As you may already know, Gary and I lived in England for three years thanks to the US Air Force, so when I was approached by Alex to host him on the topic of living abroad, I was intrigued. If you’ve ever thought of doing just that, today I’m pleased to host Alex Park, who is backpacking in Thailand right now, with his thoughts on living in a foreign country and how it can be a life enhancing experience.
Top 5 Reasons to Live Abroad at Least Once in Your Life
The world beyond our borders is home to millions of other people. Just like you, they all have their own reasons for choosing to live in their respective areas. There are very many reasons people dream of relocating to a foreign land. This can either be due to work, volunteer, study, pursue other opportunities or retire. Moving into a new country can be a rich and rewarding experience. This can either be permanently or temporarily.
Furthermore, it can be really hard particularly if you move into a country based on a dream without considering the responsibilities and risks. The step to leave familiar surroundings and adapt to another social and cultural environment should not be taken lightly. This decision requires a thorough research, knowledge and good planning. The better you are prepared before leaving your country for a foreign environment, the better your experience abroad will turn out to be.
Here are my five reasons why everyone should find the energy to pack up and move abroad:
- You become adaptable and open-minded
When you move to a foreign country everything basically becomes mixed up. From road rules, choices to choose from in the daily activities, to people’s attitudes and common behaviors. Due to these facts, you definitely have to stay positive and continue to learn new things. This is like going to school again, social etiquettes, healthcare system, the education system, the country’s history, cultural beliefs and traditions.
The moment that you know you are not afraid of change is when you learn to embrace it.
The moment that you know you are not afraid of change is when you learn to embrace it. You will thrive on change. Stagnancy and complacency becomes your worst enemy. One of the best way to improve yourself is to do the things that you are most scared of.
It is not as difficult as it sounds. No matter how difficult it sounds you will become your own cheerleader.
- You know yourself better
One of the best relationships in this life is the relationship you have with yourself. Nothing brings you closer to building an intimate relationship with yourself and getting to know yourself better when you move from your normal environment to a new country. This gives you the freedom to discover who you are, what you want and what you really don’t want without the influence of your family or friends. This makes you your own boss.
Staying abroad is a huge eye opener especially if the place is far removed from where you originally came from. This gives you the ability to observe things from an outsider’s perspective. This makes you to rethink the way you know and understand your culture and your own self from inside.
This whole process helps you as a person to start questioning your original values and beliefs, attitudes, and the values that were influenced by your upbringing. With different perspectives coming back and forth you are able to shape yourself into a strong, independent character which helps you to find your purpose in life.
- Career enhancing
One of the most important advantages of living abroad career wise is that it enhances or gives you a competitive edge in a tough job market. This enables clients or employees to gauge you due to the fact that you have different perspectives on things. The employers/clients feel that with an individual’s hands-on understanding of cultural and business nuances you are better prepared to localize their products for the homelands job markets.
In case it is not possible to work abroad due to visa restrictions or family issues during your stay abroad, this is the ideal time to get new qualifications that may go a long way in improving your credentials.
In addition to this, living abroad greatly improves your negotiation skills. You will learn how to establish a good rapport with people from different nationalities and improve your language skills. Showing that you have successfully lived abroad gives your resume the edge it needs in a very serious competitive job market.
Moreover, a lot of hiring in the modern world comes from referrals. When you establish yourself in a new country, you are forced to pick up a skill set which is the ability to build a connection and an ability to break into a circle of tight connections and fit in.
- Culturally immersive
Moving abroad gives you a great chance to observe a country in its own raw environment. This gives you the ability to know new techniques of doing things and understanding. You will also immerse yourself in the local language. This not only improves your grasp of the native language but also your communication skills. By immersing yourself with the local way of living, you can comprehend how and why these customs came to be. Adopting them further makes you feel home away from home.
You will have the time to visit more areas that you would not have covered in the few days as a tourist compared to you being like one of the locals.
Living abroad gives you the chance to travel slowly so you learn about the country, just like the locals. You have the time to visit more areas that you would not have covered in the few days as a tourist compared to you being like one of the locals. One of my favorite activities in Thailand was learning to kayak. It helped me experience the surrounding island and just appreciate the beautiful landscape in front of me.
- New friends and building a new identity
The distance created by moving away from home makes it hard for you to interact with your friends and family. In some instances, you may be tired of your friends. Moving abroad opens the avenue for you to meet different people. This is always an exciting time for most people. New friends will become your family so you should choose them wisely.
Moreover, there is no better way to start fresh than moving to a new state. You become a new brand. People don’t know who you are or where you come from. No one basically cares about your background. This gives you the space to put your travel backpack to use and do what you want and be who you want to be. This inspires you to explore and create new things without outside influence from family and friends. A new job, a new house, a new car and new neighbors are all that you need. You don’t have to change yourself to please your parents or friends.
Pascoe, R. (2009). A broad abroad : the expat wife’s guide to successful living abroad. Vancouver, BC: Expatriate Press.
Massey, B. (2006). Where in the world do I belong. Place of publication not identified: Jetlag Press.
Find Alex at www.authorizedboots.com