My Journey to Expat Life: Something Magical
The first time I lived on my own in a different country for an extended period was during a semester abroad in my junior year of college. By the time I came back, I was dead-set on moving somewhere outside the US as soon as I graduated.
My journey to expat life had already begun. There has always been something magical to me about the streets of a new city, each neighborhood with its own rich history; each block with its own display of the city’s artistic and culinary expressions.
Five months of walking through and learning from the streets of Buenos Aires as a college student were more than enough to convince me I would be most fulfilled in a place that would allow me to learn and grow on my terms.
Now, four years after arriving in Buenos Aires, I am entering my third year as a resident of Mexico City, the cultural capital of the Americas, built on top of the great city of Tenochtitlan — home to the largest metropolitan area on the continent.
My Journey to Expat Life: Second Thoughts
As eager as I was to move south of the border after graduation, my decision did not come without second thoughts. After all, I had just spent four happy years in Washington, DC, I made friends who had become a part of my life. Most of these friends were staying on the eastern seaboard. They took it for granted to be consistent parts of each other’s lives as they transition to a career, graduate school, or whatever else their young adult life offers. Geographic proximity can be very important in maintaining friendships, especially as people’s lives become busier and more selective about how they use their time.
My Journey to Expat Life: Relationship Considerations
I was certainly aware of this when I made my decision to accept a year-long teaching fellowship in Mexico and then again when I decided to stay in the city when the fellowship ended. I considered these things when I moved to Mexico. I saw it as a vote of confidence in the strength of my relationships and the abundant understanding from my friends. Throughout college, I maintained several long-distance friendships and was sure that, with enough effort, I could do the same in post-grad life.
My Journey to Expat Life: The Reward
Two years after making the move, I am exceedingly grateful for my time in CDMX so far and plan to stay for as long as I can.
The city has fascinated me ever since I saw its extraordinary expanse from the airplane window. It seems to never run out of things to teach me about myself and the world around me.
I feel very fortunate to be on the receiving end of the warm and welcoming spirit in Mexico, and am thankful that I have been able to stay and develop my relationships here to their fullest.
I don’t see my friends in the States as much as I would have had I stayed.
But many of them have been eager to come to visit and explore the city.
In fact, being able to host people and show them a different part of the world has strengthened many of my connections with my friends back home.
Many have asked me about how they can live abroad, too. On top of the weekend visits, the relative proximity makes it easy for me to plan layovers in cities with large concentrations of my college friends whenever I come home to visit my family. My friends and family are happy to see me in an environment that brings me so much joy and teaches me so much.
You can profit from our expat experience here at TCI, too. Come and join the conversation for free. Where will you land?
by: Ian Scholer