Let’s be honest, picking up your life to a new country or continent is next-level crazy. Personally, I never thought I would live abroad, especially in the UK. I had family living here and visiting once every few years felt enough. Travelling? Yes. But living? I just didn’t think it was for me. There is vast uncertainty and the push-pull of leaving or staying can have you conflicted. Well almost three years after living abroad for the first time, I can see how it changed me and my views of the world. It was not all smooth sailing, but it did help me face some truths about who I was and who I wanted to be. Here are the top 10 reasons why I think you should live abroad
Did you know that according to a recent 2016 UN study, 3.3% of the world’s population lives outside of their country of birth? That’s a whopping 244,000,000 people!
1. You deserve change.
Staying comfortable will never allow you to grow as a person. As people outgrow each other, you will also outgrow yourself and you will crave new experiences, new friends, and you’ll discover new things about yourself. Embrace the uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters of our lives won’t have titles until much later.
I have always loved the idea of change, whether it moving to a new place; a new job, or making new friends. After all, progress is impossible without change.
““Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I’ll be mad.”Rumi
2. You will learn to live in the moment.
You will stop waiting for things to happen and you will start seeking incredible opportunities. If things go wrong, the world won’t end. You will learn new ways to deal with the numerous challenges life throws at you because you will gain a different perspective on living life.
Everything will make sense someday. You will learn to laugh through your mistakes, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything really does happen for a reason.
3. You’ll make new friends.
As we grow up, we realise it becomes less important to have a ton of friends, and more important to have real ones. Making new friends across the globe will allow you to find people more aligned with your personality and future goals. It’ll also allow you to immerse yourself in a different culture, that always helps with personal growth.
And finally, the great thing about new friends is that they bring new energy to your soul.
4. You will get to know yourself really well.
It may sound obvious, but wherever you may go in the world, you always take yourself along. Ask yourself: Are you a patient person? Are you the kind who asks for help sometimes? Or are you more likely to offer help to others? When you live abroad, you need to fend for yourself, which means you really get to know yourself intimately. What I’ve learned is that things often don’t go as planned. There are two things in life you are in control of; your attitude and your effort. The rest can be figured out.
5. You become less materialistic.
When you move abroad, especially to Europe, you learn the value of travelling and enjoying your surroundings more than when you’re in North America, for example. This is because travelling is very cheap in and around Europe. I would rather save £100 from a night out and spend £100 for a weekend away in Italy, France or Spain. You learn to stop buying so much stuff and learning to save for more valuable things, like experiences!
6. You gain independence.
It took me a long time to develop my own voice. It took moving to Montreal and cutting out the toxicity of what I left back at home and then finally, moving to the UK to realise that my voice actually matters. That I can choose the life I would like to live, the person I want to love and be the best version of myself that I can be. You can stop explaining yourself and telling people everything. You owe no one any explanation of what you do.
Finally, If you truly want to be respected by the people you love, you must show them you can survive without them. By moving abroad, you will learn to be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.
7. You can immerse yourself into a new culture.
Moving to a new country allows you to immerse a new culture, full of traditions and different perspectives. I’ll never forget the first time I went to an English pub alone and waited at my table for almost an hour before realising that if you want food, you must go to the bar and order. Who would have known? In Canada, a waiter is sent around as soon as you’re seated. I also didn’t know that tea can be known as either lunch or an actual cup of tea (cuppa!)
Oddly, even the mundane becomes interesting when you’re overseas because every country has its own quirks in the way that everyday things are done. Whether it’s the siesta in Spain or the Sunday Roast in the UK, you will be able to partake in these cultural norms.
8. You become a ninja at filling out paperwork.
Unfortunately, applying for a Working Visa or any kind of Overseas Visa isn’t as easy as many people think. You have to first apply for an application to see if you’re eligible, once that is approved you can finally submit the visa application itself, along with countless other documents. Between that and other little (but time-consuming) documents you’ll need during your time overseas, like Travel Insurance (the UK Visas includes the NHS Health Surcharge), an International Drivers License, or an ESTA if you’re travelling through the US, any paperwork from now on looks minuscule in comparison.
9. You have nothing holding you back.
A majority of us in our twenties don’t have any major responsibilities, thus, this is the time to get out there and travel or live abroad. In a few years time when you may have children, a mortgage or a full-time job that doesn’t allow you to travel, it’s going to be a lot harder to get out there. You may have friends and families back home, but there is always Facetime. Life is short, take a chance on new opportunities while you literally have nothing holding you back.
10. It will change your life forever.
By taking some time away, and out of your norm, you’ll take a step back and ultimately look at the bigger picture. It’ll also allow you to figure out what you truly want from life, and it may even be something you never knew you ever wanted.
Sometimes the easiest way to get a fresh start is to move to another city. By living in a city where people don’t know who you are, where you’re from, and ultimately may not care, you’re able to become who you truly want to be without any outside distractions or influences. You get to truly embrace a blank canvas and follow your heart and instincts for who you truly want to be!