“Who do you think you are?” is not only the book title of the Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro, but also a frequent question I ask myself – by all means – with no negative connotation, but like an honest question. How can we answer it?
When living in your home country, your city, your neighborhood, you are able to be yourself, to get to know yourself and show who you really are – but to be honest – you are not just that.
You are not just yourself, you are your family, your background, your past and the past of your siblings. You will always be the offspring and the sibling of someone, you could still be that someone who did something wrong once or ridiculous at 15 years old.
Despite the way you grew up, you are a different person now.
Sometimes I felt like I was the page of a book written for me by someone else when I was not even born. The lives of our family members can have a big impact on ours, as a matter of fact, I always had the feeling that people who have known me for ever, are not able to see me in a different light than the one they want to perceive, no matter what.
The shadow of your roots can be heavy, grey or shining bright, but it is still a shadow that filters your true colours.
Don’t get me wrong, we always have to be proud of our roots and never forget where we come from. But having the chance of discovering and showing yourself as who you really are is scaring and exciting at the same time and it’s an unmissable opportunity.
Going abroad easily gives you this chance.
When you move somewhere else, you travel to another country and meet new people you have to be ready for a fresh start!
People have no idea of who you are and will have tons of questions for you.
It is exciting and it’s a good way to get to know yourself much better. Talking about your life, your past, your dreams and yourself in general to new friends, will improve your self-awareness and give you a better understanding of your feelings. If you have the chance to go abroad to study, to work or just to volunteer, say YES.
I never met a person who regretted a life experience abroad.
Self-discovery is an endless path, but getting out of your comfort zone is a good start.
As they say, change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.
I lived in China for 5 years and I have been living in London for the past 4 during which I have been working as Career Consultant. I love travelling and discovering new places. I am the Director of Ni-Cons Career Consulting and the Co-founder of Round the Corner.