How living abroad can reshape who you are

3 min read

The appeal of living abroad for a period has captivated hearts for centuries. But venturing beyond the familiar isn’t just about collecting passport stamps, indulging in exotic cuisine, or getting a degree. Choosing to live abroad can be a transformative experience, shaping you in profound ways that extend far beyond the travel brochure. It’s a journey of self-discovery, personal growth, and potential career advancement, all wrapped up in one unique adventure.

Although how we choose to live our lives and engage with others might be different for everyone, in this blog we summarise the positive impact living in a foreign country can have in shaping who you are.

Expanding your Worldview

Stepping out of your comfort zone and into a new culture inevitably challenges your preconceived notions and biases. You’ll be exposed to different customs, traditions, and ways of life, forcing you to re-evaluate your own values and beliefs. This broadened perspective helps develop empathy and understanding, making you a more well-rounded and open-minded individual. As Gabriela Encina, an expat coach, suggests, “living abroad allows you to see the world through a different lens, and appreciate the beauty and richness of other cultures.”

Building Resilience and Independence

Navigating a new environment, with its unique language, customs, and bureaucratic intricacies, can be intimidating. However, overcoming these challenges is precisely what builds resilience and independence. You’ll learn to adapt to unforeseen situations, think creatively to solve problems, and become resourceful in ways you never imagined. A study by the University of North Carolina found that overcoming the challenges of cultural adaptation can lead to “increased self-reliance, self-efficacy, and personal growth” – invaluable life skills that translate into all aspects of your life.

Boosting Confidence and Self-Belief

Successfully navigating the complexities of living abroad can be a significant confidence booster. Overcoming challenges, learning new skills, and adapting to a new environment can give a profound sense of accomplishment and self-belief. This newfound confidence spills over into other aspects of your life, empowering you to take on challenges and embrace opportunities with greater self-assurance. In fact, many expats that we talk to mention that they are feeling much better about themselves after moving abroad, thanks to the increased confidence and self-reliance they gain.

Enhancing Communication Skills

Whether you’re attempting to order food, ask for directions, or simply have a conversation with a neighbour, living abroad necessitates communication in a new language. Even if you take language classes beforehand, real-world immersion is the best teacher. You’ll develop your communication skills, not just in the new language, but also in general. You’ll learn to be more patient, articulate your thoughts clearly, and be resourceful when conveying your thoughts and ideas, even when words fail you.

Becoming a More Confident and Attractive Job Candidate

The skills and experiences gained from living abroad are highly sought-after in today’s globalized world. A 2023 study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 90% of HR professionals believe that intercultural competence is crucial for success in the global marketplace, whereas a report by Monster, mentions that 83% of international job seekers believe that living abroad has positively impacted their overall career confidence. Living abroad equips you with the ability to effectively interact and collaborate with individuals from diverse backgrounds, and enhances your problem-solving skills, making you a highly attractive candidate for employers seeking adaptable and culturally competent individuals.

Final thoughts

Living abroad is not without its challenges. There will be moments of culture shock, feelings of isolation, and the ever-present struggle of navigating unfamiliar systems. However, embracing these challenges and immersing yourself in the experience is ultimately a rewarding journey of self-discovery and growth. As you navigate the unfamiliar, you’ll discover hidden strengths, develop valuable skills, and gain a newfound appreciation for the world and your place within it. So, if you’re considering taking the plunge and living abroad, remember, the challenges you face will ultimately shape you into a more well-rounded, adaptable, and confident individual.

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