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I love going on adventures…

I really do. Planning trips, hiking, taking random walks, exploring new restaurants, traveling to foreign countries, moving to Arizona and back to Detroit, I love it all. I've been to a few other countries and nearly 25 states, many more than once. You can say that I crave a good adventure. In January of 2014, I decided to follow love and packed all my stuff to embark on an adventure to Montreal, Canada.

 

After graduation, I didn't have concrete plans and was extremely excited to start a new chapter. I had fallen in love with a French-Canadian, Norman (at the time he was a boyfriend, he is currently my fiancé, and will be my future husband) and decided to see where it would take us. I had visited Montreal many times and adored everything about it. The French language was romantic, poutine was my favorite food, and overall the city truly had a unique feel to it. I created a plan. I was going to 1) get certified to teach English as a second-language and 2) find a job so I could stay in Canada. I had six months to accomplish both things and if not I would have to return to the states. I managed to accomplish both in two months, but didn’t think of the final obstacle of obtaining a work permit.

People would give me dirty looks for trying [to speak French] or just speak to me in English.

While I awaited my work permit to stay in Canada, I truly tried to immerse myself into the culture. I had learned simple French and tried practicing… but usually it was a fail. Either people would give me dirty looks for trying or just speak to me in English. It was extremely difficult to practice the little French I knew. I had troubles taking the bus and even shopping for groceries came with its own issues. On more than one occasion, I was yelled at in French for reasons I am not sure of… Even when I hung out with a few of Norman's friends, they often didn't speak to me because English was not their first language. I now look back at my experience and realize that I was scared. I was scared because I felt useless and the language barrier made me feel stagnant in my life.

My day-to-day life was somewhat mundane. I was generally a busy bee with school, work, organizations, and my friends. But being in a completely different country, it was vastly different. I had a lot of free time to watch TV, cook, practice make-up, read, volunteer, and sleep (which I lacked most of during my undergrad program). I met a lot of really awesome friends, but I still had a lot of time during the day. It seemed like my days were spent waiting for my work permit to go through so I could finally start working.

Overall, I spent a little over six months in Canada. At the end of June, I was finally notified from the Canadian government that my work permit did not go through and I would not be able to stay. I was extremely sad because that would mean I had to be long distance with Norman (once again), but I also felt relieved that I finally knew what my next step would be.

Living in Montreal was truly a unique experience that I will never forget (I now miss the relaxation). We traveled to Toronto, Quebec City, Ottawa, and surrounding cities. There were so many amazing memories but also moments that made me realize that I probably wouldn't be able to follow my dreams and build my career in a city where French was the prominent language. I am not sure if it was my fault for not integrating into the culture more, perhaps it was my personality that did not fit and I was not patient enough. I wouldn't say that I didn't like Montreal; I just felt that living there was not for me. I will always enjoy visiting and going back to the places that I have learned to love. I do believe that everything happens for a reason. After Montreal, I decided to move back to Detroit (where I grew up) and pursued other dreams. Since then, Norman has moved to the US and we are getting ready for our next big adventure.

Working abroad? Go for it!

If you are looking into working abroad, I say go for it! It was such an incredible opportunity and I am so grateful for all the memories and friends I made. But I do have a few tips to consider before the move:

  • Check out how long you can stay in that country without a permanent or official status, this is a great opportunity to see if it is really what you want
  • Learn the language (if need be) and don't be close-minded to their culture
  • Be patient (with yourself and your new surroundings)
  • Start applying for jobs or schooling (if that is the route you want to take) as early as possible
  • Don't be afraid to not like it… you do not have to love every place you go, but if you plan on setting your roots down, make sure you love it!

If you ever want to talk to someone about making a big move, please feel free to reach out to me; I am a great listener and I would love to help you on your starting your own adventure!

Erin is a Social Change Activist. A Dreamer. A Beauty Enthusiast. An Adventurer. When she's not busy working, studying, or planning her wedding, she is gearing up for her next adventure.