Social Life Abroad vs. at Home

July 29, 2011

in friends

I’ve talked enough about homesickness and such lately. In thinking about what I miss, I’ve pondered my social life abroad vs. at home. I can easily tell you the friend comforts I miss from home: unconditional love, the ability to be myself all the time and a shared history.

But I moved to Australia to do something different with my life. I craved new scenery, new experiences, and yes, new people. And in the 18 months (!) I’ve lived here, I’ve embraced a lot of this novelty. I continue to go to new restaurants and bars, meet new people and travel to different places. All of these things have created a social life that differs a lot from the one I had back home.

Friends at a pub.

Sydney pals at an Irish pub.

New Faces, Always

Whether it’s through Travel Massive or a friend of a friend’s party, I constantly meet new people. Sometimes this gets a bit tiring, as small talk drains me, but it certainly keeps things interesting.

Worldlier People

This isn’t a dig at my friends back home. Living in the same place you’ve always lived means you’re going to travel closer to home than if you moved to the other side of the world. The fact remains that people I know in Sydney have been a lot of places. India. Cambodia. Kyrgyzstan. I know of two people who flew to the World Cup in South Africa last year. It’s just a different travel atmosphere.

More “Out” Nights Than “In”

I don’t go out ALL the time, but the weekends here definitely fill up quickly with various outings. It’s rare a whole weekend goes by where I stay in both nights.

Less Talk of Grown-up Stuff

I have two sets of close friends here who are married, one couple has pets, and some of us still own property in the States. Talk of babies and “the future” does come up, but since most people in my circles are still kidless, it means zero-talk of things like breast pumps, prestigious pre-schools and cartoons. In a way, it’s almost like many of us are trying to stay out of this stage for as long as possible.

Patriotism on Steroids

In a controversial post on Brooke’s site, she talked about how Sydney can be quite welcoming to American expats if you look in the right places. I have always been proud to be an American, but you don’t necessarily fully realize the feeling until you’re away from the motherland. And when Yanks get together, we don’t talk about politics orΒ  unemployment rates or all the negative stuffΒ  plaguing our country. We focus on the good and obsess over how we miss “real” pizza.

What do you think of your social life abroad vs. at home?

19 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. Christine

    Totally agree with the last two points! I certainly fall into the “putting-that-stage-off” category–and I don’t have nearly as many friends here who are engaged/married/with kids as I do at home. And I have a love/hate relationship with hanging out with other Americans–as much as I love reminiscing about home, I know how annoying it sounds (they’re here! can’t they just BE here?) to the Australians with us πŸ™‚ Great post.

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Haha, maybe that’s why I still don’t have that many Aussie friends — they can’t stand a pack of Americans together! Thanks for the comment, and I hope you continue to enjoy your social life while you’re here!

      Reply
  2. Lindsay

    My social life is completely different in Sydney than it is back in the States. The biggest difference is that I have a group of close friends at home and don’t usually do “acquaintances” very well. Speaking to your first point, I have had to get used to small talk (which I hate because -like you said- it can be so draining) and as a result, get used to not having a close-knit, go-to group of people. It definitely can be exhausting, but it’s what everyone has to go through when they move. Builds character.

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      I definitely agree that it builds character. I am glad we’re in each other’s circles πŸ™‚

      Reply
  3. Deidre

    I am a totally different person in Australia than i was back in the US. I am outgoing here, I had to force myself to be other wise, I wouldn’t have ended up with any friends at all!

    So happy to find your blog πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      It was a fun night! I dug both the bars we went to. Nothing like a little Irish soda bread with your beer.

      Reply
  4. FB

    Back home, my social life followed a certain pattern, or routine. Here that routine is quite dynamic. It seems that in Sydney, I routinely take advantage of doing new or slightly different things, whereas back home it was quite static. When I moved here, someone shared advice that was along the following lines, “Every time someone asks you to do something that is new for you, there is only answer: Yes.”

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Wow, I like that quote a lot. Unless, of course, it’s an invitation to snort coke off a cheetah and jump off the Harbour Bridge.

      Reply
  5. Heather

    I’m rubbish at small talk and was nervous about my first Travel Massive for that reason O:-) I wasn’t as social in Sydney, going to work, meeting up with one friend at a time when our schedules aligned, and of course there was the occasional big group meet up, but once I knew more people, I felt more comfortable. I guess that mirrors my social life at home pretty closely too (preferring one-on-one interactions). I am probably *more* social at home (meeting up with people more often) — I didn’t realize that til I typed it and it’s kind of surprising πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Interesting, as I thought you were quite social here! Yeah, the meetups can be tough, and even now a year later, if there are new peops at Massive, I can get sort of awkward.

      Reply
  6. Chris

    I think the social life and the ease with which I can make friends is one of the things that draws me most to travel. My two and a half years in Korea were so full of socializing, drinking, and meeting people that it’s been a real struggle to adjust back to this far more slow paced life at home.

    Clearly I just need to hang out with the Travel Massive crew more often :-p

    Reply
    1. Lauren Post author

      Haha, yes, we are quite the social bunch. I imagine it is very hard after being away for a while to get back into a groove. It’s something I think about for when I go back to the U.S.

      Reply
  7. Tony

    I have to agree with you. Pizza is a hot topic of conversation πŸ™‚ No just kidding! Whenever I’ve spent any time anywhere overseas I def feel like I’m out more than in and you sometimes meet pretty worldly people. I also think that over time my own group of friends has developed to have elements of all the great things you find when living overseas which is great. Away from home at home πŸ™‚

    Reply
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