EVS Diary

On being a foreigner

Especially if you don’t speak the language, because conversation with locals will be harder (and so, getting their tips for the best places in town). So I’m always glad when some opportunities allows me to stay abroad for a longer period of time.

Life as an expatriate (or as an immigrant according to the debate opened by this article on The Guardian) is special. Being far away from home gives you freedom. Indeed, in a place where no one knows you, you can be whoever you want. You have no past here, you have everything to discover. And so, be someone else if you want to !

Well, I am not schizophrenic, so I don’t develop another personality when I’m not in France, but I think I’m a bit different than when I’m in my country. It’s so refreshing to be in a new place. The people are different and they influence you. Just like the culture. When I was in Italy I picked up all those gestures used instead of words in some situations. If I don’t understand something you will see me doing the hand move in the picture.

No matter where I am ! I don’t know what I will pick up from Slovakia but there is one thing I really like here. It’s so easy to meet people ! In a bar or at some parties, you just have to approach someone and say “Hi, I’m Claire, nice to meet you” while shaking hands. In France, it’s not like that, sometimes you can wait a long time before knowing the name of the “unknown” person you’re talking to. It’s not automatic for us to introduce ourselves. It’s pretty strange eh (like Canadians would say).

Not long ago, I read this article from The Atlantic stating that researchers proved scientifically how travelling improves your creativity. And according to Mark Twain, travelling is “fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” Do you need more reasons to travel ?


Claire Billon-Grand

Photo : www.instructables.com

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