What is like to live abroad

First of all, happy 2021! It’s been a while for sure, going back to school took way more of my time than I expected to be honest. This year, I plan to be much more organized and hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with all my goals – which include more blog posts!-

This week, I participated on a LIVE hosted by my friend @alinegazola on Instagram. Since it was entirely held on our first language Portuguese, I decided to make a post with some of the questions she asked me. I believe many people who live abroad (regardless of where) can relate to some of my thoughts.

So here it goes!

  • When did you move to the United States and what was the reason?

I moved to the US in 2017 to marry my husband! We were dating long distance for about 2 years, but before that, I studied abroad in Chicago for 4 months in 2015.

  • Did you know how to speak English?

Yes, I was already fluent when I moved here. My biggest advice if you are trying to learn a language is to really dive in the culture, practice everyday by listening to music, reading articles and changing subtitles to English when watching shows or a movie. I’ve studied English for many many years but honestly, I did a lot of work on my own. Also, I was very lucky that my school had a group of American students for an entire semester. We became really good friends and it was like I was studying abroad while at home, talking to them basically everyday. While dating my husband long distance we would speak every single day and that obviously helped me a lot as well!

  • How many states have you lived?

I’ve lived in Chicago, IL / Columbus, OH and now I’m in Washington, D.C!

  • Did you get a job in your field as soon as you arrived? If not, how hard is the journey to find a job?

Getting a job in my field has been very hard and a long process! I can only speak from my personal experience but even though I validated my Brazilian degree with WES – World Educational Services it does not seem enough to get an opportunity in the field. Most places look for experience in the US, including entry level jobs. Long story short, I currently work in Property Management and I’m pursuing my Masters degree at the George Washington University.

  • What was the hardest thing for you when you first arrived?

Waiting for my documents was for sure an stressful time that brought me anxiety. It is very hard not knowing when you will be able to do normal, basic stuff such as work, open a bank account, have an ID from the city you live in… it goes on and on. Hardest thing was not knowing when I would be able to go visit my family back in Brazil.

  • What do you like best in the US?

As simple as this may sound, I love having all four seasons of the year! Coming from Rio de Janeiro where it is mostly hot the entire year (June-July you get some low 70s and 60s temperatures) I find it fascinating to see the year going by through the seasons. I love they all bring something different, a new spirt, new wardrobe, food and smells. My absolute favorite is fall! I believe this simple process of change shows us what life is all about; things come and go, you really have to look at what that period has to offer.

I also realize I’m becoming more practical and direct which are American characteristics comparing to Brazilians that are very emotional, non direct and have a very hard time saying “no”.

  • What do you miss the most in Brazil?

I miss my family and close friends! I do miss some places, food and smells but not as much as I used to at the beginning.

  • What feeling homesick means to you?

I’m usually homesick around the holidays and special occasions. Being homesick is so many things that it is hard to put into words. It’s missing my mom’s hug, watching shows in bed with my sister, my dad’s food, a good laugh, the smell of my grandma’s house, the ocean, humidity, restaurants.

These were some of the topics we talked about and it was so nice to share that with people watching us. Moving away from your country is very hard even when you are happy where you are now!

If you live abroad, what are some of the things you miss the most? Feel free to add to the comments or reach out on Instagram @joanaspointofview. 🙂