Anelis moved to Glasgow from Romania to study at the University of Strathclyde. She graduated with an honours degree in marketing in 2015 and now works in the marketing department at Cigna Global IPMI.
This is her expat story.
Tell us about your expat move.
My expat journey started over 8 years ago, I decided to study abroad but did not know for sure what or where, so I started my research (a recurring theme throughout my expat journey).
I decided to go for Scotland, where I would benefit from free tuition as an EU student and picked Glasgow for its vibrancy and social scene. I set my heart on a Finance and Entrepreneurship course at the University of Strathclyde.
My first day in Glasgow by myself was the 17th of September 2011 and I still remember it quite clearly, like it was yesterday, how my parents dropped me off, hugged me and then left.
Were there any immediate cultural differences that you found difficult?
By far the two most prominent differences for me were diet and socializing. Especially with socialising, I found it was completely different to what I was used to. In Romania, there is a lot of emphasis on communicating on a personal level.
I found that people here tend to have different social layers: family, friends, acquaintances and work colleagues (not necessarily in this order) and there is a lot of emphasis on small talk and ‘banter’, which I did try to improve on over the past few years and I think I’m giving it a fair shot!
Food and your diet are almost like a bridge between home and away. This is something I didn’t take into consideration when I was doing my research and it was a difficult factor for me to get accustomed to. Although it was difficult in the beginning, nowadays I take a lot of pride in my cooking and really enjoy doing it.
What did you find were the best ways of making friends as an expat abroad?
The main way I met new people here was at university, where I met my partner and best friends. Glaswegians and Scottish people in general, are very warm and friendly as well, so going out is also a great way to interact with locals as well as other expats.
What would be the biggest piece of advice you would give to expat students?
Try and learn as much as you can about the country and its culture to get an overview and plan for your lifestyle as an expat, this could be your health, diet, finances and other technicalities. Make sure you put your personal wellbeing first so you can fully enjoy the journey!
What have been some of the biggest highlights from your expat journey so far?
Graduating from university definitely takes the first spot here. I studied for four years, away from home, away from my family and friends and in a different language but I still managed to achieve my goal and perform highly.
I met my partner here, a local- Andrew, who made me want to stay and live here even more! Now, I feel more of an insider and at home.
So far, my whole ride as an expat is filled with wonderful memories and experiences, as well as challenges, but however demanding things felt at some point, now I enjoy the rewards which inspire me to make the most out of my journey.
Finally, how would you describe your expat journey in 10 words or less?
Personal, professional and intellectual growth outside of my comfort zone.
Expat students often opt for private healthcare and it’s important to have this arranged before moving country.
At Cigna Global, we provide plans that are specifically designed for expats just like you, ensuring that you have access to a range of different options, and 24/7 support where and when you need it.
You can also rely on our many years of experience in looking after the health and well-being of our customers.
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