How to Make the Most of Your Time Abroad // Through Tears and Triumphs

Learn Something New

Chances are, if you’re moving to a new city or country, you are going to be unemployed or at least less employed for a while (unless you already have a job, then go you!). This means you will have time and if you’re like me, way too much time.

I’ve worked full time my entire life, so moving somewhere, where none of my qualifications mean anything and I can’t go to school for anything for years until my visa processes because it is wayyyyyy too expensive, means I will go stir crazy.

It took me a while to see my free time as an opportunity, but once I did, I felt like I finally had a purpose. If you are a person who has ever felt a lack of purpose, then you will know exactly what I’m talking about.

I went from feeling emotionally dead to wanting to wake up early and tackle something!

Practice a Language

Currently, I live in an English-speaking country, but I used to live in Germany and traveled to South America after University. That being said, I live language and was scared I was going to lose all that I had scraped up over the last 4 years. So, I went about suing my free time to wipe off the dust and give my languages a reboot.

I first started by doing some language learning every day on Duolingo when I was in the depths of unemployment and existential dread (more info). I would practice German and Spanish for at least 30 minutes a day and/or do some reading in each language. That helped give me a small, tangible goal that would (at least) make me feel like I’d accomplished something.

I found that if I gave myself a goal of 30 minutes, that often turned into an hour just because I was enjoying what I was doing. Plus, those daily streaks were really addicting! I had a 150-day streak at one point!

Online Classes

The natural next step was to experiment with online classes. My preferred place to go for classes is Udemy. I thought, well I have the time and now I need to learn some new skills to hopefully make myself marketable in a new country. So, I started learning some Java programming skills, just to see if that is something that I would be interested in. I also tried Web Design, English Teaching, Early Childhood, and now I’m looking into Social Media Marketing and Web Dev.

I was really using this time to see what I would even like to work in now. I studied Animal Science and Foreign Language, both of which are useless here. Those professions also can’t travel with me and since Matt also works in Tech, it would be a great idea for me to as well, so we can have the lifestyle we want.

So, experiment I did.

Those classes have led me to take marketing courses on Hubspot, watching YT videos on video editing and really diving into the digital spaces that make up social media.

These might no become anything, but I felt purpose when I was learning and finally felt interested in something again and that is a win-win in my book.


This has been my primary focus over the last 2 months.

Once I started feeling like I was getting my life on track, I was enjoying the little things about Oz, and the future started looking pretty good, I wanted to set myself (and Matt) up for an amazing future. To me, that means money.

Personal finance, to me, means taking ownership of our spending, saving and investing goals. It was pretty easy when I was alone to save money and use it for exactly what I wanted, but now that we are a party of two, It makes money just that extra little bit tricky.

I have a new home, am planning a (hopefully) forever future with my partner and knocking on 30’s door. So, I think we can all agree that it’s time for us to buckle down and get our financial sh*t together.

Your self-improvement can be anything. Maybe you want to be a better communicator, learn about parenting, meditate, make your own pasta or start your own blog. Start now! There are so many ways you can use this time you have to invest in yourself.

No matter where you end up, you’ll be able to take what you’ve learned and grow from it.

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