Hey guys! Hope you are doing well. I know I have been MIA lately, but I had a busy summer with the family visiting from Bulgaria. I have been though preparing this post for a while. I decided to share with you my thoughts and experience about living abroad and the 5 years I have now spent in Denmark and how it changed me, my personality, vision and way of looking at life.
Yeah.. Exactly on this day, back in 2012, is when I first arrived in Denmark (time flies). I can’t believe it has been already 5 years ago, since a young 19 year old girl, having absolutely no clue where she is going and what to expect, arrived in the city of Aalborg. I have always wanted to study abroad, but I had no idea about Denmark as a country, culture and people. I knew it as a piece of the world map, but have never actually researched much about it. I had no idea what is waiting for me, or if I am gonna like it and fit in. I had fear, but was actually mostly excited of the unknown and the new future ahead of me. I needed that change, as the last few years in high school, I have been through a lot and I knew that I don’t actually feel as I was supposed to – full with energy, ready to explore and embrace life. I was feeling stuck and I assumed that I need a change in order to find the place where I will be myself and will feel good.
That is why moving to study in Denmark came right on time for me. I couldn’t wait to start a new life and see how I would feel in this so distant and unknown country. I am now writing this post, 5 years later, with a completely different mindset from back then and with a totally changed perspective of life. I wanted to share this with you, and especially those who have been through the same change, will most probably relate in some ways, as I think this is a big change in one’s life. Here is what Denmark thought me and how it changed me in the past 5 years of my life:
I learned not to care so much about what other people think about me
I used to pay too much attention to what other people say and think about me when I was living in Bulgaria. I would get sad if someone doesn’t like me or treats me bad. Living in Denmark thought me to only care about what my closest people think about me. I learned to ignore mean comments and people, as they are not really part of my life and their opinion is irrelevant for me. It is so relieving to just exclude fake and dishonest people from my life and to focus only on the good friends and beloved people and my relationship with them. Danish people are not very nosy and they don’t really care about other people’s lives and that is something that I really like. The majority often minds their own business and they don’t spend much time discussing or caring about others – just their closest ones.
I built my self-esteem
My self-esteem was pretty smashed when I lived in Bulgaria. See, studying in a ballet school is not easy and there are often a lot of kids who end up stuck in a corner and with a self-esteem below the normal. I was one of those kids, who was kinda always invisible and as I was very quiet and polite, I wouldn’t stand up for myself and defend myself when I had to. It’s a hard profession to be going after, but I of course made some of the best friendships in my life there. I have of course learned a lot going through this experience and I had a lot of fun, but in the same time it was crashing my self-esteem, as there were a lot of mean people there, treating you bad and if you are quiet and polite and can’t stand up for yourself, you grow up to believe you are not good enough. Anyway, living in Denmark thought me the opposite. I had to build my self-esteem almost from scratch in order to be able to make new friendships, explore and fit in in a totally different from the Bulgarian culture and mindset. And as I met some great people and friends already in the beginning of those 5 years, I managed to learn to believe in my skills, potential and future. This particular thing that living in Denmark thought me is one that I am incredibly thankful about.
I learned to be independent
All those things like paying bills, fixing documents in the municipality and other sorts of everyday stuff, that I wasn’t doing myself back at home, seemed to be so complicated at first. But with time, with no parents around to do these things for you, you kinda learn how to manage. It was hard in the beginning – foreign country, different laws and language, but it gives you the great feeling of being somewhat independent and you grow so much faster when you live 3000km from home and you are absolutely alone in this new place. I am of course in many ways still dependent on many things, but for the most part, I learned how to manage many things by myself.
I appreciate things much more
And by things I mean – Bulgaria. I know things are not as they are supposed to be there and I have also left the country to seek more opportunities and a better life in another country, but being away and visiting twice a year, makes you appreciate the small things. As people say, we very often take things for granted and only when we lose them we appreciate their value. It’s the same here – I miss Bulgaria and I appreciate all the good sides – nature, warm and open people, family, culture, food, etc. I wasn’t noticing these things so much before, but living away, I value them so much more and I realise how much potential this country have. I hope things will change there, as people deserve it and the beauty of the country must be known by many.
I learned how hard it is to be a foreigner
Despite how polite and sweet Danish people can be, you are still a foreigner in their country. They are indeed much more difficult to befriend compared to other nations. I explain it to myself with the fact that many are super shy (especially when they have to speak English, which 99% know fluently) and they hang on to the friends they already have. They spent lots of time building friendships and becoming a good friend with a Dane can sometimes seem impossible. You have to fight twice as hard when you are a foreigner – also when it comes to finding a job or socialising. You have to learn a new language and accept other traditions. But this is how it is when you are a foreigner – you come to a totally new culture and you have to find a way to fit in, which sometimes can be more difficult. Scandinavia is totally different from Bulgaria and Eastern Europe and that is why it could take a lot of effort to get to know the people and learn their culture. I personally find this very exciting and accept it as a challenge.
I am calmer, more positive and energetic
I think I have gotten the Danish “calmness” if I may call it like this. I don’t know if the people are simply not showing it, or they are indeed much calmer. I was surprised how easy they take things and wouldn’t get annoyed about small things. For example, I can almost never hear someone using their car horn at another person, no matter if they forgot to drive when it’s green or the car turned off in the middle of the road. People would calmly wait in a long que and services here are a bit slow – just because they don’t rush and get stressed. I am glad I took some of this calmness as it makes my life much more positive and without unnecessary stress for small and absurd things. I love seeing a random person on a bike smile at me – it can make my whole day, or the bus driver who will always greet politely – all these things just contribute to a very calm, relaxed and positive vibe, which after some years in Denmark, you start getting as well.
I have changed my perspective of life very much since I came to Denmark. It is a very different culture and It has changed me a lot. I have a totally different vision about the future and about what is important or not. I would pay attention to absolutely different things before and I would miss the big picture. Now I look at life and the future in a much more open minded way and way more ambitious and positive. I have different goals, dreams and ways to reach them. I have surrounded myself with some great people, which are contributing to how I see the world and the important things in it. My values have also changed a lot and I think only in a positive way. Experiencing so much in 5 years make you grow and find new passions, hobbies and interests which contribute to change of personality. I am satisfied of how it has gone so far and I will do my best to continue developing myself and fighting for my dreams.
I can continue this list forever, but I have to stop writing at some point. I tried to point out the most crucial things from my living abroad for 5 years and how it changed me and what it taught me. I am so thankful for living here and I can for sure call it my second home. I miss my family and friends in Bulgaria, but I feel so lucky to have found great friends here as well. I met the love of my life here and his beautiful family, who treats me so well and are supporting me in everything. I can’t explain how much I love this country and even though it could be really hard sometimes (but isn’t it hard everywhere), I love living here and I am thankful for everything.
I hope you guys enjoyed this quite long post and some of you can may be relate. I would love to hear some of your thoughts about living abroad and how it changes us. Have a lovely week!
Much love <3