Come Back Home!

Leaving your country, your friends and your family is not made for everyone. Just like most Lebanese young graduates, I thought leaving everything behind and moving to another country was going to fix everything…except it didn’t.

Two years ago, I decided to move to France and get my Masters in translation. I left, crawled back to Lebanon a year later and realized that the grass isn’t greener elsewhere.

Throughout my stay, I gathered a bunch of tips that might come in handy if you’re ever considering leaving Lebanon. Read closely.

1- You’ll find no place like your homeland

You’ll be constantly thinking about your family, no matter how hard you try to distract yourself.

Don’t try to compare anything to your country because you’ll be left disappointed. The people are not the same, the social standards are not the same, the food is not the same, the culture is not same, well, nothing is… Are you looking for independence? Well take it, and don’t expect anyone to look after you. “Tante Salwa” won’t be there to cook your favourite dish for you, and don’t you dare miss “Aamo Mansour” when you’re having electricity problems in your apartment.

2- You’ll feel homesick most of the time

You’ll reminisce about the most random things, at the most random times.

Expect crying yourself to sleep very often, and if you have FOMO, expect it to worsen while you’re away from your friends and family. I remember the frustration every time my friends used to face-time me partying and enjoying their time while I was 3,190.53 km away, trying to figure out my life. And no, it doesn’t get easier over time.

3- You’ll end up feeling like a robot

Look at this sheep, you’ll basically look like it before you even know it.

I remember very well how sad the course of my life got at some point. I was basically living in a never-ending loop of “subways, university, sleep” and that’s what the French like to call “metro, boulot, dodo”. Say bye-bye to your social life, bye-bye to your weekly outings, and get ready to be your very own companion!

4- You’ll grow old very fast without knowing it

The metamorphosis you go through is real. This is to symbolize your growth and maturation.

The responsibility that comes with living abroad and alone is REAL. I have never in my life, expected to change a lightbulb by myself, nor do my own paper work alone, nor fix the most random home issues by myself. That’s still a tiny part of what I’m actually talking about. The shift you go through from changing countries shapes you into a more mature and responsible person without even wanting it.

5- You’re just a number among others

Pretty self-explanatory…

Picture this: You’re in a new country, no one knows you, and you don’t know anyone either. The PR you spent your life building in your hometown are gone and you’re basically just another “number” trying to forge your path. You’ll have to prove yourself to your new boss, make new friends from scratch, and fit into a completely different lifestyle than what you’re used to. Good luck with that!

This is not intended to make you feel bad about leaving; it’s rather a wakeup call to remind you that being away won’t necessarily fix your issues. Best advice I could give you is try to spend as much time with your friends and family, discover your country even more – even if the overall situation doesn’t really help.

If you’re reading this from the other side of the world, how are you coping with the harrowing nostalgia? What is motivating you to stay? Share your experience below, I’d love to hear your take on this.

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17 réflexions au sujet de « Come Back Home! »

  1. Your words touched our hearts ! Each word written I can feel it . I can feel it because I lived the same experience but for a shorter duration for 6 months ! It was so hard for me to leave everything behind and start a new life there where no one knows me, where culture is different and people are too. However, I can’t ignore that living aboard, make us stronger more independent so we did things we never thought we can do alone. I’ve learned a lot from that experience ! But I hope and pray to stay in Lebanon and find opportunities here to build a better future with happiness. Thank you for your sweet messages !

  2. Coming from someone that didn’t experience it. I would like to stop on “maturing fast without even wanting it”, I believe that a lot of people throw themselves out there without being prepared for what is coming. Truly an eye-opener.

    1. Yes, exactly! That was the case for me. Looking back, I feel like I should’ve given myself the chance to grow in my very own country before throwing myself into the unknown.

  3. Although I recognize that not everyone is suited for living overseas, I disagree with several of the reasons raised, and for me, moving overseas was one of the best decisions I have made thus far.
    Yes I do miss my family and my friends that stayed in Lebanon, occasionally I also get homesick and recall the time my life was simpler, but I also love my new life the new people I met and the person I became abroad.
    I can even say that I made Paris my new home for now, I feel more a stranger in Lebanon than in Paris right now, even though I have my issues as well with the city.
    Furthermore, many people get trapped in routines regardless of where they reside; these routines could be the “metro, university/work/sleep” or “car ride, university/work/sleep” habit. It is up to the individual to figure out how to break free from these habits. I am speaking for myself but I actually think I am “living more” right now.
    No matter where you go in life as well, you’ll have to prove yourself again. You’ll face many challenges in which you’ll have to prove yourself to new people, whether you moved out or still living in your native country. I personally find as well that European are way less judgmental than Lebanese people which is actually something that helps a lot of people to actually be themselves.
    I believe that those who feel compelled to live abroad or who think would be happier abroad, should give it a shot and not be afraid. If they end up unhappy, they can always return home.
    Moving abroad is not for everyone, but the only way to find is to give it a shot 🙂
    Disclaimer: I never experienced the student life abroad I travelled for an internship then a job which made me financially independent from my parents which I’m sure made my life easier.

    1. I’m super happy for you for finding your peace elsewhere! I agree with everything you said, but there’s something about being in your own homeland that feels very comforting. Yes, routine is inevitable, and yes you’ll have to prove yourself wherever you go, but it feels different doing it while having your own people around you. Again, this was my very own experience and I highly appreciate you sharing yours!

  4. This was an eye-opener! Growing up, I had always dreamt of leaving my country, and romanticized living abroad. You sharing your experience made me realize that maybe, after all, I could still cope with living here.

    And reflecting back on this, what is motivating me to stay, is the pain of having to watch my parents glow old through video chats if I choose to live abroad, not being there for my brother’s accomplishments, and missing family gatherings.

    1. Totally agree! This was also one of the main reasons as to why I came back. Nothing hurts more than seeing your parents grow old and not being able to cherish every moment with them. I’m glad you found my article helpful!

  5. I have always looked forward to leaving Lebanon, but I never really thought about the downsides of it… this definitely changed my perspective!

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