What It Really Means To Live Abroad.

by | Mar 12, 2021 | Community Contributions, For The Culture | 0 comments

Written by Shereen Asafo-Adjei

One day in class, a guy I thought was insanely beautiful asked me if I wanted to give him “head.” At the time of my life, I was scared to ask questions because I didn’t want to be branded as a FOB (fresh off the boat- someone who just landed abroad). Up until that point I had pretended to know things so I didn’t appear too foreign. So this beautiful boy asked me to give him head, I just laughed it off because I had no idea what he was speaking off, I made a mental note to search the internets about what giving head was when I got home. In the interim, I shared with my American friends, honestly, I just wanted to brag that this handsome guy has asked me for something. This all happened at the beginning of the day, my very first class, by my third class, the entire school was talking about me, and the guy’s girlfriend I didn’t know about, with all 6 of her friends were looking for me.


What was my crime?! Not knowing American terminology and being shy to ask questions.

When I was in Ghana, my one desire was to travel and live in the United States. I thought that my being in that country would resolve everything I didn’t like about myself and be the solution to all my problems. I had family in the USA at that time, so I saw how much swag and money they came back with. All the foreign chocolates, candies, clothes, and even how they smelt was enticing and I looked forward to that day.

And it came. The very first state I lived in was New Jersey, a state close to New York. It was a 2 bedroom apartment that I lived in with 6 other people. I had never known such a small space in my entire life. Those days made me realize how ungrateful I had been in Ghana, where the rooms were big, where I was not cramped, where the weather was always nice and where I had friends.

Living in the States, I have seen how people back home might think that the people here are living better lives. This all comes from the people who go home maybe once or twice a year. I am not sure who to blame for the misconception, the people perpetuating it or the people who are just taking it in without any critical thinking. People tend to blame the people abroad for not telling the truth about what really goes on.

I completely understand being honest and transparent but I also respect enjoyment and not repeating your sorrows. I’ll explain.

There are people who are abroad who do not have the proper documents to be residents legally and sometimes the process of getting such documents may take several years. During these years, pursuing higher education is out of the question and getting a suitable job is also out of the question. Many end up working at warehouses and being paid under the table, many have to be roommates with several people to afford bills and make ends meet. All this to say when these people finally have proper documents and are able to travel back home. Their main goal is to enjoy themselves and to show their families and friends they left behind that they made something of themselves. What they fail to mention on these visits back home is the 80 hours work week, where they are probably working three jobs and the giggles and series of “huhs” they receive when they order food at restaurants.

Living abroad is hard. But I don’t think it is the kind of hard you explain, it is the hard you have to experience. Living abroad also has its perks, but it is no walk in the park.

To finish up the story, his girlfriend approached me and I confessed I didn’t know what “giving head” meant. They laughed at me. I lost friends, and some people actually believed I did that.

Connect with Shereen

IG: @yaaasafo

Blog: asereneplace.com

Youtube: yaa Asafo