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12 Life Changing Benefits of Living Abroad

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by Phoebe on 19 Nov 2018

There are many reasons why people decide to relocate, whether it be to work abroad or study overseas. Young people often take international jobs to broaden their horizons, or students on Erasmus fulfil their dreams by studying at a new university in a different city.

However, there’s a number of other benefits to living abroad. So, if you’re still on the fence about moving to study or work in Berlin, Amsterdam or a host of other exciting cities, this list should open your eyes to a few more reasons why thousands of people are making the move every year.

1. Stepping out of your comfort zone

woman-in-barcelona Moving abroad is not just stepping out of your comfort zone — it’s more like jumping. Not only will you find yourself in a new city, where you may or may not speak the language, but you’ll be exploring your surroundings, setting up your finances and meeting tons of new people. However, don’t see this as an anxious, overwhelming experience.

In fact, many people who move abroad say that they really needed this boost to learn their true potentials, or even to get out of the rut of everyday life in the same town with the same circle of people. There’s nothing quite like leaving a small, quiet city to find yourself in a bustling metropolis like Barcelona or Milan.

2. Making friends from all over the world

friends enjoying a view When you move to your new city, you’re looking at an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends, from all over the globe. With so many people deciding to work or study abroad these days, there are plenty of vibrant expat communities where you can live close to other like-minded people.

You may have heard that some people deal with homesickness or some degree of culture shock when they first arrive, but as long as you’re open to jumping into conversations, taking your new classmates or co-workers up on their lunch invites, and getting out to explore the city on the weekends with your neighbors, you’re going to have a new batch of friends before you know it!

3. You'll gain a global mindset

worldwide flags Even if this is your first trip out of your home country, you’ll undoubtedly be changed for life by what you experience. In today’s business world, it’s a true asset to understand the global market, woring in teams with many diffent cultures and how this can present unlimited opportunities. Having the adventure of working and studying in a cosmopolitan city is a fantastic way to “learn by doing,” and to find yourself in circumstances that you’d never encounter otherwise. In fact, so many young people are enjoying working abroad that they become digital nomads, moving around and working just about anywhere with a stable Wi-Fi connection.

4. Developing more cultural awareness

teamwork When you are living internationally, it heightens your awareness to the many fascinating cultures that constantly surround you. However, chances are that even when you are living at home, you may just find that you have a neighbor from Brussels, or several students in your home university classes may even be on Erasmus. You’ll walk down the street and hear the multiple languages that you once tuned out, and you may even find yourself being a bit more adventurous with your selections at the grocery store or one of the international cafes at home. Once you open up to become more globally aware, you’ll find a whole new world of possibilities before you!

5. Learning a new language and communication skills

spanish language book Most people who move abroad relocate to an area where they may not know the native language. While English can usually get you by in most student or expat communities, learning a bit of Dutch before you move to the Netherlands, or taking on some German before you take off to Austria or Germany might not be such a bad idea. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll pick up even more from everyday interactions such as going to the supermarket and interacting with the locals.

Additionally, you’ll learn a lot about communicating with other people. Sometimes, when you can’t seem to find the right words, you’ll find ways to get your point across, which will lead to a lot of thinking fast on your feet and adapting to the situation.

6. Having more opportunities to travel

woman-train-station Your new city abroad might be in a convenient location, which will put you close to a couple of other major capital cities, or even other countries. Imagine living in Florence, and being able to pop over to Rome every other weekend!

Travel expands your mind and your realm of experiences like you wouldn’t believe. There’s nothing quite like stepping outside of your regular life and seeing the people and the attractions of other places and then seeing both the differences and the similarities. Plus, if you’re a student or below 25 years old, you can usually get a Rail Pass at a discounted price, or you can consider one of the many night trains that criss-cross around Europe.

7. Better career prospects

tech event It’s a commonly known fact that Erasmus students are more likely to be employed after graduation, which may just be one of the reasons that you opted to study abroad, to begin with. Or, perhaps you’ve decided to take on an internship in the Netherlands or another exciting destination where you can make connections and extend your professional network.

If you’re hoping to enter the global market, then living abroad can lead to a successful career. Learning about the cultures of different areas can help you to acclimate to a variety of work environments, as well as provide you with the communication techniques that you’ll need to move forward.

8. Expanding your professional connections

men-networking The more you begin to advance in your career or study path, the more you’ll begin to understand that a strong list of contacts can be highly advantageous. Knowing who you can reach out to when you need a reference or would like an opportunity to earn a few extra euros, can be key when you’re living abroad. Try your best to attend any networking meetings, and be sure to add the people that you meet to your social media platforms so that you can stay in touch.

9. Studying at a different university

University Building One of the top reasons that students choose to go live abroad is to study at a different university. Whether your option is in bustling Madrid or a small student city in France, this will absolutely be the highlight of your student career. Many students choose to study abroad for a single semester, or others may opt to stay for an entire academic year.

Fortunately, there are numerous student associations that are put in place to ensure that you can acclimate to your new university and environment with ease. For example, the Erasmus Student Network organizes an entire week of meetings, parties and other events that allow students to get to know one another and the various social and personal development opportunities that are available during the semester.

10. Learning how to effectively manage a budget

money Sometimes, moving abroad may be the very first time that you’re really out on your own and living completely independently. So, this is a big step in learning how to make a budget, and then actually sticking to it. Especially if you’re dealing with a different currency to the one you use back home, it definitely makes you become more aware of how much you’re spending and on what.

One of the best things you can do when you move abroad is to share an apartment with a few other like-minded young people. This can help you to save on expenses, and you can budget together on utilities and communal expenses.

11. Discovering how to manage relationships

woman-laptop-sofa Once you’re away from home, you’re going to learn a lot about keeping up with multiple types of relationships. Not only will you need to remain in touch with your friends and family back home, who may be in a completely different time zone, but you’ll need to set aside time to nurture the new relationships that you are trying to make.

Many people suggest that you pick one night a week to reach out to loved ones and still stay in the loop on what's going on at home, but to try to spend the rest of your time making new friends and seeking out helpful connections.

12. Learning Patience

travel-busy-city Let’s say that you’ve spent the last five years dreaming about living abroad in Vienna. You find the perfect accommodation, and you even have an internship at one of the top startups in the city. However, no matter how ideal the situation is, there may be times when things being away from home is tough and you’ll learn exactly why patience is considered a virtue.

When you live in a new city, there will always be a learning curve. You’re going to get lost a few times on your way back home, and communicating with a language barrier and making new friends can be difficult at best. But it’s all about pushing through and having the patience with yourself to make it through the adjustment period. Like with all things, living abroad gets easier with time.

Now that you have more information on the benefits of working or studying abroad, you may be ready to apply for business opportunities or to exchange programs, find accommodation in Rotterdam or Finland, and pack your bags! Whether your plan is to work abroad or study overseas, this is sure to be one of the best adventures of your life. Just be prepared, check your moving to-do list twice and be open to this exciting new opportunity!

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by Phoebe on 19 Nov 2018
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