This week in our 30+ class we have been studying vocabulary for talking about living abroad and sharing our own experiences. My class this week included a Russian, a Kazakh, an Italian, two Germans and a Brazilian, all of whom have previously lived abroad. One of the greatest pleasures I get from teaching the 30+ course is enjoying such interesting company and getting to know different cultures from all around the world, without leaving London. Below are two examples of written homework I received this week on the topic of living abroad.
I totally believe that the advantages of living abroad outweigh the disadvantages. Firstly, I will discuss the advantages.
An advantage of living abroad is an opportunity to achieve personal enrichment. First of all, it’s a cultural enrichment that comes from meeting other people and appreciating the differences as a value: different ways of life, different behaviours, foods (and ways to prepare them), different languages (verbal and non-verbal). Using this knowledge we can see our world from another point of view: we can become more open-minded. This process relates to another good consequence. A wise man said: “I’m an enigma to myself”. I agree but I think that living abroad isn’t only a way to discover a world outside us, but perhaps the best way we have to discover ourselves.
Of course, I can’t ignore some disadvantages. Often when we live abroad we have a house, which may be comfortable, but it’s possible to miss our own home. At home, “our world” (things, habits, car, foods and so on) fit to us, but when we are abroad we can have the feeling of being out of place and a little puzzled – we may feel confused by language barriers. A strange and very unpleasant sensation I experienced is this one: when people play around, have fun, and make jokes using a language that I don’t know perfectly, I’m not able to understand or I’m unable to laugh at the same time as the others. It’s an awkward situation and in these moments I feel left out.
When we live abroad, depending on where we are, we may also have connection problems. Internet and/or phone connections aren’t guaranteed everywhere. This is a problem because we are used to being easily connected with family, friends, colleagues etc.
I could write more words about the problems of living abroad, although I reaffirm that in my humble opinion living abroad brings more benefits than problems.
- Mario Cagna, Italy
Living abroad may seem very easy at first glance, but I think that this discussion is much deeper. There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s try to focus on some of them.
Just imagine your first steps in life. Moving abroad allows you to remember all the things you learnt to do for the first time. To speak, to try to understand new traditions and habits, to know new laws, to adapt to hundreds of new things, such as how to pay for the electricity bill, how to call a plumber, how to drive a right-hand drive car. But I think the most important thing is to try to understand the local style of life, to be a part of a new society and to join in. And at the same time learn to not lose yourself and your past.
Living abroad allows us to broaden our horizons. We don’t stop and we have to develop. Our future is in our hands and we shouldn’t fear something new or unknown. New jobs, new friends, new foods, new culture, unusual scents, new plants and all of these are examples of new possibilities for internal development of a person. Don’t be afraid, let’s take the first step!
- Alexey Martynov, Russia
Thanks so much to Sally and our 30+ students for sharing their experiences and excellent written work with us! For more details about this English course for more mature students click the link: 30+ Course at Tti School of English!