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Living and working abroad is an experience unmatched by any other life experience. Not only will it help you grow both professionally and personally, it’s an unforgettable adventure that will leave a mark on the rest of your life.
You might say, “Well, I can just travel for a few weeks out of the year, rather than uprooting my life and starting over.” However, it’s very different to visit a place for a few days as a tourist compared to immersing yourself in the culture for months or years at a time.
To support yourself financially, you can either look for jobs in foreign countries or take your remote job abroad. For example, schools across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America are always looking for foreign English teachers. Even if you teach English online, you can consider moving to another country (especially one with cheaper costs)!
Living and working abroad certainly comes with its challenges, but all of this will push you to develop new skills and become a better person. Here are 7 reasons why everyone should experience living and working abroad at least once in their lives.
Reason #1: Step out of your comfort zone.
Growth is what happens outside of your comfort zone. What better way is there to expand your comfort zone than to move to a new country where you will start over in an unfamiliar environment. Your surroundings, the people, the food and the local customs will all be different than what you are used to back home. When you become more comfortable in your new environment, this means you’ve developed the ability to cope with new situations. By expanding your comfort zone, you will gain skills and experiences that you would never have had the chance to develop back home.
Reason #2: Become independent and improve your self-confidence.
Moving abroad often means you have to learn many new skills out of necessity. This includes cooking, cleaning, paying the bills, looking for an apartment, completing administrative paperwork, etc. Without your regular support network of family and friends, you will surely develop a higher level of resilience and adaptability. These are valuable skills no matter where you are. When life abroad throws challenges at you and you’re able to deal with them independently, your self-confidence will improve and you’ll be able to tackle more life challenges that come your way.
Reason #3: Expand your mind and broaden your horizon.
Living in a different country will bring you new perspectives on life. There is so much to learn from other cultures and no matter where you go, your worldview will be enriched. Observing and interacting with people from other places will teach you about new ways to deal with life situations. It will challenge your own thinking and long-held beliefs, eventually leading you to open up your mind, with a better understanding of different cultures.
Reason #4: Challenge yourself to learn a new language.
Chances are if you move abroad, you’ll be in a country where you don’t speak its local language. You may have been preparing in advance to learn the language by taking lessons or self-studying, however, no matter how many hours you spend doing those things, it will never be as effective as immersing yourself in a country that speaks the target language. Learning a new language is excellent exercise for the mind and will make you feel a huge sense of accomplishment as you progress towards fluency.
Reason #5: Easier and cheaper travel to other countries within the same continent.
If you live in Canada or the United States, getting to other parts of the world can be expensive and time-consuming. However, if you move abroad and live somewhere in Europe, Asia or Latin America, you’ll be much closer to many other countries where you can visit for a few days by taking a cheap flight or bus ride. If you love to travel, moving to another part of the world will open up many more travel possibilities. Being on the lookout for cheap flights and taking a weekend trip to another country will no longer seem like a crazy idea.
Reason #6: Save money and reach financial independence earlier.
This depends on which country you move to and which currency you are earning. If you are earning a strong currency (like the USD), and spending it in a country with weak currency (like the Mexican peso), you’ll be reducing your spendings drastically and each dollar you earn has a much higher purchasing power. This means at the end of the day, you’ll have a lot more money left over, which you can save and invest or spend on travels and other luxuries (I recommend investing it so you can retire earlier).
Reason #7: Professional development and networking.
International experience automatically gives you an advantage over other candidates. The ability to live abroad shows that you are adaptable to change, determined and open-minded. Not only does living and working abroad boost your resume, but during your time abroad, you will likely meet a lot of new people that you would never have had the chance to meet back home. Expats tend to form close groups, and within these groups are people from all over the world. By developing a large, international network, your job prospects increase and so do your communication skills, both of which are invaluable to your career development.
We hope these reasons will inspire you to take the leap to live and work abroad. If you’ve had this experience already, feel free to share about it in the comments below!