There are some brilliant benefits of living abroad. Living in a totally different culture, maybe with a different language, can teach you many different life skills that you maybe wouldn’t so easily learn at home. The benefits of living abroad don’t have any age or sex barriers – they are applicable whatever age, sex or ethnic background you are. Here are some brilliant benefits of living abroad:
One of the greatest things you can learn from living abroad is how to talk to people. This isn’t just about the fact you might have to learn a new language. In order to make a success of living in another country, you need to be able to communicate with people. Even knowing the lingo, to find your way around, to find out just getting on with day-to-day stuff, and of course, work, if you have a job, you have to be able to ask questions. This means building a rapport with people from all walks of life.
We are such a consumer-driven society. One of the great benefits of living abroad is that you very quickly learn to live with less stuff. If you choose a developing country, things you take for granted at home might now be a luxury. If you choose a society equivalent to the one you have left, you certainly won’t have packed up your whole house and moved lock stock and barrel, so you automatically start your time abroad with less of the trappings of life back home.
When you’re on vacation, it’s okay to have your meals catered by the hotel or to eat out every night in a string of restaurants. Living abroad will take you in two directions culinary speaking. You will either learn how to cook the cuisine of your new country or you will pine for the food from home and work out how to make them from the ingredients you can get hold of. Either way, your culinary skills will take a huge leap forward.
When you go to another country, things are going to be different. On vacation, these differences are quirky, fun and part of the ‘experience’. When you live there, they are simply part of the norm. What is seen as different back home, you simply learn to accept. One of the great benefits of living in another country is that it naturally expands your acceptance of what is the ‘norm’.
So many of us like to think we are strong, independent women. Part of the power of independence though is accepting this doesn’t mean isolation. Another of the tangible benefits that living abroad brings is teaching us how to ask for and accept help. Self-sufficiency is great – but not if you are lost, don’t know how to find a doctor, there’s a train strike, or you don’t know how to work the ATM.
It will be a miserable life as an ex-pat if you spend your life indoors, on your own on Facebook talking to friends back home or watching TV. Surely, one of the great opportunities of living abroad is experiencing all the fun and adventure you can handle. Get out there and find it, make great friends, and really have something to tweet to your gal pals back home.
When we think we know ourselves, it can take some big changes to make us question our values. This isn’t to say that the values we leave home with are in any way wrong, but we do tend to measure according to peer pressure, when we compare ourselves to others. Living abroad benefits us by adding new perspectives, and a new form of peer pressure. Another culture and another country can certainly teach you new perspectives.
I’ve already mentioned about learning to live with less, but moving to another country can also give us a whole new perspective of how important the little things in life are. It can also give us a whole new appreciation of simple things and simple times. Our adopted culture might teach us that sharing a family meal instead of eating on the run is a great joy, that sharing a seat on the bus with a woman holding a baby goat is not a convenience but a great experience, and that even having hot water in the morning is a delight.
It is great to travel – one of the reasons is to experience life as others do – but living it brings even greater rewards. If you’re offered the chance to experience the benefits of living abroad, would you go?
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