Living Abroad Advantages
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live abroad? The thought of immersing yourself in a new culture, embracing new experiences, and embarking on a journey of self-discovery can be exhilarating, nerve-wracking, and oh-so-tempting—to say the least.
Whether you’re considering a move to Spain, France, Australia, or another country, living abroad offers a multitude of advantages that can transform your life in remarkable ways. From an infamous Eat, Pray, Love-esque journey of self-discovery to the opportunity to stretch your paycheck with more ease, there are a million and one reasons, from the romantic to the practical, that could make moving abroad right for you.
But as we, nor you, have time for a million and one, we’ve boiled them down to 15 advantages that hopefully will inspire and motivate you to step out of your comfort zone and explore the world beyond the borders of the United States.
15 advantages of living abroad
From cultural immersion and personal growth to expanded horizons and new friendships, the advantages of living abroad are seemingly endless. Let’s jump in to this list of the top 15 reasons to move abroad:
1. Living life on your terms
Once you make the leap abroad you’ll find yourself doing things you would never have imagined back home—or maybe always imagined but weren’t in the right environment to let yourself go and do something different. Moving abroad is such a drastic change, which lets you reset yourself and start over with a blank slate. This is your chance to break free from the path of convention that was imposed on you and finally live life on your terms.
2. Cultural immersion
Living abroad provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, allowing you to experience firsthand the traditions, customs, and way of life of your host country. From sampling local cuisine to celebrating festivals and holidays, you’ll develop a deep appreciation for the richness and diversity of the world’s cultures. Duly, it prompts you to question ideas, behaviors, and norms that you may hold from your own country.
3. Opportunity for self-discovery
Moving to a foreign country presents an exciting chance for self-reflection and personal growth. As you navigate unfamiliar territory, you’ll have the opportunity to reflect on your values, goals, and aspirations—discovering new facets of your identity in the process.
4. Learn a new language
No shame to Duolingo, but an app just won’t cut it for the majority of us. From interacting at the grocery store to navigating legal procedures, living in a country where a new language is spoken is a sure-fire way to pick up that language more quickly.
And although English is widely-spoken in many places, becoming fluent, or at the very least conversational, in the local language opens doors to new friendships, career opportunities, and a deeper understanding of the country you’ve chosen to reside in. Here are some tips to learning a language abroad.
5. Better quality of life
Now this won’t be the case in every single country, but many countries around the world offer a higher quality of life than the United States in terms of healthcare, education, work-life balance, and overall well-being. Living abroad can provide access to a more relaxed pace of life, beautiful natural landscapes, and a stronger sense of community.
6. Expanded worldview
Having a global mindset doesn’t exactly come easy if you’re coming from a country like the United States. By interacting with people from different backgrounds, beliefs, and perspectives, you’ll develop a greater understanding and appreciation for the diversity and interconnectedness of our global society—as well as your place in it.
7. Finding your people
Living abroad opens doors to forming meaningful connections with people from various cultures and backgrounds. Not only people from the country you’ve moved to, but from other expats from other countries. International people naturally cling to other international people as you may share similar reasons and values for having moved. Expanding your social network with international friends can help create a very needed sense of belonging and support system in your home away from home.
8. Exploration and travel
As you’re living in a completely new environment, you may start to notice that you’ve opened up your mind to the endless opportunities for exploration and travel. This is a mindset advantage that can be felt in your home country, but becomes more glaringly apparent when you leap to a new country and feel that deep urge to explore. From hiking through natural wonders to city breaks around the world.
9. Child-like mindset & sense of excitement
You will most likely experience a reawakened sense of wonder and curiosity for the world. The mundane everyday becomes shiny and new again. Those first few interactions with the cashier at the grocery store to booking your first nail salon appointment, will be both painstakingly awkward and exciting. Every experience almost makes you feel like a child experiencing the world for the first time again. You gain the opportunity to discover your new favorite park, new favorite drink, and maybe even new favorite word.
10. Personal growth
Whether you like it or not, you’ll be challenged to develop resilience, adaptability, and independence abroad. No matter how uncomfortable, embarrassing, or difficult some experiences abroad may be, they all foster personal growth, expand your comfort zone, and equip you with invaluable life skills.
11. Increased cultural awareness, tolerance, and open-mindedness
When you put yourself in a completely new environment, you’ll be almost constantly subjected to perspectives, beliefs, and customs different from those you grew up with. This exposure, when reflected upon, can cultivate radical cultural awareness, foster tolerance, and challenge previously-held stereotypes. Who doesn’t want to be a more open-minded and inclusive individual?
12. Financial benefits
Depending on the country you choose, living abroad can offer financial advantages. Some countries may have lower costs of living, affordable healthcare, and favorable tax systems, allowing you to stretch your budget further and enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle.
13. Improve your health
Depending on the country you choose, living abroad can offer financial advantages. Some countries may have lower costs of living, affordable healthcare, and favorable tax schemes, allowing you to stretch your budget further and enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle.
14. Learning patience
From practicing patience with yourself to patience with foreign bureaucratic systems, patience will need to be exercised. Best case scenario, you’ll learn to approach challenges with a calm and patient mindset, gaining resilience and a newfound ability to adapt to various situations. You might even learn to walk a bit slower in the park as well.
15. Personal reinvention
The phenomenon of a person questioning, testing, and redefining themselves when moving abroad is a well-known, and almost corny, phenomenon for good reason. No matter your age, you are experiencing a version of what you experienced if you ever transferred to a new school, or moved to a new city within your country. There are new people surrounding you, perhaps a new language, if not accent, and you begin to mold yourself again—which is a very beautiful thing.
Many people find that “reinventing” themselves has come much easier in a foreign country as they weren’t surrounded with people who previously knew them and could choose to be who they wanted without feeling trapped by their “old self”.
Are there disadvantages to living abroad?
You may be thinking—Woah, woah, woah, what’s the catch? We have to admit that living abroad does come with its own set of challenges.
1. Sense of homesickness
One of the main drawbacks is the potential for homesickness and a sense of disconnection from familiar surroundings. Being away from family, friends, and the comforts of home can be emotionally challenging, especially during significant events or holidays. Additionally, language barriers and cultural differences can sometimes create feelings of isolation and frustration, particularly in the early stages of adjusting to a new environment. Here are 11 tips to help you cope with homesickness.
2. Visas and residencies
Navigating complex visa requirements, dealing with unfamiliar bureaucratic processes, and adapting to a different legal system can be time-consuming and stressful. From obtaining work permits to understanding local regulations, the administrative tasks of living abroad may present significant hurdles and daily stressors that just don’t exist when living in a country where you hold citizenship.
3. Work opportunities
Lastly, financial considerations play a crucial role. While some countries may offer a lower cost of living, others may have higher expenses, especially in major cities. Expenses related to housing, healthcare, education, and transportation can vary significantly from one country to another, and it’s essential to carefully assess the financial implications, as well as where your income will be coming from, before making the decision to move. Most companies won’t let you work from anywhere, but here are a few that have an actual work from anywhere policy. And if you need some ideas on how to pivot into a remote field, check out these 11 in demand sectors.
But while these disadvantages may exist, remember that they can be overcome with proper planning, support networks, and a positive mindset. Thoroughly researching the potential challenges of living abroad and developing strategies for coping with them will make the transition a lot smoother and your experience much more positive.
The benefits of living abroad
If you haven’t been able to tell by now, living abroad offers a wealth of advantages, along with character-forming challenges, that can transform your life in remarkable ways.
If you’re seriously considering a move abroad and want to see if it’s possible for you, join our next Move Abroad After 30 Masterclass! This 4-day LIVE Masterclass with help you understand how YOU can move abroad on your terms.
A big move requires careful planning and preparation. Research your desired destination thoroughly, considering factors such as cost of living, healthcare, and job opportunities. Connect with expat communities, online forums such as this one we run here at She Hit Refresh, and find local resources to gain insights and advice from those who have already made the leap.
Most importantly, be open-minded and adaptable. Living abroad will present challenges and require adjustments to a new way of life. Embrace the unfamiliar and allow yourself to step outside your comfort zone. If you have the desire to live abroad and the courage to take the leap, go for it! We here at She Hit Refresh are cheering you on every step of the way!