Moving abroad is starting anew. Having the opportunity to travel to a new and exciting country, experience a new way of life and exposing yourself to a new culture, traditions and languages is something that is easily achievable in our modern era, and arguably something to be taken advantage of. Individuals who move abroad have been shown to lead more fulfilling and happier lives. It is the chance to start fresh, harbouring new opportunities, careers and ventures. So, whether it be for work, travel, or retirement, what’s not to love?
As someone who is hoping to move abroad in the near future, the prospect of living abroad is as exciting as it can get. Therefore, it’s hard for me to understand why some people are not interested in the prospect, but I believe – for the reasons mentioned above – that living abroad really could be for everyone.
Admittedly, I feel that it takes a certain type of someone to make the move abroad, but I have no doubt that that certain someone could be you. With the help of an ex-expat, we have listed some of the reasons why we feel you should make the move abroad, take the plunge and venture on this path of discovering yourself.
You’ll expand your current horizons
When you’re in one place for a long time, you realise that everything starts to become same old same old: your routine, work, social life and habits; you get into a set way of living that doesn’t often vary and, quite frankly, becomes boring. Moving abroad gives you the opportunity to expand your current horizons, allowing you to have new and exciting experiences in a new and equally exciting environment. Why limit yourself to the constraints that you’ve built in your current home when there’s a whole host of new experiences and memories you can make in a new country, giving you the opportunity to develop new ambitions and a new and varied lifestyle?
However, the catch with this is that you need to be open minded. If you’re going to be living in a new place with a new culture and a new way of life, there’s no doubt that a closed mind is something that won’t help you adapt to this lifestyle. One of the five measures of personality which is commonly known in psychology as the ‘Big Five’ factors of personality is openness to experience, and often, those who have high levels of this factor are more likely to travel and experience things outside of their comfort zone.
But having said that, the main way in which a person can become open minded is undoubtedly by travelling and living abroad. Being immersed in a completely different culture is enough to stimulate you to become more open minded to common practices and experiences and having to try new things that aren’t anything like your home country.
You’ll be forced out of your comfort zone
Similar to expanding your horizons, getting out of your comfort zone is an important part of growing as an individual. We need to experience things that are novel and often scary every once in a while, because without this, how are we supposed to find ourselves?
Travelling and living abroad is the best way to break the barrier of insecurity that you face and dive head first out of your comfort zone. All of the aspects that come with living abroad, such as meeting new people, trying new cuisines and engaging in new cultural practices and activities means there’s no escaping having to find your feet outside of your comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong, you might be lonely at first, but you’ll soon make friends, through work, socialising and joining groups and activities both in person and online – you’ll reap what you sow.
Of course, to break out of your comfort zone, you need to learn to take risks. Living abroad and risk taking come hand in hand in our opinion – you risk a lot when you pack up your bags and relocate to a completely different country. You take the risks that you’ll form a good support network, find suitable employment (in some cases) and all in hopes that you’ll actually end up enjoying the life you lead when you get there.
Research has shown that a risk taking attitude and behaviour is linked to partaking in adventure behaviour, so it’s without question that you need to take risks and be a risk-taker – either by nature or by taking that leap – in order to make the move abroad.
You’ll experience fulfilling and rewarding opportunities
Moving abroad will provide you with the opportunities to experience fulfilling and rewarding experiences that you may not have otherwise had the opportunity to do in your home country.
Experiences such as volunteering for animal or environmental conservation, education projects or health projects around the world are popular opportunities that many travellers engage with. So, when you move abroad, this is an instant opportunity for you to be able to give back and make a difference in some way to our planet and human kind.
Not only this, but with a new country comes a new culture and new traditions, so you may have the time to experience things such as cultural ceremonies and celebrations unique to your new home country.
Not to mention, when you start to find your feet in your new home, every small thing will be an achievement for you. The first time you navigate your way back to your apartment without google maps, having a conversation with the shop-keeper whilst you’re buying your weekly groceries, or meeting locals in a bar and forming some of your first friendships in your new country, these are all rewarding experiences for you.
You’ll learn a new language
When you move to a new country, it is most likely that you’ll find that you’ll need to learn the native language to get by, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll love the opportunity to be mentally challenged and will enjoy learning a new language.
Especially in our current day and age, being able to speak multiple languages is a very useful and desirable skill to have, so use this to your advantage! Moving to a new country means you can learn the language, communicate with the locals and enhance your experience living abroad. Not to mention the locals will more than appreciate your efforts!
You’ll learn more about yourself
If you’re living abroad on your own, this is the perfect opportunity for you to learn more about yourself. Through your experiences, building a routine and getting used to your new lifestyle, you’ll quickly realise what is important to you and what you really want in your new life abroad. If you want to travel, you’ll quickly realise that basing yourself in one city is something you’ll want to avoid, and if you feel that you want to build more relationships, you’ll find yourself meeting locals and joining local groups and Facebook communities to connect with like-minded people who have also moved abroad.
Getting acquainted with your gut instincts is something else we feel comes naturally when you move abroad. You often become so accustomed to where you are and what you’re doing when you’ve lived in one place for so long that when you move elsewhere, you realise you experience overwhelming ‘gut feelings’ and these should never be ignored. They’ll help you learn more about yourself – what you’re comfortable with and how certain situations fare with you. So, moving abroad is the best opportunity for you to learn more about yourself.
You’ll create a life for yourself
The independence that comes with living abroad is a step above the independence that would come with relocating in your country of origin. You’re having to build everything from the ground up – connections, familiarity, a place to call home – something that fortunate people have been lucky enough to have been provided by their families in their home countries.
You’re having to reconstruct your whole life. Which sounds daunting, but is riveting and rewarding. You have full control over what you want your life to be, who you want to spend your life with and where you want your life to be – all in your new country.
You’ll develop as a person
Living abroad is a character-building experience for sure. You become bolder and braver, not necessarily by choice, but because of the different things you’ll need to engage with and experience in your new country. Through this, you’ll gain a new outlook and develop as an individual – helping you to become more adventurous, and helping you to grow from all that moving abroad throws your way.
You may be thinking, “Ehh, it’s probably not for everyone”, but who are you kidding… it really is. Living abroad is an enriching opportunity and experience that challenges you, causes you to question, overcome and broaden your sense of reality. It’s the most oxymoronic concept – an exciting but frightening milestone, but one you may not regret.