3 Things That Living Aboard Taught Me

This is my last “regular” post on this last day of November.  For the Next few weeks my posts will have a holiday tone and taste I’m afraid. I mean it’s good news for you guys, and I hope you will enjoy.

But for now I wanted to talk to you about 3 Things that living abroad have taught me about my country of adoption, the United States, and my how country of origin, France.

So, Let’s see what they are…

I know that living abroad is something inconceivable for most people. I mean really, most people on the planet do live their whole life in the very city or town they were born in.  However, living abroad for a while can offer you the most interesting adventure of your life while it teaches you things that can’t be learn in any school anywhere.

In this post I wanted to tell you a little bit about what living abroad taught me about people of the world!

Living Abroad Taught me that Not Everything you Hear on TV or Read in Print about another Country is True

Are you the type of person who believes that if you’ve heard on TV or you read it somewhere it’s true?  Well, I’m sorry to tell you that a lot of things that you may hear about a foreign country (that you don’t know anything about) on TV or read in books and magazines are NOT necessarily true (and that goes for the internet as well).

For example, years and years ago I remember hearing on French TV that Americans look down at physically handicapped people. I was shocked and sadden to hear that, even though I wasn’t handicapped.

However, when I moved to the US I was surprised to see that this was totally untrue.  I found more streets and public transportation accommodations for handicapped here than I had ever seen at home. Then, I even came across more proofs that what I’d heard on TV years ago was untrue. But I would probably have never known that for myself had I not come to live in the US.

This also goes the other way around. You hear in the US, for example, that French men are more romantic than other men out there, or that a lot of Europeans speak English or that French people are rude, etc… Really? None of that is actually true if you asked me.  But you would only know that for sure if you’d live there for a while.  And that doesn’t really include tourism.

Living Aboard Taught me that People are not ALL Better or ALL Worse than Somewhere Else

When I left France, I almost hated French people.  I say “almost” because hate is not a word I use lightly. But I really didn’t like much anything about them anymore back then, though,  and I was ready for a break.  This was a huge part of the reasons why I came to the United States.

However, living abroad taught me that people in France are not any worse than somewhere else.  People are people with their good side and not so good side, but they are not all bad or all good.  Now that I am in the US for almost 20 years and see some of the things that I don’t necessarily like here, interestingly, I appreciate French people for whom they are much more than I used to.

Now, I truly appreciate my heritage; the one that I’ve got from being born and raised in France.  However, this would have never happened if I had not been living abroad.  There are pros and cons anywhere and everywhere. That’s what living abroad taught me.

The grass tend to be greener on the other side of the fence, so jump that fence and see if the grass is still greener or if it’s getting some patches of yellow as well.

Living Abroad Taught me that While People are Different they are also all the Same in the End

Another thing that living abroad taught me is that while raised with different languages and cultures people may be different in a way, while all the same in other ways.

Living abroad I’ve learned that at the end of the day, all normal human being is in search of happiness, and the way that we are has almost everything to do with the way we were brought up, but not as a human being, deep down.

Living on this side of the pound not only I’ve learned about Americans, but also other people from other countries and cultures such as Latin Americans, and Koreans especially.  My conclusion is that culture and language aside, we are all the same. We all have good sides and not so good ones, again, but it’s really based on an individual level.  That’s why I have a bit of a problem generalizing too much.  Yes, there is a trend in a nation as a whole, but it’s still not a one size fits all. I dealt with people from different countries, cultures and languages for almost 20 years now, and I’ve found the same kind of behaviors and personalities as I’d found right at home.

The Advantages of Living Abroad

Living abroad is like becoming an “insider” to something you didn’t know.  It helps you discover new things, new people, new cultures, new languages, new landscapes, new foods, and new ways of life.  At the same time it can also reconcile you with your own origins. You don’t have to be mad at your people like I was (I know most people aren’t) to gain something from living abroad, but if you do, you will learn how to love your own nest again, and go from a strong dislike to a strong love, like I did.

That’s how this blog was born.  I wanted to be able to write about my France, my origins, my language and my food on a weekly basis, because my living abroad taught me how to love these again.

A blogger friend of mine, Annie Andre,  is living a abroad in France and she is teaching people how to do the same.  If you’d like some great advice about living abroad, she is an expert at it. Just go see here right there!

Before you do, just leave your comments below!


22 thoughts on “3 Things That Living Aboard Taught Me”

  1. Spectacular post Sylviane,
    Thanks for the mention too.

    I once got an email from someone who said that they abhor traveling and thought i was wasting my time traveling and living abroad. My response was this.
    I asked her what she enjoyed. She said knitting or something like that. I respsoned well “i think that’s boring and you are wasting your time”.
    Moral is, travel and living abroad is not for everyone but if it means something to you than it can be very enriching. So Only do it if you enjoy it.

    sounds like it’ve been a very enriching experience. Especially since it has made you appreciate your French Heritage all the more.

    Although I love it here in France and I have lived in the US for more than 25 years. I have to say that spending time abroad and traveling has made me more clear about where my real home is. To me that is in Quebec Canada. My heart literally aches when I think of it but I also love it here in France. I need two homes. One in each country. 🙂
    I added a link to this post in my own post here

    1. Hi Annie,

      I was almost sure you would enjoy this, and I even promoted your biz 🙂

      I think that this lady you’re talking about and anyone thinking like her is ridiculous. Of course, not everyone will enjoy living abroad. Of course it’s NOT for everyone, but saying that someone doing it is wasting their time, that’s stupid.

      If we all had the same ideas and tastes life would be boring, wouldn’t it? People have different tastes, personalities, goals, etc…

      For those who would enjoy living abroad, they will come back home richer in knowledge and experience. But I know, home is home and always will be, isn’t it?

      Thanks for linking this post to yours… will check this out now 🙂

  2. Hi Sylviane
    Sorry I’m a little late with my comment, it’s been a busy weekend!
    I can relate to this post as I too am living in another country as you know. Moving from the UK to live on a Greek Island was a great move for us, we really enjoy learning about the different culture, food, people, language, like yourself.
    There have been some bad media articles about Greece but a lot of it is not true and I urge people to find out for themselves either through blogs like yours or visit the country.
    Thanks for sharing and looking forward to this months posts from you.
    Have a great week.
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    1. Hi Pauline,

      No problem. No excuses necessary. You totally fit with this theme as you also are living in a foreign country and know that people can tell and even print things that are not true.

      Thank you very much for such great feedbacks that emphasis what I’m talking about here.

  3. I admit, I use to be one of those guilty ones. I use to think that if I read it or heard it on TV numerous times then it had to be true. I was naive, I admit that. But hey, we don’t know what we don’t know right!

    I would think that even though we live in different cultures that we’re all still people. For the most part I would think that we’re a lot more alike then we think although I’ve yet to really travel the world and meet a lot of different people. I’ve been a few places but not like a lot of people I know.

    I love what you’ve shared here Sylviane and that you are putting us straight. I’ve probably been guilty from time to time too but I still want to believe that French men are more romantic. They just seem way more dreamy then our average American guy, that’s all. lol…

    Love this post and looking forward to some holiday stuff now.

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    1. Hi Adrienne,

      Well, don’t feel bad, we’ve all believed that what TV says was true at some point, I did too, until I had living proofs that it wasn’t so.

      Ahah you’re so funny… Well there are probably some french guys out there that are more romantic than some Americans, so you’re right that way… I just never met them, but I’m sure there’re some 🙂

      Thanks for your visit.

  4. Waiting for your holiday posts, Sylviane. I am sure they will be fun to read.
    Regarding this post, you have made some excellent posts. Most of us suffer from prejudices about a place or person. We can’t judge a place until we have actually lived there. I completely agree with all the points you have made here. Thanks for bringing this to light.

  5. Sylviane,

    i like the theme of the post that people are more alike than different. Regardless of the culture they share compassion and hospitality. Regardless of the language, they share the same smiles and tears. When we realize that we are all one, then the Earth will be on the road to recovery.

    I am confuse about the meaning of “living abroad”. To me it does not make much sense. I live in FL, but my native country is Bulgaria. Am I abroad here or there? When I go home for a month every year, my friends tell me that I have an accent. Here in the USA I definitely have an accent. I am in the between space.
    Then I decided that my home is where my feet stand. Because wherever I go, I always take myself with me. 🙂
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    1. Ah Margarita, I love you!

      We are in the exact same basket. I’m from France and I live in North Carolina. When I go back home people are telling me that I have an accent now. right, great 🙁 But when I’m here I also have an accent. I have no home anymore, right? 🙂 ? Ahah we are so much alike, aren’t we?

      Well, the term living abroad is just a term… just mean you’re living in another country then your home country. So officially you and I are living abroad, yes! But as you’re saying your home is where you stand.

      Thanks for coming here to this blog too 🙂

  6. Hi Sylvianne,
    Nice writeup, got to read it at a time when I’ll be relocating to a place that I find a bit too politically motivated. You are right when it comes to imagining all things bad, just because the newspaper or TV reports it that way. The actual experience with the locals may turn out to be better than what I imagine. After all, they are human beings like us.Have a great day!
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    1. Hi Shreeja,

      Yes, I’m sure it will turn out better than you are imagining it right now. The best thing to do is imagine the best versus the worst you know. We tend to get what we expect.

      Thanks for coming 🙂

  7. Hi Sylviane! Thanks for this insightful share. Although I don’t see myself migrating anytime soon, the mere thought gives me jitters. I love travelling but thinking about living in a foreign land permanently makes me realize that it’s really out of my league. Given the opportunity, it would probably be best to find out as much as you can about the country, its culture and traditions as well as other pertinent details that you must be aware of. Merry Christmas!

  8. I’ve lived abroad for 16 years and I definitely know what you mean! Thank you for sharing your experiences. This inspired me to write my own version.

  9. This blog made sense big time! I hope that someday I can have the chance to try living abroad and when I do, I will keep all these tips in mind. Thank you so much, Sylviane!

  10. Hi Sylviane, What a delightful post! As someone who has lived abroad, I can tell you that each one of these is true. They all really come down to having an open mind. If you don’t pre-judge people then you will appreciate them for who they really are.

    I think we also look at our own country differently when we live abroad. We open up our eyes in that way too. You point out that you appreciated French people more when you moved abroad. Some people idolize their home country but then see it in a different light when they live abroad.
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  11. Living abroad is such a rewarding experience which you cannot get anywhere else. Its exciting, you see amazing other ways of life, different morals and values, you will learn different languages.

  12. Hi Sylviane. I’m now 30 years old and will start my new life abroad soon. Hope this change will make me more creative in my life and work. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  13. Great write-up!
    Yes, we take some of the things around us for granted and dont realize how much they mean to us, how much they are a part of us till we move away from them!
    I belong to India and we are deeply emotional people. For me, the very thought of relocating to a foreign land would be jittery. Glad to know you could handle that, and learned something from that experience too!!
    Loving your blog, btw..will be seen around here more often from now on. 🙂

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