10 Things I Learned in New York | Living Abroad

Although it’s been a while since I moved back to Europe after some great months in New York, I realized I never wrote about the lessons I learned there – and believe me, there were quite some. Not only at work, but also (and maybe especially) about myself. So I decided that it’s time to catch up and finally get that blogpost typed out. Here we go: 10 things I learned in New York!

1. I really prefer living in a city. Although I grew up on the countryside and really can enjoy those little things like taking long walks in nature with no sound except some birds chirping, I am more of a city person. I don’t mind the noise, the people or whatever else you might find annoying in big cities. On the contrary, I even enjoy all of that! And I just love all those opportunities.

2. Go with the flow – especially during rush hour. Because as soon as you stop, somebody might bump into you or get really annoyed. Took me a few days to figure out, but as soon as I knew how to make use of green lights and gaps between people as efficiently as possible, I always got to work pretty quickly. And started to get annoyed by all those people who had no idea whatsoever.

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3. New York is not as impersonal as you expect. Of course, everybody is in a rush and has their own lives. But it is the first place I have ever lived where I got random compliments from strangers commenting my look, hair, shoes…whatever. Yes, it might be superficial, but it always gives your ego a little boost and makes you feel better.

4. How jury duty works. Or at least, kinda. So far, I only read about it or saw it on tv, but I didn’t really know how those people on the jury were selected…these kind of things. Until one colleague got called in and (after she had been to the pre-selection thing and was not chosen to be on the jury) explained how it all went down.

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5. If I can make it there, I’ll make it everywhere. Yeah, I guess that’s kinda true. Competition on good jobs in New York is incredibly high as there are so many talented and motivated people, all striving for the best jobs. It gave me a lot of energy and motivation to grow personally and professionally, and I kinda feel it prepared me for almost every other job market in the world.

6. Be happy about the small things. That’s something I ever did, but in New York, I learned to enjoy those things even more. Because there were so many little moments, when I was walking through the city, looked up and suddenly realized, that I really am living in New York and doing what I had worked for!

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7. (Hardly) Anybody walks all the way to the office in high heels. I guess there are some people who actually do, but one thing I learned was that there are also many who just have a small collection of heels under their desk, ready to wear as soon as they walk into the office with their running shoes in the morning.

8. Some things are exactly as you expect them to be from TV, and some aren’t. Yes, I was sent to get coffee or donuts sometimes, but just as often, I also volunteered to go as I knew everybody else was busy with something important. Also, as soon as I showed that I am motivated and dedicated enough to do more than the daily business, I was given some great chances. And nobody ever treated me like a nobody or forgot my name because I was just somebody small in a big company.

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9. Home is where the heart is! Although friends and family were far away when I was living in New York, I fell in love with the city and felt more at home than anywhere else I had lived in the years before. I think that’s because I have wanted this for so long and went for it with all my heart!

10. Making the right decision does not always mean it feels right from the start. Going back to Europe was one of the hardest choices I ever made – but I knew that getting a job in New York would mean to lose a part of the freedom I have here. Mainly because of way less paid holidays and possibilities to travel. And although it didn’t feel good at all to leave, I now know it was the right thing to do.

Have you ever been to New York?


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