3 Tips for Overcoming Your Fears of Living Abroad
When I first made the decision to move to Korea as an English teacher, fear hadn’t dawned on me yet. It wasn’t until I started telling my friends and family about my upcoming adventure that I began feeling the sting of anxiety.
I realized that almost every person I knew had asked me in one way or another, “Aren’t you scared?” At first I kept thinking, “Of course not!” Then, I started to wonder, “Should I be?”
The truth is that I was always a little bit nervous, but as soon as I sat on that airplane in anticipation of a 14-hour trip, I felt it: I was terrified.
Fear is a natural reaction to change. It’s an instinct we need in order to protect ourselves from all the things that could go wrong. The question you should really be asking yourself isn’t, “Am I scared?” it’s “Is the risk worth it?” If you’ve made the decision to teach abroad, you already know that it definitely is. If you’re still on the fence, here are a few ways to shoo away the fearfulness.
1. The 10-second rule
So you know you want to take that trip, embark on your first cruise vacation, or take the plunge and become an English teacher abroad… but you’re nervous. Something that’s always helped me overcome my fears is this little technique I like to call the ten-second rule. If you’re feeling anxious or nervous about an upcoming task, start to do it and count to ten. When it comes to a big trip, just do the little things first and work your way up to the big ones.
If you’re feeling anxious or nervous about an upcoming task, start to do it and count to ten. When it comes to a big trip, just do the little things first and work your way up to the big ones.
Take ten seconds to imagine all the good things that could happen on your trip, start researching information and if you’re feeling fearful remember to count to ten. If you have a big task you need to complete, do it in ten-second doses.
It might sound cheesy, but it really does work, even if it’s just for a short time. In the words of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, “You can do anything for ten seconds!”
2. Channel your anxiety
Guess what? Being scared takes effort. I don’t know about you, but when I’m feeling nervous about something it consumes me. I get stressed out, irritable, and sometimes I even start to feel sick if I don’t nip it in the butt as soon as possible.
The best way to kiss that fear of traveling goodbye is to channel the energy it takes to be scared into planning the amazing experience you’re about to have. If you’re moving abroad to teach English, purchasing a one way ticket to somewhere amazing, or just taking a couple of weeks of RNR time, you definitely have a lot to do before you embark on your adventure. Make a list of all the fun things you want to do once you arrive at your destination, and you’ll realize that you’ve forgotten what
Make a list of all the fun things you want to do once you arrive at your destination, and you’ll realize that you’ve forgotten what scared even means in no time.
3. Prepare, prepare, prepare!
I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’ve learned over the years that when I’m feeling nervous, there’s usually a reason for it. Perhaps I haven’t done everything I can to feel like I’m ready, or maybe I just can’t quite see a clear vision of where I’m going.
Now, you certainly don’t want to over-prepare, but achieving a certain level of “readiness” will definitely help you get through the anxiety period before you head out of your comfort zone. The more knowledge you can acquire, necessary supplies you can pack (note the word necessary), and the sooner you arrange your plans, the less you’ll have to worry about. Equip yourself with the tools to keep yourself sane!
Above everything else, the best thing you can do for yourself is remember why you’re setting out on an adventure to begin with. As a teacher, there’s always the added benefit of knowing that I’m making enough to live comfortably and still save for the future. You’re going to experience, change, and grow an exponential amount from traveling; don’t let fear hold you back.
What are your biggest fears of living abroad? Leave them for us in a comment below.
Thank you for this. I have been living overseas for 1 year now. I can see how fear can get the best of you. I didn’t have fear in the begining but I have had several anexity attacks. It’s important to mediate and breathe. It’s a difficult challenge to leave your friends and family behind.