It's been 5 months since I left my loft apartment in Groningen and moved to the United States to start a new life there. 5 freaking months. If I look back at these 5 months, I feel like they have flown by. However, a lot has happened in this period of time, so I guess it makes sense that so much time has already passed. Although I have been sharing my life in Washington DC almost every week on Youtube in my DC Diaries, I haven't really written any blogpost about it. What's it like, packing up all your things and moving to a different continent without knowing anyone? Now that I have done it, I can honestly say that it is completely different than I had expected...
WHY I MOVED TO DC
Let me start by saying that moving abroad was not something I always wanted. For a long time, I didn't really feel the urge to move abroad. Not because I loved the Netherlands that much, but because I was extremely sceptical about all the "yes omg studying abroad changes your life" kind of bullsh*t. So many people I spoke told me I should move abroad, which made me not want to do it at all. Reverse psychology I guess. I just don't like to be told what I should do or not do. However, after everything that happened past year, I realized that I needed a fresh start. I actually felt the same after high school, hence me moving to Groningen, 3 hours away from where I lived before.
Although I liked my life in Groningen, I felt like I had outgrown it. It was time to start over. I moved to Washington D.C. to study abroad for one semester at the George Washington University Law School. I guess that was the "official" reason. Or the opportunity I used to get away. I wanted to move, because I felt like I didn't belong in the Netherlands. Business wise, I also thought it would be a good idea to move to the US, blogging and making videos in English for 3 years now.
MY EXPERIENCE MOVING ABROAD
Now that I have lived 5 months in DC, I can safely say that it is an amazing city. I originally fell in love with NYC and not DC, but I have to confess: I just didn't discover the right parts of DC yet. Georgetown, Dupont Circle and CityCenter DC are some of my most favorite areas (but I know that there is so much more to discover). I would describe DC as the more toned down, less touristy version of NYC mixed with Paris. Definitely a must visit.
When it comes to studying law here: It is challenging. I feel like this whole semester was a struggle and I cannot wait to be done with it (still have one paper to go...). It is very time consuming, and the different language + jargon, the competitiveness of the other students, and the grading on a curve makes it even harder. It's far from easy. However, I did really enjoy all my courses and I feel like I have learned a lot - and I love that feeling.
One of the most asked questions I received was: "But don't you miss your friends and family?" Well, yes and no. Of course, I do miss them, but I have always been a very independent person. A lone wolf. I'm not going to stop myself from doing something, just because my friends and family aren't there. With that being said, most of my family lives in Russia, so I'm quite used to seeing them only once or twice a year. Of course, it does get lonely sometimes, especially with the culture in the US being so different when it comes to hanging out. Most people here do not care that much about their social life, and are too busy to grab coffee or have dinner. Not gonna lie, I really had to adapt to that. However, now I feel like I have learned to be comfortable by my own, which is honestly one of the things I really needed this year.
Furthermore, when it comes to friends: I strongly believe that friendships are bound by time. What I mean by that, is that friendship is not something that lasts forever. Friendship is something that has to be measured in the moment, because just like everything in life, friends and friendships change. This does not make the friendship any less "real" or "good", it just means that a friendship isn't there forever, like everything in life. Thinking like this made it easier for me to accept the finity of friendship, while also making me more perceptive of possible new friends. I have met some amazing souls from all over the world here. I learned so much from their culture and views. It made me realize how small the Netherlands is, and how much more there is to this beautiful planet.
After a couple of weeks, I realized that I wanted to build a life here in DC for myself. I moved to a different apartment that wasn't furnished, styled it the way I wanted, and got accepted for another semester at GWU. I found a publicist for my Youtube channel, social media and blog that's helping me with my presence in the US social media scene, and I've worked with many talented photographers and videographers already. I knew that I needed more time here, and I feel like that's why I had this opportunity to stay longer. Law of attraction, like always.
"One of the most asked questions I received was: "But don't you miss your friends and family?" Well, yes and no. Of course, I do miss them, but I have always been a very independent person. A lone wolf. I'm not going to stop myself from doing something, just because my friends and family aren't there."
AM I GOING TO STAY HERE?
It's a weird feeling, making a new home in an unfamilar place. However, I do not regret it for a bit. I feel like I have learned so much from this experience already, and I can't wait to learn even more. To be honest, I would gladly stay in DC forever - or at least not move back to the Netherlands. Nothing is keeping me there. However, the struggle with getting a visa or green card is real, so I'll have to see how that plays out. I am at least very happy to be accepted for the full General LL.M. at GWU, so I can stay another semester. Today I am travelling back home to the Netherlands. I haven't been in Groningen for almost half a year, and I am nervous, excited and curious how it's going to be. I am curious to find out if DC has replaced Groningen as my home for real...
HAVE YOU EVER MOVED ABROAD?
Want to follow my journey in DC in more details? Check out my DC Diaries playlist here!
P.S. Merry Christmas.
Wonderful post sweetie xx
Moving overseas to Dubai from England was difficult but so worth it!!! The life experience and challenges, make us expats so strong and resilient
You have captured this perfectly
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Ah I can imagine Hayley. Hope you’re doing fine <3
You really made me think about the little part about friendship.
I was speechless.
Your comment made my day <3
I’ve been living in Cyprus for 10 years and I feel like it’s time to move back to my home country. Like you said, I feel like I’ve outgrown this place. I wish you good luck and follow your heart.
Thank you so much, and good luck to you <3
I really loved this post, and I love the way you use words to touch our hearts. I kind of felt the same when I first moved to France, I was a little girl but it was hard for me to accept this change and now I consider France as my 2nd country!
Reading this post made me realize that going to study abroad isn’t that easy. At the university where I study, we have the possibility to do an Erasmus exchange in another uni of Europe (whether it is in the UK or in a Spanish speaking country because I study Applied languages). I have to plan out everything if I want to move to another country, but you show us that everything is possible with motivation.
Thank you, lots of love x
I wish you all the best Tasnim <3
Beautiful post, Lily!
I moved from the UK to Melbourne, Australia with my family just before I turned 12 and even though I was only there for around 2 years, I definitely think of it as ‘home’ in one sense. I consider my formative years to have been spent in Melbourne, so my personality and mindset were really influenced by my time there.
It’s so inspiring to see you settling into DC and making a fruitful life for yourself there.
Wishing you all the best, and Merry Christmas! x
Thank you so much! I can imagine that has been quite the journey! <3
I‘ve moved to Australia from Germany to work for 1year when i was 18. I absolutely loved it and felt like I‘ve outgrown my homecountry. I then moved to London to study law- I am now in my second year of my LLB. However, now, that I haven‘t lived in germany for 3years I have massively started appreciating it and cannot wait to move back after my LLB (and do the German law degree there). I think at some point in your life you need to have lived abroad, outside your comfort zone to either realise that this is where you are meant to be-or, like me, to realise where your roots are and to start appreciating your home. Generally, I just feel like living abroad shows you who you are and what you want from live.
Enjoy your time in DC!
P.S: I can totally relate to the difficulty of studying in a foreign language. Don‘t forget (like I did or still do at times) that doing a LAW degree in a foreign language is extremely brave! We go, girl ☺️ X
Aww this is so sweet, thank you Stella! <3
I moved to the US from Ukraine when I was 8 with my mom:) My mom was 28 then, almost my age (25). I truly can’t imagine moving to another country right now. Mostly because I have calculated all the things I would give up and have to take up and how much money it costs etc…so hats off to you, you’re one tough cookie:) its the immigrants that go through the most that are not afraid to work hard that make some of the largest contributions in our societies:)
Thank you Julia <3
Ik ben nog nooit verhuisd naar het buitenland. Ik denk dat het niets voor mij is om naar het buitenland te verhuizen omdat ik veel te erg gehecht ben aan het Nederlandse eten en de Nederlandse manier van leven.
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Ieder z’n ding! xo
Beautiful post Lily, your words moved me xo
Born and raised in Hong Kong, studying in the UK is definitely a drastic change to a kid. I found it really difficult at first because of the language barrier and homesick. But now I am in love with the country and its culture, I am still enjoying exploring new things everyday!! Even though obstacle sometimes still exists, it is also the reason why I love staying in a foreign soil — expats blossom on it!!!
Enjoy your time in DC and good luck xx
Thank you so much for sharing your story. <3
Ik vind het prachtig hoe je achter je doelen aangaat! Je geeft me motivatie om mijn dromen waar te maken. En je DC Diaries zijn elke keer weer tof om naar te kijken!
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Aww zo lief Yara, dankjewel en heel veel succes <3