8 things you gain from living abroad

If you’re debating in your head whether you should stay in your own country for the rest of your life or move abroad and you don’t really know what the benefits of becoming an expat are, I’ve decided to write down 8 things that you can gain from living abroad. Since I was a little girl, I always envisioned myself living in another country, even if just for a couple of years. I wanted to explore the world and see if there is something bigger waiting for me out there. Back then I had no idea how living abroad will actually change my perspective about basically everything and I wanted to share things that I’ve gained with you in this blog post. Here is the overview of all the benefits:

  • Living outside of your comfort zone

  • Networking

  • Becoming more open-minded

  • Better career opportunities

  • Learning a new language

  • Learn how to maintain long-distance relationships with family and friends

  • Discover new interests

  • More traveling and exploring new cultures

1. Living outside of your comfort zone

Living abroad usually means living outside of your comfort zone and that can be a life-changing thing for you. Once you relocate to another country, you will have to start depending on yourself more than you ever had, especially if you’re moving alone. You will gain more self-confidence and become more patient because you will have to deal with all the paperwork and finding job abroad, which can take time. Over the past 2 years, while living abroad, I’ve learned so much about myself. I was in these out of my comfort zone situations so many times from my first interview in Chicago to having a doctor’s appointment in Germany where the doctor and nurses didn’t know a single word in English. I was so nervous but in the end, everything was just fine. I’ve learned that I have to trust myself more and be more positive about the everyday challenges that I’m facing as an expat.

2. Networking

If you’re an extrovert like I am, then you would probably want to start networking in your new environment as soon as possible. Meeting new people is honestly one of the best things you gain from living abroad. You will start all these amazing relationships with different people that will last forever. When I was living in Chicago I made friends with a lot of other expats and that’s why dealing with homesickness was easier for me because you always had someone to talk to that was going through the same thing.

3. Becoming more open-minded

Like traveling, living abroad will also transform you into a very open-minded person. Your mindset changes for the better. You start to recognize the differences between cultures and how people are managing situations differently across the world. As a result of that, you can also start doing things in a different way. For example, in the U.S. I’ve learned that if someone invites you over for dinner, it is a nice gesture to cook something and bring it with you, so I’ve started doing that in Slovenia and now in Germany. Living abroad will also make you more aware of those who are around you. I definitely became more conscious of my own behavior and environment around me.

4. Better career opportunities

If you have been living in a country where there are not a lot of opportunities to grow and work on your career then moving abroad might change that. Many people move abroad because they want to find a better job for themselves and they have a feeling that their potential is not fully utilized. By working in another country you will also have the chance to observe for example in which way business and entrepreneurship are evolving and how a work environment can be completely different from what you’re used to. I’ve had the chance to work for a U.S. and German company and I have to say, I had a bit of a cultural shock when I moved to Germany. The American work environment is much more relaxed and your colleagues will do everything in their power to make you feel good and accepted, on the other hand, here in Germany, people are a bit more reserved when it comes to meeting new people and you will have to give them some time before they start talking to you not only about work stuff.

5. Learning a new language

A lot of people usually relocate to a country where they may not know the native language. Of course, knowing at least basic English will help you almost anywhere in the world but you should definitely learn other languages also. When I started applying for jobs in Germany I didn’t know that not knowing German on a fluent level will be such a big barrier. I was lucky that I got the job in an international company but still, I knew I have to upgrade my A.1 level to at least B.2. If you’re planning on moving to Germany you will have to know at least some basic words in order to go grocery shopping, set up a bank account, or register your home address, especially in smaller cities like Heidenheim, where almost everyone speaks only German.

Staying in your home country, there is a smaller chance to actually start learning a new language, but when you move abroad you’re basically “forced” to do it and it can only benefit you in the future.

6. Learn how to maintain long-distance relationships with family and friends

When you become an expat you will learn how to maintain relationships from back home and this includes your family and friends. I often feel homesick and having the possibility to talk to my friends and family from Slovenia every day, it really helps me a lot. You will have to manage your time, especially if you live in another time zone than your loved ones. I would recommend you to set up weekly calls with your family and friends. It will fill you up with good energy but don’t forget to spend the rest of your time making new friends also.

7. Discover new interests

Moving abroad also means starting a whole new chapter in your life. This is a perfect opportunity to pick up a new hobby. You have endless options. For example, living as an expat inspired me to start blogging, because I want to share my stories with others who are also thinking of going on the same journey as I did.

You can become more active, start hiking, jogging, join a football or basketball club. This is also a great way to meet new people and socialize. You can also start blogging, vlogging, writing a book, or maybe join a hip-hop class. Big changes in life are often an inspiration to start creating or doing something new.

8. More traveling and exploring new cultures

Since I started living an expat life, I’ve been traveling around a lot more than I was used to before. If you’re moving abroad, you will naturally want to spend as much as time possible exploring your new country and its culture and it is the only right to do so. Traveling opens up your mind and your heart. It will broaden your horizons and you will make memories that will last forever.

The expat life is waiting for you

As you can see, you will gain a lot from living abroad, and the list goes on and on! There are so many benefits that come with relocating to another country. You will live out of your comfort zone and become more open-minded. You will get a better career opportunity and learn a new language. As an expat you get the chance to travel more and explore new cultures. If you’re still thinking of moving abroad, I hope this blog post can make your decision easier. Find a country that excites you and start applying for jobs. If you need any extra advice on that, I would recommend you read my blog on how to start applying for a job abroad.

If you have any questions, just reach out to me via email or social media.

The expat life is waiting for you.

Lara P.