20 Ways to Make It In A Country You’ve Never Lived In Before


I am a firm believer that no one should have to reinvent the wheel. So here are my top 20 life hacks for wandering the world and how you can get the most out of your international experience. Cheers.

1. Get over yourself

2. Learn ___(Insert National Language Here)____. This is ____(Insert New Country Here)___. Not America.

3. Network. Network. Network. And then… Network some more.

4. Learn how to describe where you live properly so you can negotiate with cabs at 4pm or 4am.

5. Accept that your stomach will hate you for weeks. It’s a great way to jump start that 6-pack you’ve been meaning to get.

6. Practice charades. If you can’t explain it with your words, try with your hands.

7. Say yes to everything… unless it’s a black cab.

8. Make friends with the locals and, if given the chance, accept the opportunity to be a guest in their household.

9. Stop wearing make-up… at least everyday.

10. Backpack. Stay in hostels. Take advantage of the cheap cost of living! Unless you’re in the UK or Europe… which is basically a more expensive version of America with a different national language. Take a boat and try Africa instead.

11. Be loyal to the new friends you make. The ex-pat community is small and lonely, at times.

12. Don’t be a dick.

13. Eat frequently.

14. Practice dating. You will never have to see an international ex again unless you want too. Go crazy with your “needs,” talking about your feelings, etc etc.

15. Explore other religions and practices. Maybe you’ll find something that’s more adjacent to how YOU want to live your life… and not how your grandmother thinks you should live your life.

16. Stay away from hard drugs. If anything happens, you might not know the correct emergency number to contact or where to go.

17. Fall off the grid. Take some time to discover the beauty of privacy (unless you’re a blogger lol). Some how, the Facebook/twitter community will make it without you.

18. Screw Parental Guidance. You’ll never be this young and physically capable of running away from kidnappers ever again. So go on. Jump on the back of that motorcycle. Go to the club with those random strangers you just met. Fall in love with a stranger. Wander around without a map. Jump international borders without calling mommy and daddy first for permission.

19. Let go of your attachment to material things. Travel with a carry-on, max. If you really REALLY need something, you can just buy it when you get there.

20. Work on your face. Kindness and humility are expressed through the eyes. If you can communicate that you’re a good person without words, everyone… regardless of the language or cultural barrier… will fall in love with you.


8 thoughts on “20 Ways to Make It In A Country You’ve Never Lived In Before

  1. Hey! I just found your blog and I LOVE it! I’m thinking about going to China after college (Go Gators!) and I found you.
    Do you mind if I ask you some questions about your experiences? They sound so freaking awesome!
    Do I really need to learn Chinese? Like, can you just wave your arms and shout? Everyone speaks English anyways, right?
    Whats the party scene like on weekdays?
    So whats the minimum to bring? As in cash and belongings?
    Hope to read a new post soon!

    • Hey Lindsey!! yea sure!! Just hit me up on the “contact me” part of my blog and I’ll add you on the facebook ;] I’m just trying to limit who can see my email haha. You never know with the online creepers. Few pieces of immediate advice:

      1) do it
      2) No one speaks english. But that’s okay. Chinese is not as hard to pick up as people think
      3) Pointing is amazing
      4) don’t allow anyone to charge you for connecting you to a program. only go through the program directly. It might cost you upwards of 1500 bucks!!!
      5) the party scene is 24/7. bars/clubs don’t really have a “closing time” the door LITERALLY says “Open from 11-late” lol… on a wednesday.
      6)Bring 2000 yuan in cash (it’s enough for a phone/taxi/and potential hotel… you never know) and then you can take it out of ATMs no problem

      Can’t wait to chat!! I’ll be here for more than a year so I’ll be here to greet you!

  2. “Unless you’re in the UK or Europe… which is basically a more expensive version of America with a different national language.” Unless you’re solely talking about the UK, I don’t think you’ve spent nearly enough time here……..

    • I was reading this as well. Enjoying the blog and then I read that part. It seems not as open minded as one who is living abroad might expect. I would have to agree- this gal should wander over to the UK and check it out. It is much different than America.. much much.

      • Yes. As an American who lived in England for four years, I definitely agree that the UK is very different from America. It seems awfully close-minded to make such a statement. Every country is unique!

    • Apparently moving to China makes your a world traveler! Just saying! Oy. The best to her. Let’s hope she makes something good out of this and doesn’t keep embarrassing herself among the travel world. Wonder what other countries/backpacking advice she has under her belt? I mean, that might be a judgement, but i don’t see anything here. Unbelievable how someone can go viral with (what seems, I might be wrong!) little experience and have people praising and asking for advice! *end rant*

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