I just recently became an expat for the third time in my life. My friends use the word “courageous” when they talk about my decision to move across the globe to a different continent. Although I never understood why am I being referred to as a courageous woman, I do understand why many people are reluctant at the idea of becoming expats.
Indeed, moving abroad can be rather frightening, but it can also contribute to your personal growth in so many levels. In spite of the fact that sometimes I had to face many obstacles, I don’t regret it at all, because moving abroad only made me the strong person that I am today.
With so many great virtues, I believe that everyone should become expats at least once in their lives.
Here are the reasons why you should become an expat:
1. Increase your creativity
Becoming an expat will increase your creative thinking. It will teach you how to develop a new perspective which will result in a positive change to your life. During my life as an expat, I have decided to change my career goals and also opened this travel blog. Without a doubt, moving abroad will provide you with new ideas and visions. If you lack inspiration in your life, assimilating into a new community, even if temporary, will solve that problem.
2. Become open minded
You will learn how to keep an open mind when it comes to others’ cultures and traditions. Customs that perhaps looked strange to you will suddenly become acceptable. You will have a deep understanding of the new community, which tourists never will. Another great thing is that you will change your mind about many things. I used to say Portugal is not on my list of “Places To Visit”, but ended up going there anyways and loved every second of it. Likewise, I been todestinations I never even knew existed.
3. Learn beyond the books
Learning about new cultures first hand is a major advantage. Watching it on TV or read about it is not the same as living the traditions every day. Before moving to the new country, I was ignorant about their holidays, religion, culture, traditions and national identity. I believe the living abroad experience have enriched my knowledge without even me being aware of it.
4. Become independent
Being away from your family will force you to learn how to cook for yourself, how to do the laundry, how to clean and how to take care of yourself. You will no longer feel the security you felt when you lived in your home country. You will be living abroad alone, without your parents and extended family, which will force you to deal with everything by yourself. At times, you will feel lonely and unsecured, but it will only make you stronger. Not being dependent on anyone is a powerful feeling, therefore you will realize that there’s nothing you can’t do. The sky is the limit.
5. Learn a new language
After spending a year in France, I earned basic understanding and speaking ability in French. When I first arrived into the country, I couldn’t speak a word in French. Living in a foreign country where nobody speaks English and having to learn a new language was one of the biggest challenges I’ve had to face in my life. However, now I feel accomplished knowing that I made it. My French skills have gone from none to being able to carry a conversation. The helpless feeling of not being able to understand your surroundings and communicate properly will eventually force you to learn the local language. A language is power, so it will definitely worth your time and effort.
6. Become aware of who you really are
You will be put in situations you never been before. Once you will step outside your comfort zone, you will learn a lot about yourself. These insight will assist you in your self-quest. When you move to a new country you will have a lot of challenges to overcome, this will result in you becoming aware of who you are and how you are dealing with different situations. If you feel like you don’t know where you want your life to be heading, or if you need to make important life decisions, going away for a while might provide you with the answers.
7. Unique life perspective
You will develop deep understanding and a unique life perspective that your friends and family back home wouldn’t understand because they haven’t seen or experienced the things that you have. You will have a better idea as to how you want to live your life. Even if you move back home, nothing will be the same again. You will see your home country through new eyes. You will be well aware of the advantages and disadvantages of your home country after having another country to compare it to.
8. Global networking
Living abroad will result in you making great international connections. You will meet fellow expats from all around the world that you will realize you have a lot in common with, and as well as locals. Making new friends will result in you broadening your professional networking and your personal one.
9. International love
For those of you that are single, dating in your new country will be a great experience for you. You will gain new insights, you will see how is the single life in your new city. It is very likely that in your new country dating is different than what you are used to. You will have special access into the local dating scene, and who knows? maybe you will even find the one.
If you’ve never been an expat, you’re missing the best experience of your life. I’ve been blessed to experience things that many people haven’t gotten a chance to experience in their lifetime. Moving abroad will open your eyes to a greater world that you would never knew existed.