I have been lucky enough to live abroad a lot in my life. The first time in my early twenties I moved from Australia to England for a study abroad semester. The second time I spent a year in Canada on a working holiday. And now I have spent the last several years living abroad back in the UK. It is something that everyone should consider doing at least once in their lives. For me living overseas was life changing. I had to work hard to adjust to my new life abroad and in the process learnt so much about myself. Here are our 10 reasons you should experience living abroad.
1. You get to experience other cultures
The best thing about living abroad is that you can fully immerse yourself in another culture. Going on holiday is one thing but living somewhere is a whole different kettle of fish. It actually opened me up to different cultures. In England I became consumed by the football (or soccer) culture. Rushing down to the pub to watch my team (Manchester United) win. It was actually kind of fun cheering on a team and going crazy in the pub. After living in Canada for a year to this day I still celebrate Canada Day and get excited at the prospect of a Tim Hortons.
2. It will help you grow as a person
Living abroad is hard. You will have good days where you love this new place and your new friends. Then you will have bad days where you miss your family and your friends and even that childhood pet you left behind. These good and bad times though, help you grow as a person. It takes a lot of strength and courage to carry on sometimes, especially when you are so far away from everything you know.
3. You get to make new friends
Let’s face it. It is awesome having friends in different countries. For starters you know you will always have a couch to crash on somewhere in the world. Growing up in Australia a lot of my friends were the ones I had from childhood. In fact I was quite closed off to meeting new people. Moving abroad really forces you to get out there and make new friends. That is never a bad thing!
4. It looks great on your CV
That fact that you can live abroad shows independence and adaptability, something which employers love. It also opens you up to different working practices in different countries. Again this is an asset to employers and it really does make your CV stand out.
5. You learn to be independent
The first time I lived abroad was in my last year of university during an exchange semester. Before that I had lived at home with my parents. So I had to learn to be independent quickly. I got used to asking friends and family for advice and whilst living abroad they were not always immediately contactable due to time differences. I basically learnt to make my own decisions based on what I thought was right for me.
6. You just might find yourself
Alright I know it is a cheesy cliche, but I really think living abroad can help you find yourself. For me I was so used to behaving in certain ways. For instance I took on the role of the joker in my friendship groups. I was happy to let people laugh at me and think oh that’s just Lizzie. Living abroad made me realise that wasn’t really me. It made me realise this was due to my anxiety and insecurities. I sort of managed to find a whole other side to myself.
7. It either makes you appreciate home or motivates you to move away
Some people I know really missed home when they moved away. I know a lot of my Australian and English friends in Canada struggled with this concept of only getting 10 days annual leave a year for instance. And the whole paying a fortune for healthcare was a foreign concept. For them they realised things were better back home. For me I realised that I wanted more in my life then just living in Australia. It always felt miles away from the rest of the world, and I really hate the heat. My time abroad motivated me to see more of the world. It also made me realise that perhaps Australia wasn’t the country for me.
8. You realise the world is your oyster
Living abroad has allowed me to meet so many different people, doing so many different things. Your mind starts to open, your confidence starts to grow and you start to realise that the world isn’t so small anymore.
9. You get to be that person with the really attractive accent
Accents rule! And having a distinctive one is always a talking point. Back in Australia no one would strike up a conversation with me based on my voice. But put me in a small town in England and you become the greatest thing since sliced bread.
10. You could meet your soulmate
Cringe alert! Dave and I met during a year abroad in Canada. In fact I know so many people that met their partners during this time too. It is great you get to meet like minded people, and just people that you wouldn’t get to meet at home. Dave and I met in a hostel and from that I knew we had at least a love of travel in common. So if you are still thinking about it just take the plunge. It could be the best year of your life.
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