Top 10 things that start to happen once you’ve lived overseas for a while

Maybe you’re thinking about going to college overseas, or maybe you’ve been lucky enough to get a global job transfer.

Either way, don’t be surprised when you start noticing one or more of the following things that can happen once you’ve lived overseas for a while.


10) A/C or air-con?

We’re in the middle (actually hopefully toward the end) of a heat wave in California, and this week I’ve been finding myself referring to ‘air-con’ a whole lot—or a lack thereof at my house.

But it wasn’t until an American asked me, “What’s that?” that I remembered the term “A/C” is more commonly used here.

You start to forget which words belong to which places.

9) You miss the food as much as the place

Flat white at Tenth State

The two countries where I spent the longest amount of time were Australia and Brazil. I miss a lot of things about Australia, but I specifically miss flat white coffees from the Tenth State coffee shop in Perth, close to The University of Western Australia, where I used to work.


In Brazil, I miss the fried, chicken-filled pastries called coxinhas, but even more, I miss the shrimp gnocchi at Bar do Victor in Curitiba, which was within walking distance of my apartment there.

I’m willing to bet I’m not the only one who would travel back to a certain place just for a particular meal.

8) You stop using iMessage

Seriously, get with the program, People of the USA. WhatsApp is thousands of times better (especially when it comes to groups and replying to a specific message)—and way more global.

And seriously, WhatsApp Developers, get with the program—WeChat puts even you to shame.

Nevertheless, iMessage is for communication amateurs.

7) Your circle of friends starts to look like the United Nations

Truly. My closest friends are from the U.S., Australia, UK and Brazil, and I’m not even mad about it. Sure, we maybe see each other once a year—or perhaps even less in Covid times, but they’re always ‘there’ whenever I need.

6) You get good at mental math

That, or a time zone converter app becomes your best mate. This is due in part to #7; I find myself constantly trying to figure out how many hours people are ahead of or behind California time.

Having meetings with university reps from across the globe makes it even more important to get it right; the last thing I’d want to do is set up a meeting with someone in the middle of their night.

5) It’s on the tip of my tongue…

If you’ve lived in a place that speaks a different language, you may find that you start to forget words in English. Whilst in Brazil, there were times when I could only think of the word I wanted to say in Portuguese—which really annoyed me.

But then I started to think, well, this is a good thing, right? I must be becoming proficient. Now, I just think my brain has a limited capacity of words, and for every new word learned in Portuguese, an old, underutilized word in English died out…

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