Living abroad changes you. Not just your communication skills, but more profound starts to stir when you live abroad. These changes can seem daunting when you’re over the fence, considering whether to live in a foreign country or not.
You might have worries about living abroad. It could be the cultural differences, language barriers, logistical challenges, or fear of leaving your comfort zone.
We get it. It’s 100% normal to have fears and worries before making the jump, because living abroad is a massive leap to an unknown territory.
But, 66.2 million expats in the world have made it, and chances are, they would encourage you to make the call. Because living abroad changes you mentally and emotionally, maybe physically, too.
There are many reasons why living abroad is good, but our team has narrowed down 10 significant reasons that can make a beautiful dent in your life forever.
#1. Develop a clear sense of self
A sense of self is the extent to which a person understands themselves, such as knowing their beliefs, self-identity, personalities, or knowing what they really want in life. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “who am I? Why am I here?” you’re figuring out your sense of self.
When people live abroad, they’re often surrounded by novel cultural values and norms, which usually triggers them to reflect on themselves. The more they do self-discerning reflections, the deeper they will understand themselves, which ultimately leads to a clearer sense of self.
#2. Make better career decisions
When people have a clearer sense of self, they know what they want in life, leading them to make career decisions aligned to their values and beliefs.
Here’s an extra tip.
The study also found that the depth (the duration), not the breadth (number of countries) of living abroad experiences, predicted a clearer sense of self. This means the longer you live in a foreign country, the more likely you’re clear about what you want to do in life and in your career.
#3. Change your worldview
Why is living abroad good? Because it exposes you to never-seen-before culture, behaviors, mindset, and values. All of these could change the way you view the world.
What you considered as “matters of fact” can be non-existent in other countries. You may not be even aware of these facts until you’re confronted with a whole new world. And when you return home, you will start seeing the world from a broader, clearer lens.
#4. Upgrade your consciousness level
By expanding your worldview and accepting the differences, you can also simultaneously upgrade your consciousness level to the next level.
According to Ken Wilber, a famous philosopher and a writer, we have 4 stages of consciousness: egocentric (self-centered), ethnocentric (tribe-centered), worldcentric (human-centered) and cosmocentric (all life form-centered). Most people, currently, are on the ego and ethnocentric level.
When you are on the worldcentric and cosmocentric level, the invisible walls between people of different colors, religions, genders, and creeds start to melt. You begin to accept what’s different from your cultural norms and develop a sense of compassion for humanity and all beings—which is the key to unity and world peace.
“Your network is your net worth.” This saying cannot be more accurate.
Once you put yourself on the international stage, you get to build connections with more people in or out of your industry. Each person could potentially refer you to a better career, deals, or simply grow you as a better person.
Have you ever had misunderstandings with other people even though both of you are speaking the same language?
Imagine communicating your message across to people who speak a different language. This is when you have no choice but to learn how to communicate using body language and other non-verbal communication methods.
But why do employers favor international experiences more?
Because of the skill sets the candidate can bring to the table. Having studied or lived abroad indirectly means they have good communication skills, adaptability, tolerance, and the ability to work with different people.
#9. Awaken and refine your creativity
The world’s famous writers and thinkers of all time had their creativity burst during their international travels. For instance, Ernest Hemingway drew inspiration from much of his work from his time in Spain and France. Mark Twain wrote his travelogue Innocents Abroad when sailing around the coast of the Mediterranean.
Neuroscientists explained why living abroad stimulates creativity. New sounds, taste, smell, language, sensations, and sights spark our brain to form new nerves. And the more new nerves we form, the more creative we get!
#10. Enhance your cognitive abilities
Most of the time, living abroad means you need to learn a second language from scratch.
Although learning a new language is difficult, did you know that learning a second language may delay dementia?