The Defining Moment

May 17, 2017

The Defining Moment #thirdculturekid

 

I've never been the very independent type. At age 20, this notion really hit me when I was in the airport about to board for Switzerland and realized for the first time in my life I was going abroad totally on my own!

 

Being born and raised in Brazil I had never lived anywhere else rather than my hometown, which besides big is extremely isolated with no foreigners to be found.

 

It's never easy going to a place you've never been before and so far away from home, but it can also be a great opportunity for personal growth and that's why I chose a country that I knew would force me to interact with locals as well as people from other nations.

 

Brazilians are known for creating their own communities and stick together all the time when abroad, and this is exactly what I was trying to avoid and this became the best decision I could've made!

 

Arriving in a country that doesn't speak your native language is rather tough, even tougher when you speak the local language very poorly… It was a surprise for me, who studied German for two years that Swiss people speak a dialect that in nothing resembles what my poor self-perceived as German, however, I was extremely lucky to find out English was more than enough for me during my entire exchange program in Basel.

 

I was positively surprised of how positive and good my experience was, I adapted way better than I initially thought and managed to make friends with people from all corners of the earth.

 

After some time, I've started to notice that I already felt a bit Swiss, by incorporating some aspects of their behaviour like being always on time (extremely difficult for a Brazilian), by having dinner sooner that I was used to back in my hometown and also by using other means of transportation, like cycling, which I never did before!

 

The happiness sense of belong I felt there was gigantic, so much that after I returned to Brazil I felt that that wasn't`t my only home anymore…

 

This was a defining moment for me and helped to adapt when I moved to London in 2016 and realised how much easier everything was and how wherever I go I can define it as “home”.

 

By Mauricio

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