Happy Abroad: for everyone who wants to live happily abroad!

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About the author

photoLet me first introduce myself, my name is Margarita Miller. I was born and grew up in Riga, Latvia. My interest to everything international grew quickly in my early years, when I was a child. Since I was 10 years old I got my first pen pals from different countries, this helped me to improve my English. At the age of 14 my grandmother suggested me to read a book “Princess” – it was about life of a Saudi Arabian princess and women in that country. This booked not only shocked me a lot (it showed bad situation of women there, as I thought about it at that time), but also put the seeds of my interest in Arabic and Muslim culture. I was lucky and traveled quite a lot when I was a teenager. This broadened my horizon dramatically. I really enjoyed seeing different cultures, countries, discovering something new.

After I finished high school, I was not sure what to study. But one thing I was sure of – the studies should be “international”, thus I decided to study International Relations at the Riga Stradins University. At the same time I actively participated in various national and international projects organized by different NGOs, such as the National Youth Council of Latvia.

During my last year of the university I went to Trier, Germany as an exchange student (I write more on my experience in Germany in an article “Erasmus experience”). It was 6 months of “test”. Test for myself, how I will be able to live abroad. It was sometimes tough, but overall it only made growing my will to experience the life abroad. I came back to Latviajust for one month, as I got a job in London in a charity and therefore moved to the UK. It was an interesting change, as I had very mixed feelings about London, but in the end I managed to explore and find all the great possibilities that this town brings. Actually it is one of the main reasons of leaving Latvia– I felt that I needed a broader territory for my self-development.

I enjoyed my work in London, but I felt the need for growth, therefore I decided to study for a Masters degree… again, in International Relations, but this time I have chosen a very international course – half in Bath,UK and half in Siena, Italy. Thus, the studies have brought me toItaly and here I am now, just changed the town a bit and at the moment I am living in Rome, not in Siena.

After settling down (in the first 6 months I have changed 5 places in this ancient city), I slowly grew into an international life in Rome and at the moment I feel myself as a part of Rome’s wide international community. I have even decided to organize a course for foreigners “Rome ABC” to make their adjustment process to the hectic life in Rome easier and nicer.

That’s all for now! Thank you for reading and please contact me if you have any questions: newabroad@gmail.com! And as usual, feel free to comment below!

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Internationals

Expat, Cosmopolitan, International, Globalised – whatever you call it, the meaning always remain the same: a person who is not focused on one country, nation, language, but is open-minded and always ready to get to know different culture, people from other parts of the world.  Here the term “international” will be used, as it has a broader sense.

It does not matter how you have arrived there… whether you came from a multi-cultural family, have lived in several countries while you were a child, or may be you studied or worked abroad, or it could be also that you are working in an international organisation… it makes no difference… the difference is inside you and you know it, you feel it.

You do not have to be an expat to be an international, you could also live in your country of birth and have a single-nation origin, but you will feel different from your schoolmates, colleagues. Well, if you are an international, you know what I mean.

Where is your home? After living/having experience in several countries, it might be difficult to answer to this question. You know very well your country of origin, you might have there your family’s home, but deep inside your heart you actually have doubts where your “home” is – is it where your family is? Is it where you are at the moment? Or is it somewhere in the uncertain future?

You know more than one language and one of your hobbies include travelling and meeting new people. For sure your partner also should be an international, as only international will be able to understand your deepest feelings and emotions, what makes you “tick”. It does not mean that international is better than others. No, we all unique, but internationals can understand each other better, it is like being able to speak the same language, even without words.

International is ready to tell his story again and again – where he is from, what does he do, how he came here… it does not disturb him.  But being international also hurts…. feeling that you belong to the whole world or at least to a continent is great, but at the same time you might feel that you do not belong anywhere – neither to your country of birth/place where you grew up, nor to the place where you live/used to live… It is scary.

Most of your friends are also internationals. You might have some “normal” friends from your childhood, neighbourhood, work etc., they could be even your best friends, but you always will feel that a bit strange look from their side, like you were an unusual species in the zoo.

You are used to have changes in your life and whether you like it or not, you cannot live without them. It could be change of countries, international jobs, projects… You know you are different; sometimes you would like to forget about it, be as others, do as others do, but it won’t last long. You are who you are. Accept it. Your differences are your strengths, not all might like them, but not all like Marmite, right? So be happy being yourself, with yourself and within yourself!

Welcome to my…Blog!

Similar to one of my favorite songs by Brainstorm “Welcome to my country”, I will start with “Welcome to my blog”! =)
By the way, if you are interested in visiting Latvia, seeing how beautiful this country is or just getting into old good memories, you can see the video of this wonderful song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhaIsQtKl4s&playnext=1&list=PLD3E7767C5F308C11

Ok, now about this blog. Here are some FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):

Why I am writing this blog?
So far I have lived (not visited as a tourist) in 8 cities/towns, in 4 countries. Time to time friends were coming to me seeking advice on life abroad: how to find an accommodation, how to find a university, how to meet new people, what is possible to do during free time when you are in a new place and do not know anyone etc. I was answering to all these questions on case by case basis, but then came up with an idea to write this blog, which could help more people. So here we are!

What you can expect to see here?
I will cover here various issues on life abroad: how to move, how to find an accommodation, hobbies, friends when you are living abroad. How to deal with paper work, how to get used to new culture, people – these are only some of the topics I am going to write about.

If you have any particular question on life abroad –  you can leave it in the comments below or write to: newabroad@gmail.com. I will try to reply as soon as possible.

Who I think will be reading this?
YOU! I guess you are my friend or a friend of my friend or a person who is interested in finding more information/reading about life abroad, right? If not, let me know who you are in the comments. In any case it is nice seeing you here.

Some critical remarks:
– I choose to write in English, as majority of my friends speak this language. Russian was my second choice, but that would make many of my friends having to learn quickly this not easy language, and I know how busy they are!
– you might say “How she can write about life abroad in general, when in each country situation is different?”. You are right, websites, newspapers on finding an accommodation are different, as are job agencies etc. But steps which you have to make to find a house, job, new friends are similar wherever you are.
–  If you have some suggestions, questions or you just would like to leave a greeting – you can do it via comments below or via email: newabroad@gmail.com. I will be looking forward to hear from you!
– What is the easiest way to keep yourself updated on new posts/articles published here (and not only) on life abroad? Subscribe to this blog!