Moving to a different country alone isn’t for everyone. It’s a challenge and can be intense. An experience that will bring the best out of you and the worst out of you. I came to America 3 years ago and I haven’t looked backed since. I am so happy to be in this country where there are endless opportunities. I want to take advantage of that so I can grow and be the best version I can be.

Moving abroad was tough for me. My parents had no clue on how to emotionally support me, so you can imagine how lost, sad and confused I was when I landed in America. The first couple of months was rough. I was homesick, I hated the food and I had zero friends.

I felt really lonely and I didn’t know who I could talk to.

Talking to my parents was not the first option, so I made some new friends. I started social smoking to cope with my own pain of loneliness. I was angry and resented my parents for not letting me study in Europe. After I dropped out of Sarah Lawerence college and accepted the fact that my college path was going to be very different from that point on, I started to take action. I knew the type of woman I wanted to become and I didn’t want to give up on higher education so I enrolled myself to De Anza community college to get back on track. And now I’m at LMU LA! It was a rough start but eventually I got to a place where I feel safe and happy. Even if this is not Europe for now I still feel like I’ve made good progress and found a place where I can call home.

I am living alone now after three years of living with relatives, room mates and just moving all around. After signing my lease I was squealing with delight 🙂  I finally had my own place! I was dreaming of this for a long time. I made a wishlist of all the furniture and kitchen items I wanted and saved up my money to buy the items when I moved in. I’m really into kitchen couture at the moment like: Le Creuset, Mauviel cookware and Wusthof knives. I love to cook! So investing in high quality items that last long to me is a great investment.

Here are some of my thoughts on living alone in a foreign country:

Living alone doesn’t mean you’re going to be ok being alone.

My god the first week of moving in, I was so alone. It was exciting, I felt cool, I felt like a grown up. But at night it was hard for me to fall asleep. When I just moved in, I only had boxes, luggages and two blankets. I slept on the floor the first few weeks until I discovered Amazon furniture. Amen! 🙂 So I already felt empty inside and going into an empty apartment made me feel even more lonely.

Just the feeling of waking up the next day and not knowing anyone yet was overwhelming. I started learning the different names of the highway and the roads to familiarize myself and it was all so foreign to me. I felt scared. But after a few months I put myself out there. I joined a gym, I did a flash mob dance at the  Santa Monica Pier, did a class at Millennium Dance Complex a week before to train for the event, I joined a weekly walking/jogging group with seniors and their adorable dogs and that was the beginning of everything. I made myself get out of the house so I could meet people. I’m so happy I did.

Looking after your own safety and more responsibilities.

Living alone as a woman in her 20s in a big city can be fun but also dangerous if I am not careful. I set my own curfew at night and I don’t leave my room after a certain time. I don’t care if it’s a cool party or club meetings I just do not want to be out when the sun is down. I am responsible for my own safety so I plan my classes in the morning. Living alone also means more responsibility. I have to make sure the fridge, the bathroom, the sink, laundry machine is functioning so I can use it. Cleaning up after I cook, folding laundry, doing more things than I’m used to, leaves me exhausted so I’m unable to do other things. That’s why I value my time so much. I hate wasted time.

Bills, bills, bills.

I hate seeing the bill each month. Not just one bill but many bills. Utilities, electricity and rent. Not that I shop till’ I drop (liked I used to in the past) but living alone equals a larger sum of money because you’re not splitting the cost with anyone. It’s frustrating because sometimes I feel like I can never get a break, but this is part of transitioning into adulthood.

Heavy objects; plan for it.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’ve only got two hands. Some days when I have too much groceries or the package is too heavy I ask for help. My room is on the top floor.  Sometimes making three trips down the elevator to your car to grab stuff to your apartment isn’t worth it. Ask your nice neighbor 🙂 Or buy a foldable cart. 

Homesickness and loneliness is always lurking around the corner somewhere.

On weekends, on weeknights or sometimes in the middle of the day when I’m at school, I feel lonely. I think this is part of moving to a new country. I spent my entire life in Vietnam so being in America this is all new to me. I have a good day at school and then suddenly being homesick just kicks in. It’s weird I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like one moment I’m thinking about what assignments I can conquer before the weekend and then I’m thinking about my grandma, the good times in Vietnam and then suddenly I miss home and my family and the GOOD FOOD. It takes time to get acquainted to new surroundings, I also made a new step to recover and recently decided to do therapy to help me deal with my transition to America.

Being stuck in your room with your iPhone all day can be normal, if you let it be.

It is so easy and tempting to go on your iPhone to check Facebook/Instagram the minute you wake up or before you go to bed. The first few weeks when I just moved in and had zero friends that’s exactly what I did. I would scroll until I was tired enough to stop. I didn’t have any friends yet so I thought going on social media would make me feel less of a loner. Except it made me jealous and I started comparing myself to others. I know this is a bad habit and something I’m improving, but sometimes I can’t help it but compare myself to others. I spent my high school days daydreaming of where I wanted to be in life and sometimes it hurts knowing that I’m 2 years behind college and graduation than my peers. But it’s okay! I remind myself that I’ve got this and even though I’m late I still am in school.

Also a solution I have been using to prevent myself from going on social media at night/morning, I bought an alarm clock on Amazon. I turn off my cell phone at night so I rely on my alarm clock to wake me up and not my iPhone. I have my alarm clock placed in another room so when I hear the alarm on I have to get up and walk to the other room to stop it and then I’m fully awake 😛 You should try it, it works! I don’t feel tempted to use my iPhone in the morning or at night time.

You can’t run away from your problems.

If you have problems back home e.g: family, relationships & financial, it doesn’t mean you’re going to escape it when you move abroad. Instead living alone you’re going to face it by yourself with no one else.

You have a lot to deal with when you move to a different country so the last thing you want is problems back home.  I want to be happy and if my parents are happy than, so am I. Sure I resent so many things they said or did to me in the past but I am learning to understand that it was their culture, their beliefs and how they were raised. There have been so many times that my parents would say things that I would 100% disagree with. But rather than talking back I just say a few words, or reply when I feel ready. I don’t do this to make a point with my parents but this makes me feel happy and drama-free. I don’t want to go to college with a headache from arguing with my parents so I just say a few words, sometimes silence speaks much louder than words and when I’m ready, I’ll reply calmly. Reacting and saying so many things in the heat of the moment or out of anger makes you look crazy and creates more drama and stress.

Instead, I take a step back and choose my words carefully or not say anything at all.

It’s a skill I’m learning from my soul sister Natasha Adamo and it’s saved me a lot from drama not just family, but friendships too.

No turning back

Holidays alone, was hard for me to get out of bed. It’s a season that highlights family time and highlights the fact that my mom and dad are not here with me.

I remember my first thanksgiving alone in New York. I was crying, I missed home and I didn’t know how to cook at that time so I spent it downstairs at my dorm basement with a vending machine after an argument with my parents… it was awful. There is no turning back, now that I’ve made a decision to get my higher education. I want to live a life on my own terms and so that is why I am here in America and I don’t know if I ever want to live in Vietnam again. Maybe yes, maybe no. Who knows? I could be living in Europe or New York one day 🙂 Holiday seasons are the times where I feel my most vulnerable. It’s a time for family, holiday shopping and so on. And that sucks for me, because my family lives very far away but I do the best that I can and keep going.

I gave up a comfortable life in Vietnam to discover a better one.

Life right now is school and work. But I know where I want to be in a few years so I’m working hard.

I moved to America because I wanted to change my life around for the better and I know I can do that through education. Despite my doubts, uncertainties, I moved abroad alone. I found work. I’m at a good school. If I can do that all on my own, then what can stand in my way?

I hope you liked this post! I was really scared to share with all of you my past, but I said why not.  I made this blog for a reason. I don’t want to conceal my past anymore, I am who I am today because of my past.

I got my miradry laser yesterday night. I feel like I just got implants in my underarms. HAHA! It’s a weird feeling but the swelling should subside in a few days. Looking forward to my results and I will post about my miradry Laser LA experience soon.

Who’s going to LMU’s Fallapalooza tonight? Majid Jordan is playing at my school. I’m so excited.




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Thank you Ban! 🙂


Thank you for your post. I used to be an international student, too. I was not homesick as much as you, but I miss the food so much. Reading about things you have been going through, I could see that you have been growing stronger and stronger overtime. I had to struggle with a lot of things before, too. But we would never know how strong we are until we face challenges in life. I am glad you are still moving forward and staying positive. Please never let anything stop you from achieving your dreams and take your beautiful smile away. Have fun with your new journey!


Thich bai viet cua em. Co len em nhe’!

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