What is it like living overseas?

19 Oct 2018

As a Japanese expat living in Switzerland, let me share my experience of moving overseas. Obviously, learning to live in Switzerland to me is more than just eating cheese everyday while missing Sushi, or WOWing the natural beauty of the Alps instead of Mt. Fuji.  

When I first moved here, it was quite frustrating to realize that I couldn’t get my work done without my husband’s help. Simply because I struggled to speak French, it came as a shock to find out that even grocery shopping or accessing the healthcare system could be such a difficult task. I also had to go through some awkward social situations with local people when we noticed that we didn’t speak the same language and there was nobody who could interpret at that moment.

Languages, for most people, are the best way to understand the world and connect with others. But it can be annoying when language barriers emerge like mosquitoes. They might try to bite you and leave you persistently itching. Over time, you get tired of going out of your home with fear of facing surprises. So how can we overcome that?

It is important to learn and improve the local language. I’ve been working towards advancing my French skill by taking intensive language courses every weekday during the morning, reading aloud text books, trying to watch local shows, and trying to communicate with locals, too. Yet, learning a foreign language doesn’t happen overnight.

Here’s a warm reminder: it’s natural to feel confused or anxious when you can’t really find a way to express yourself or understand what is going on around you. Most importantly, you don’t need to fight alone because an expat life is like a marathon. Indeed, considering the use of interpreting services such as Oyraa can lower your stress levels and reduce your problem. Especially when you need to avoid misdiagnosis and mistreatment at the hospital, or when you need to sign consent forms in any situation, this kind of solution can be your lifesaver.

Rina is our contributor at Oyraa. Originally from Tokyo, she used to be an account executive at a tech company but followed her passion for languages after attending conferences in Singapore and the United States. She has since then become a translator and has lived in Honolulu, Dublin and now Lausanne.

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