10 Lessons I Learned Overseas

It’s not really my first time to work abroad as I used to be an OFW in Saudi Arabia, but–I was there with my parents (like I said, mama and  papa’s girl). So it was my first time to live alone in a foreign country.

Luckily, I did know someone in Malaysia… and that acquaintance took me under his wings for a few days before passing me over to another friend working in KL too. Needless to say, that’s when I started learning A LOT of things that I didn’t get to learn while I was living under my parents’ roof.


1. The importance of getting along with other people

You actually have no choice, when you’ve got no one to turn to and all you have is one or two acquaintances then you have to learn how to conform with other people. The “primadonna” attitude has to go because if you can’t get along with the people you’ll be living with or who’ll be helping you then you’re on your own.

2. Get rid of your sloppiness and be tidy

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I was used to my mom (and our maid) cleaning up after me. Boy was it tough when I went abroad, I had to learn the hard way. This goes hand in hand with number one as the person you’ll be living with could be OC or neat freaks. If you don’t get your act together they’ll kick you out for sure (I know, ‘coz that happened to me hehe).

3. Budget

Back in PH I was all about going out and wasting money… and again mama was there to do the budgetting and I have no rent to think about. But when I got here, I had to learn how to budget everything on my own (the bills, grocery, rent, etc.). I had to make sacrifices too. It was tough to give up some luxuries that I was enjoying before, nevertheless I am proud as I am now able to know how to handle my finances well.

4. Save money

Don’t be a one day millionaire. The thing is when you’re overseas you have no one to turn to (unless you have a relative there or a rich sugar mommy or sugar daddy lol), so being able to keep a little sum of money for emergency is a must! And if you’re smart enough then maybe add a little more to your savings for future vacation plans (end goal in mind baby!).

5. Sacrifice

I remembered my first few months here in Malaysia. I only have a fewpocket money to help me get by for a month. I had to give up my vices (beer and cigarettes here are expensive). Whenever I do my groceries I had to give up some things, like cereals and chocolates, to make way for the important ones. I also had to sacrifice night life and shopping until I was stable enough financially. It was hard at first, but it has to be done. I remembered crying when I computed my first budget, it was not enough, since I am paying off some debts here and back home, plus I was still settling in! And that is how I learned to be creative in my finances.

6. Resourcefulness

Since the first few months are tough, it’s essential to be resourceful to be able to save money but still be able to buy or get what you need. For example, if you want to watch movies instead of going to the cinema, why not watch it via movie streaming (or… ehem… torrent *cough*). If you don’t have enough clothes, mix and match whatever outfits you have so you won’t be repeating your look everyday. You could also learn some lifehacks.

7. Cook

Because buying take outs all the time will finish your budget fast. Best way to save is either chip in budget for food with your housemates or learn how to cook. I did not know how to cook when I got in Malaysia, but now thanks to youtube and recipe websites I now know how to make decent meals. Remember, you’re on your own, nobody’s gonna cook for you (unless, you have a very diligent housemate who loves to cook and is willing to share with you).

8. Not to trust easily

When you come to a new place and live with people you haven’t lived with before, be wary and not to be too trusting. Let’s face it, there will be people who’ll prey upon your innocence. There will be some who will take advantage of the fact that you’re a newbie. I fell to that once, I was duped to pay RM 250 for a few days stay in a lousy apartment (at first I was told I can stay for free). They also promised they’ll share a condo unit with me just to be told a few days later I need to get out of the apartment ASAP. Thankfully, there were compassionate people who took me in. But again, because I was too trusting I almost ended up sleeping in the streets.

9. Learn to make decisions on your own… be independent

What does it mean to be independent? It means not relying too much on someone… it means surviving on your own… it means letting go of your immature ways and be self-sufficient. I can’t say I have fully matured hahaha but I think I did… a bit… can can (pwede na) hahaha.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Once you start a new life abroad, it’s all you most of the time. You have to learn to rely on yourself. However, there will be times that you’ll be needing to lean on someone… a person you can trust. Be it your boss or a empathetic person who understands what you’re going through.

I was struggling when I went here, I needed money to pay for 2 months deposit and one month advance for a decent place to stay in. But I had no money yet, I haven’t even gotten my first paycheck. So I summed up all my courage and went to ask my boss for help, who graciously assisted me to get financial aid. And when I was about to be kicked out of the lousy apartment I temporarily stayed in, I asked help from a fellow OFW to find me a temporary shelter. Immediately he offered to lend me a room for a few weeks until I find a room to rent.

As I look back, I am thankful that I had to experience all those turmoil. I do not regret moving here in KL. I learned a lot. I felt like I gained XP (experience points) and leveled up! I have now moved up to the next mission…

(Okay fine not so much yet but I’m getting there hehe)



NOTE: I would like to specially thank my boss, KEITH LONG, for helping get by during my first few months abroad. Who readily offered to assist me whenever I needed assistance. All your aid are greatly appreciated boss!

And to KALOY… that one person who never left me since I arrived here in Malaysia, who was always there for me when I needed someone, the only person who never gave up on me (and did not kick me out lol)… THANK YOU and I love you. 🙂


About Reia Ayunan 225 Articles
Reia Ayunan is a Filipino blogger, cosplayer, gamer and foodie. She loves to travel, read books, listen to music, play videogames, watch movies, try out new cuisines and sing. She is currently trying her hands on culinary art. For Advertorial, Sponsorships and Reviews Contact: [email protected]
  • salil

    its hard nd hurting to cut our luxuries. but its just a small sacrifices of life,,,, interesting to know abt you and ur strugges whom u passed smoothly 🙂

    • Awww thanks for your message salil and thanks for reading 😀

  • saher_allel_50

    wow nice share dear ..

  • lion-hairt22

    wow very Beautiful … have a nice time sister (hshape)