It’s difficult to imagine what living abroad will be like before you buy a one way ticket and make it happen. I was certainly caught off guard by the differences between reality and my expectations. While there’s drawbacks to living abroad, there are far more benefits. Some of them are downright incredible.
Now that you understand how easy it actually is to move abroad, it’s time to explore these incredible benefits.
Incredible Perks of Living Abroad
5. Meet Unique People with Amazing Stories. You never know who you’ll meet when you’re living abroad – or what they’ll have to say. Between enthusiastic locals and longtime expats, you won’t have to look far to find someone who’s lived an incredible life. You might meet someone who has traveled nonstop for 20 years and has visited most of the countries on the planet. You might find a local who has a unique life perspective that will alter your mind.
The benefit of meeting unique people with amazing stories is that it expands what you believe is possible. It opens you up to different ways of viewing the world and different ways of going through life. You never know which person might share the right story that dramatically alters the rest of your life.
4. Opportunity to Learn Another Language. True, you won’t learn another language if you move from America to Australia. However, you will still learn the subtle (and not so subtle) differences between the two versions of English. You’ll learn new slang, figures of speech and even different ways to construct sentences.
If you move to a country that doesn’t speak English, you’re in for an astounding treat. Learning a second language is fun, challenging and even helps your brain grow.
Additionally, once you reach even a low level of fluency in another language, you’ll be able to communicate with thousands, if not millions, of people who were previously inaccessible. This alone can make moving abroad entirely worth it.
3. Live a Longer Life…Sort Of. While there is no proof that living abroad will chronologically enhance the length of your life, there is evidence that it will alter your own perception of the length of your life.
Don’t worry, I brought science.
David Eagleman, an assistant neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine, has been fascinated by the brain’s perception of time ever since he fell off a roof and experienced a slow-motion effect. He postulates that:
“…the more detailed a memory, the longer the moment seems to last. The reason it feels like time is speeding up as we age is that the world becomes more familiar. The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brains writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.”
This means that when you move abroad, the world will be entirely unfamiliar. This is especially true if you are going from any Western country to an Eastern country, or vice versa. The food, smells, language and even popular colors are entirely different. Your brain will be on overdrive recording every new vivid detail.
As you continue to have new experiences in your new country, your own perspective of your life will lengthen. Your new memories will add up to a longer perception of your own life than if you monotonously repeated the same daily routine in your home country.
According to Michael over at Vsauce, time seems to pass slower when you have new experiences. When you are recording new memories, you perceive time to be passing slower than repeating the same experiences.
More experiences, more new memories, a longer perception of life.
2. Obtain a Global Perspective. If you’ve never left your home country, it’s increasingly difficult to cultivate a true global perspective. Not impossible, mind you, but damn close. You are within your own culture, political structure, value system, and so on. Your perspective is inherently limited and filtered by your surroundings.
Conversely, if you rip yourself away from your own social construct and plant yourself in another one, you’ll inherently develop a global perspective (assuming you don’t live at McDonalds and Starbucks). You’ll start to see the world and life itself through the lens of another culture, political structure and value system. You might discover that you were entirely wrong about some viewpoints. You might discover that some of your values were cultivated by cultural programming and that you don’t actually believe them.
It might be shocking. It might be difficult. But it will result in the number one incredible benefit of living abroad.
1. Experience Personal Growth. As your perspective and values are challenged simply by living abroad, you will certainly grow as a person. You’ll let go of strange (and perhaps incorrect) viewpoints from your motherland. You’ll develop new attitudes and perspectives that are uniquely your own, not one’s you inherited by being born in a certain country.
You’ll also be put through challenging situations that you’ll need to overcome. You’ll be consistently forced outside of your comfort zone. Life will be new, exciting and challenging. It will not be all picturesque scenery and teaching adorable children English. You’ll have to re-learn some of the most basic, initial things you learned about life (like how to use the toilet and walk in public).
Throughout all of these challenges and hardships, you will experience an undercurrent of consistent growth. You’ll discover that you can handle more discomfort than you expected. You can, in fact, eat strange parts of animals. You’ll become calmer in the face of adverse and unfavorable circumstances. You’ll learn how to communicate in ways beyond words.
In hundreds of other ways that would take too long list, you’ll experience a profound level of personal growth that would be next to impossible to experience in your home country.
Ready to Reap These Benefits?
Straight up, living abroad is not for everyone. It will be challenging mentally, physically and perhaps even spiritually. You’ll be so far out of your comfort zone that you forgot what it even feels like.
However, you will also learn a new language, earn a global perspective, meet amazing people and your life will even seem longer. Does that sound like something you might be interested in? We can help you find a job working abroad and help catapult you into a new and life enhancing experience.