for anyone who's interested, here's a few of my favorite posts on life abroad:

Thoughts on Being an Ex-pat

Four Years, 10 Favorites

Long Flight Essentials

Thanks so much for having me Bailey - I can't wait to hear all about your exciting new adventures in Germany!

---

Isn't she the sweetest?

Thank you, Jenna!

I will be back and posting regularly starting tomorrow.
I have many pictures of my new home to share with you!
Pin It!

354 comments:

1 – 200 of 354   Newer›   Newest»
Jenna said...

Thanks so much for having me Bailey! Can't wait to see pics of your new home :)

xxx
Jenna

Ben & Cassie said...

Wow what an amazing story and experiences you are having! South Africa sounds amazing!

Mimi said...

awww, i really loved reading this post! these tips are awesome -- i dream of living in a different country one day, so these will come in handy. :)

<3, Mimi
http://whatmimiwrites.blogspot.com/
Fashion To Figure Giveaway: Win any item $30 or less
Poshlocket Giveaway: Win a Shelly Fabric Choker

Maja said...

are you an aupair? :) I lived in Frankfurt for 6 moths... I loved it, even though it was hard, too..

inwithdnew.blogspot.com

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