Being an introvert, especially while abroad, can manifest itself in many ways. It can sometimes feel like a sort of hindrance – something to overcome, to eradicate, to change. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being on this earth for nineteen years, it’s that people cannot, and should not, fundamentally change an integral part of their personality.
Throughout my life, I’ve either pushed myself too far spending all my time in social situations, and been unhappy or completely blocked others out (also making me unhappy). There is a balance though, of interacting with others and spending time by yourself. As a lifelong introvert, I have a few tips and tricks while abroad to help find this balance, so you can feel happy and energized while living in a foreign country.
In short, stepping out of one’s comfort zone is never an easy thing to do, it takes courage, perseverance, and a leap of faith. If you are anything like me, the concept of working and living in a foreign country with strangers for a month and a half was just that – a step outside of comfort into the unknown.
That being said, there is no reason to feel the need to change yourself completely because you feel pressure being in a new environment with new people. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be as small as reading in a shared space and as big as asking others to go somewhere with you. Your experience abroad is dependent on how you feel while doing these activities, not the activities themselves. From one introvert to another, don’t try to change yourself for the sake of a good story.