Why you should move out of your country

Moving out of Canada for 7 months taught me 2 main things:

  1. What it feels like to immigrate
  2. Why it’s important to be nice

What it feels like to immigrate

When I first moved to Jakarta, I definitely had fears. I am an adventurous person by nature but going to a country where I had no grasp of the language, no friends, and no local cultural understanding surely has its challenges. I talked about a few of these challenges in my first post on Medium. What I didn’t talk about then is how I kept thinking about what my parents felt when they moved to Canada. Moving to Jakarta was temporary for me. I had a job, a place to stay and a foreseeable end to my stay. My parents immigrated to Canada with almost none of the above and two dumb kids on top of it. Thankfully my parents struggles and hard work payed off and they are at a good place now — but looking back on our beginnings in Canada and where we left off from India, I am amazed by the bravery of my parents and the complete ignorance of my younger self. I had no understanding of the struggles my parents went through during that time. It’s funny how almost 15 years later, I am starting to understand now. For those of you who have not yet had the chance to experience this, let me summarize it for you: you feel scared, lost and dumb. Coming into a culture where I wasn’t sure if my words or actions were offensive, or if my beliefs were acceptable or I would be mocked because of something I accidentally say or do, makes you very apprehensive. Thankfully, the people I encountered were very accepting and guiding during my stay. However, this is not the case all the time. So next time, you encounter someone who is struggling with your language, your culture, or your beliefs and you want to criticize them? Check yourself. You don’t know their story and they don’t know yours.

Why it’s important to be nice

For all of the reasons I mentioned in the paragraph above and more. Niceness is one of the most underrated qualities in our current society. I would consider myself a kind person, but I definitely struggle with being nice. Even with the people I care the most about, I am often crass. For me, being nice is an act of conscious effort and only recently have I come to appreciate the importance of doing so. The essence of this comes down to understanding the “comfort zone”. For the few who have not heard the term before, the comfort zone encompasses all activities, people, locations, cultures, etc. in which you feel comfortable. Meeting new people, travelling to unknown regions, having no friends, not speaking the local language, are all examples of things which commonly put people outside of their comfort zone. Of course this is very unique and everyone’s comfort zone is different — for some people, they would feel right at home with all of the above but would absolutely dread a home cooked dinner with their family. Regardless of what your comfort zone, there are going to be countless times in your lives that you are outside of this comfort zone. Whether you choose to or not. Being nice is so important because of this. If a person outside of their comfort zone is treated with niceness, they will then become comfortable and expand their zone. Someone treated with rudeness will easily run back to the comfort zone they just bravely left. Try to be nice and you could make a difference far beyond what you thought your small actions/words could have.

For those of you who made it this far by reading all of the words above, thank you and congratulations! Hopefully there was something in there that you hadn’t thought of before, or at the very least, it provided some decent leisure reading. For those of you who saw the number of words and just scrolled to the bottom, here’s the TLDR:

1. Immigrating is scary — try it.
2. Be nice. It’s important.

And if those points were cryptic, I suggest you read the paragraphs above :D

For now, that is all. Thank you for reading this post ❤