Moving to a new place can be daunting no matter where you are going — a different country, state, or city. I moved to Brussels, Belgium, a week ago and it has been one of the scariest things I’ve done. I’d visited Brussels a couple times in the past and it never seemed like an incredibly safe city to me, but I was accepted to university here and now it’s my home for the next 3 years.
I flew in to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, because I had left some bags in the Netherlands after my few months as an au pair there. Almost immediately after I arrived, my to-do list felt overwhelming, but luckily my boyfriend is a lovely support and kept my head from falling off. The morning after I arrived was hectic, visiting my au pair family, getting bags, and giving little gifts to my au pair kids. We ended up leaving for my new place in Brussels an hour later than we had originally intended.
Moving in was not that stressful, but the paperwork required afterwards was. I felt like I had to do everything at once. Moving to Brussels as a non-EU student meant that I had to register with my commune, enroll in my school, register for class, make a new bank account, find a part time job, get a student transportation card, and get new health insurance as soon as possible on top of figuring out public transportation, making new friends, and getting to know the city and campus. I felt like I had to do that all my first day here. Talk about overwhelming myself!
After writing everything down and talking to some other students, it became clear that I really did not need to stress as much as I was and that all the other international students had the same problems and tasks as I did. Knowing that everyone was in the same or a similar boat was really calming.
I’ve been in Brussels, Belgium for a week now, I’ve almost finished jumping through all those bureaucratic hoops, and my classes will start next week. If there’s anything I’ve learned from traveling and living abroad, it’s that taking risks and going to new places, even if it’s scary, is worth it. Have you had any nerve wracking or scary moving experiences or have you learned anything important or interesting from moving? Let me know in the comments!