What Living Abroad Has Taught Me

What Living Abroad Has Taught Me

I have lived abroad for over two years now, and before that travelled for five months. It has been a thrilling, challenging experience and there are definitely some important things I have learnt along the way. When I first agreed to study in Abu Dhabi I had no idea how much my life would change, and here are just a few of the things that I have discovered.

How To Convert Currencies 

Don't get me wrong there are apps that help, but if you want to know the price of something right now I will, with a surprising amount of accuracy, be able to tell you it in dirhams, dollars, euros, colones and pounds. Sadly people usually only want one, but budgeting gets even more fun when you're doing it in four currencies. *

Skype Is A Miracle 

The ability to experience the faces and voices of my loved ones on a regular basis is a luxury that I don't appreciate enough. Living 2,500 miles away can be tough, but it's always reassuring to know that a piece of parental advice is just a click away.

Sim Cards Are Impossible To Hold On To

The minute my SIM card leaves my phone it will never return, no matter how hard I try. I've lost count of the amount of times my friends have said "I have four English numbers for you, which is it?!" and I've been forced to respond with a new number entirely. 

It Is Possible To Get Used To Change

I hate change, I hate it so much. Every time something in my life adjusts I have a mad panic trying to accept it and get used to it. But at a university where students come and go faster than buses I have learnt to embrace new situations, and head to them bravely even if inside I am quaking with fear. Pretty soon the new circumstances become familiar, and you wonder why you were ever worried in the first place. 

Airport Arrivals Are Beautiful Places 

It's got to the point now where an airport arrival rarely means I won't be seeing someone I know. It's like that scene from Love Actually, only it happens for me about four times a year. I actually think Birmingham Arrivals might be one of my all time favourite places, and I'm only half joking, Who's for an emotional reunion? Anybody? 

True Friends Will Love You Even When You Don't Speak/ See Each Other For Months

I am very lucky to have a core group of friends who still seem pleased to see me, even when we haven't spoken in six months because I'm useless at initiating conversation. They're a fab bunch and I treasure every moment I spend with them, even if it happens once in a blue moon. 

It's not always been easy, but it's definitely been worth it. What do you think?

*N.B I didn't learn this by choice, my student financing is almost never told to me in the currency that I'm spending it in, and my instinct is still to think in those pretty little pound signs. 


  1. Loved this post, very sweet too! Also I'd love to work out currencies! x


  2. Thanks Paige :) I'm rather proud of my currency converting ability :p xx

    p.s I love your blog, your logo is just too amazing!

  3. I can relate to all of these things, Liza. Great post! Skype is definitely taken for granted, and all think all hell will break loose if the UAE decide to block it fully. You're right about the arrivals lounge; my scene of the emotional crime is Manchester!

    1. Oh my gosh I live in constant fear of that happening! Aww I can imagine, that's the joy/problem with being an expat hey? :)


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