#1 – Knowledge!
I wish I knew a lot more about the country, the culture and the costums of where I was going to live. I little bit of research wouldn’t hurt and it would make my life a lot easier and prepared for the first weeks of adaptation.
Read, search, talk to people that have already visited or lived in the country to get some good tips.
Get as much info as you can about the country, the city, the team etc.
For example, I took me a while to find out (too late) that raising your eye brows means NO in Greece, that your taxi will stop at any time in the middle of your run and you will have to share the fare with your fellow passengers, and that they have a siesta time every day and it varies on different days of the week.
Learn a little bit of the language. Just making the effort will make people more sympathetic to you.
You will not have the same facilities, support system like you are used to have at any college in the US. Some lucky people will, but rarely. As a foreign player you are expected to perform like a monster every single day. You are replaceable.
If you don’t take care of yourself nobody else will. Learn to say no and enough it is also part of your professional life.
#2 – You going to have lots of free time. Enjoy it wisely!
Playing overseas is very different than playing college. You don’t have to go to classes or study for tests. You will mostly practice once a day and play once a week save for some more demanding teams and leagues. Bottom line is that you going to have lots of free time. Make sure you organize well and save time to enjoy the surroundings and the life style overseas. Travel, go to the public markets, get a coffee downtown and feel the vibe of the night life. Treat yourself with some local food, visit world famous monuments and sites. Do things that you can’t or wouldn’t do back home. You are going to regret a lot later if you spent all your free weekends playing video games at home.
#3 – You can learn faster than you think and be minimalist beyond your thoughts
A lot of people freak out with the fact that they going to be living on a total different country with a total different lifestyle culture and environment they are used to. Take advantage of that. Be open to changes. Keep a good state of mind. Carpe Diem.
You going to adapt faster than you think.
And you will see that you don’t need a lot of things to function or even to be happy (ok, maybe peanut butter). Your first year’s bag will be huge full of things you will never use. And it will get smaller with the time and experience acquired over the years. You will see that you are going to value a lot more all the pictures you took, the places you went, and the friends you made.
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