Remember that day when you took the leap and left Cuba? It’s a precious memory that probably popped up in your mind many times after that day. It gave you strength to move on when things weren’t going your way, it gave you comfort when missing your loved ones, it gave you courage to actually try and live up to your potential. Even if you weren’t the one who left, but one of your parents, we’re sure you heard that story many times. And although your new life is a living proof that moving abroad was the best decision, there were times when you thought: “Oh, man, if only I knew that…” This is what we put together a list of those things every expats wishes they knew before leaving their home country.

It’s ok to ask questions sometimes why you did that

Yes, you moved abroad and you get to discover new places, new things about the culture of the country you moved to, maybe even new things about yourself. But there will be times when you’ll miss your friends and family and the familiarity of your home life. You will question why you decided to make this crazy decision. You’ll wonder how you ended up here and what you’re really doing with your life?!?! But then, you will have moments of complete clarity and bliss that will make all the chaos worth the struggle.

Getting used to different cultural norms takes patience and time

Don’t be too afraid of sticking out like a sore thumb — at least at first. You’ll make mistakes, of course, but as long as you exercise common courtesy, read up on the country’s etiquette norms, and move abroad with a sense of curiosity and eagerness to learn, you should be fine!

Same valuable assets (patience and time) needed for friends too

Remember that “Will you be my friend” type of conversation you had in kindergarten? Or school? Oh, well, that won’t happen when you move abroad. But in time, people find other people they resonate with, who may share the same story or not, but who will definitely see you as a partner to build new stories with.

Great job with the new friends, but don’t forget about the old ones

First of all, make time to chat with friends and family. And if you feel you don’t have control over how quickly days go by, schedule time for these chats. There are plenty of ways to stay in touch, with, Facetime, Whatsapp and a whole lot more… So there’s no way that you’d drift apart from anyone, right?

People want to help

Anyone who has moved knows the sometimes overwhelming stream of details that need attention. Turning on utilities, getting Internet service, buying appliances, furniture, lighting, and everything else takes time and money. While there is a lot to be done, it is a lot less stressful when there are people who want to help you get through it.