10 reasons to live abroad at least once in your life
If you’ve ever entertained the idea of living abroad at some point in your life you may find this post appealing. Of course it’s not for everyone as we are all different people. To each their own. For me living abroad has been an amazing experience and I can’t imagine my life any other way. I thought about what the things are that make it so valuable and took a shot at capturing them below. This is obviously just my perspective. I’d love to hear what others have to say about their experience living abroad. I believe each person probably gets something a bit different from it. If you are contemplating living abroad at some point maybe reading this will give you that gentle nudge you need to make it happen for yourself.
1. Meet new people with different backgrounds than yourself. Yes, we meet people throughout life who fit this description in our home country but there is something more intriguing about it when these individuals are from another country. It is a great way to learn and become more aware of other’s life experiences. Sometimes it can even bring you a renewed perspective on your own background.
2. Learn about another culture. Let’s face it; the best way to truly learn about another culture is to live amongst it. We can read about other cultures in books and magazines or by watching documentaries and movies but being immersed in it takes your knowledge and appreciation to an entirely different level.
3. Enjoy new, authentic cuisine of another country. Some may find they are more adventurous with this one than others. I’m not suggesting everyone has to go eat spiders and snakes that may be a delicacy in other countries but trying various types of authentic cuisine can open your taste buds up to an entirely new world. Nothing is as good as having the “real deal.” It’s quite different than going to your neighborhood Italian, Spanish, Japanese restaurant in your hometown.
4. Learn to speak another language. Speaking from my own experience of learning Spanish, the best way to learn a foreign language is to live in the country. You can get a headstart with textbooks and courses but surrounding yourself with the language makes the most impact. If you take the initiative to interact mostly with locals while living abroad you will pick up the native language in no time.
5. Develop a different perspective about your home country. This is always an interesting phenomenon to me that I think is unavoidable. Once you are living in another country you naturally start to think about your home country in a bit of a different light. You embrace the differences both positive and negative and ponder the international relations between your home country and others. In some cases you may develop a deeper appreciation for your home country and in others you may start to question things.
6. Put yourself outside your comfort zone. This may not apply to everyone, particularly if you are consistently pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone in everyday life. For others though, living abroad can be the biggest life-changing experience they face. It can be a huge challenge and well outside what is comfortable and familiar to you, but it will only make you stronger and evolve as a person.
7. Become more open-minded to diversity. Again this one will vary for everyone. Some may be very open-minded to diversity already, others may not be. Regardless where you are on the spectrum, people will develop an even deeper appreciation for diversity during their living abroad experience.
8. Develop lasting friendships with people around the world. This is one of my favorites. Not only do you form friendships with locals where you are living but often time with people from all over the globe. It’s amazing how bonds can form even more quickly and become stronger during time living abroad. You develop your own personal network all over the world, which only enriches your life. It also comes in very handy for future travels! How great is it to have friends you can ring up in all different countries when you are visiting?
9. Opportunity to travel in a different part of the world. When living abroad you often have the chance to travel around that particular region. Living in Singapore now I am fortunate to have the opportunity to see many places in Asia which I know I wouldn’t have had living in the US only. I have friends who live in London who hop to Paris for the weekend! They travel every chance they get to Spain, Italy, Croatia…you name it!
10. Grow as a person in a way you may never have thought possible. When you are challenged with something new and different you naturally grow and evolve. The way I view it, every point I listed above contributes to the personal growth you will experience during your time living abroad. It’s an invaluable and magnificent experience.