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9+1 reasons why everyone should try living abroad, even for a little while!

Countless times I have mentioned that every single person should try living abroad at some point of their lives, even for a little while. Now it’s time to tell you why.

Has travelling changed you or the way you see and experience the world around you?

Travel broadens the mind, as we all know. Excluding a lazy holiday at a five-star all-inclusive holiday resort, lying under a palm tree sipping fruity cocktails, nothing really widens the way you view the world as much as travelling.

While exploring the world, you’ll come across so many things, both beautiful and horrifying, that you won’t hear about in the daily news. Mix in a little adventurous spirit and you’ll realize how many amazing places there are in the world that you can’t find on the pages of travel magazines.

The same applies to your own country. Going for a holiday doesn’t always require flying to the other side of the world. You might be surprised how easily you could find and learn new things very close to your doorstep. Just get up, go out of the door and open your eyes and mind.

Well, a holiday is always a holiday, no matter where and how it’s spent. There is something in common with every holiday; eventually they’ll come to an end.

How does travelling broaden your mind when you are not travelling for vacation or work? Have you already experienced that excitingly horrifying feeling that will take over your body and soul when you have just left behind everything that is safe, familiar and stable? Do you know how it feels to stand at the airport in a foreign country, all your life packed in suitcases, having no idea where to head and how you should do it?

It’s scary and exciting. It makes you feel you want to cry and laugh at the same time. It’s disheartening and encouraging. And it makes you grow as a person, more than any vacation ever could.

9+1 reasons why everyone should try living abroad, even for a little while! | Live now – dream later travel blog
Countless times I have mentioned that every single person should try living abroad at some point of their lives, even for a little while. Now it’s time to tell you why.

1. You’ll learn about the differences and habits between cultures and countries

Many of you have probably heard, and joked, about the Spanish way of living. Mañana, mañana… indeed. What does it mean in real life you’ll learn only by moving to Spain and trying to run your daily errands in the local bureaus.

Oh, and you will learn it! Even getting a USB modem for your new flat requires filling papers in four different places, for non-Europeans probably even more than that. And remember, siesta is dedicated to siesta only, even during the winter. If you need to get something done quickly, you better to start working on that immediately.

Working abroad can completely change the way you think about your own home country. That happened to me in Germany, when I realized that the net income in Finland isn’t that bad after all – in some countries the taxes and social contributions take even bigger portion of your earnings! It sort of came as a shock to me.

9+1 reasons why everyone should try living abroad, even for a little while! | Live now – dream later travel blog
When living abroad, you will learn interesting facts about the local habits. I met this ‘dog walker’ the very next day after moving to Spain.

2. You’ll see and experience much more than you ever could on a holiday

As mentioned above, a holiday is always a holiday, and like everything good in life, holidays will eventually come to an end. Most probably there will be a day when it’s time for you to move back home, but before that you should enjoy the possibilities offered by your new country. Experiences you would not have time for during a short holiday.

So now you’re probably wondering what could those experiences mean? Well, you have the best possible source of information you could ever get; all you local new friends. Use them, ask them. They can tell you the best tips and tricks, even the ones you could never ever find on a travel guide book.

Try also asking from the lady at your nearest grocery shop, you might be amazed how useful she can be.

9+1 reasons why everyone should try living abroad, even for a little while! | Live now – dream later travel blog
Weekend at a cottage in Spain differs a lot from a weekend at a cottage in Finland.

3. You’ll learn new language(s)

Of course you can learn languages anywhere, even at home, but your motivation is a lot stronger when you have to learn it. You will also love to learn it, because you can practice and need the language in your daily life.

You might not learn the language perfectly, and you don’t need to. It’s enough to manage at a grocery store, or getting that USB modem, without problems.

Very soon you’ll notice how much the locals appreciate even the tiniest effort to speak with their native language. Plus the fact that knowing different languages is always a benefit, so the time and effort spent will never be wasted.

4. You’ll make friends all over the world

Expats all over the world tend to end up spending time with other expats. And so it should be.

Having a wide international peer group is extremely valuable. Not only because you will learn languages, culture, history and tolerance, the list of benefits will go on and on—there’s a lot more to benefit from!

Let me tell you one of the best reasons; The more you have friends spread all over the world, the easier travelling will be in future. You will have a great number of reasons to travel to places you wouldn’t even know about without having your friend living there, and you might always have free accommodation. Or if not that, at least a competent local guide.

5. You’ll get to experience new flavours

When living abroad, your mind broadens also at a dinner table.

You’ll get to experience and taste new flavours, which might, believe it or not, be much better than the food at home you have got used to. You’ll learn to cook local specialties, use new ingredients and spices you had no idea existed, and learn soon that the biggest supermarket is not the best place for grocery shopping after all.

9+1 reasons why everyone should try living abroad, even for a little while! | Live now – dream later travel blog

The local food culture is only half of this great food journey you’re about to take. Remember all those new friends of yours from all over the world? You’ll get to taste their local flavours as well, because who wouldn’t just love to show their own specialties to foreigners.

What would you cook for them?

6. You’ll really learn to appreciate home

Home sweet home, right? Only after living abroad, being far away from home for a longer period, you will learn how great home is.

You’ll learn to appreciate even the tiniest little things. For me, for example, it was such tiny things as a cheese slicer and this little hand shower we have in every toilet in Finland (please don’t ask me why). And sauna, of course. If you have ever visited Finland and experienced sauna, you’ll know what I mean.

After coming back home I even enjoyed cutting the huge bush I have in my garden and moving the lawn, even if I’m normally not much of a gardener. It’s just so cool to have my own garden!

I think after returning from Germany last year I even cut the grass on my neighbour’s garden.

7. You’ll understand the bliss of being homesick and why it’s important

You can’t avoid being homesick when living abroad, and you shouldn’t. After all, you have left behind everything you love the most; your home, your family, your friends and everything that is important to you. While being homesick, every little thing might feel like the end of the world, but don’t worry, that feeling passes by very quickly.

And I can guarantee you don’t need to feel homesick for long. When you are living abroad your friends will want to visit you, that’s for sure.

Sometimes you could just compare your apartment to a free hostel or a guest house; as soon as one friend leaves, the next one already arrives. And when your friends are visiting you it’s your turn to be the local guide.

9+1 reasons why everyone should try living abroad, even for a little while! | Live now – dream later travel blog

I lost track of the number of friends visiting me when I was living in Spain. This is the building I lived in, would you have wanted to visit?

8. You’ll grow your career possibilities

Employers always appreciate work experience from abroad, no matter how short the period was or whether it was even directly related to your field. It’s not only down to having international working experience abroad, but also about valuable life experience.

9+1 reasons why everyone should try living abroad, even for a little while! | Live now – dream later travel blog

This is how I worked for a year, in my private outdoor office. Can you see the pool on the right hand corner? That’s where we spent our lunch breaks.

9. Because you don’t want to regret you didn’t do it

Live now – dream later. Live now, when you have a chance. Make all your dreams come true while you still can. Forget all the vain excuses. Make sure you will have something to remember when sitting in a rocking chair. Make sure you have valuable experiences and lessons to teach to your grandchildren.

And most importantly, make sure that when the time of the rocking chair comes, you have no regrets about things you didn’t do while you had the chance.

Make sure you don’t live you’re life as others expect you to, but the way YOU want to.

+1 by Daniel:

Daniel, the English gentleman with whom I share my home and my life, has been living in Finland for 12 years now. Of course I had to ask for his opinion of things why everyone should try living abroad.

After considering my question for a while, he told me pretty much the same things I’ve already listed above. But he did have one more reason to add that I promised to share on the blog.

Hmm, what sort of reason could you expect from an Englishman?

You’ll get to taste beers from different countries. Well, that sure is a reason! ;)

How has travelling or living abroad changed you or the way you view the world? Would you like to move abroad or have you already done so? If your answer is yes, what would you add to this list? The comment section below is, as always, open for discussion.

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This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. A great post that may entice someone to see and approach their life in a different way! I think you said it all.. having lived overseas, I agree 100% with your observations.

    1. Thanks Cheryl. This morning I actually realized one more positive change in me after living in Spain for a year; in summertime I never used to get tanned, I only burned my skin in the sun, as Finns often do. A year in Spain changed my skin somehow, as now I get tanned quite easily. Even this summer, even if we’ve had mostly rain in Finland! 😀 I would say that’s another positive! 😉

      1. That is great. I have such pale skin that has burned all over the world 🙁 Would love for it to change. Too bad about the rain. That sucks really after waiting all winter for summer to come! We know what that feels like in Canada.

  2. This is such an awesome post! I lived abroad for half a year with my boyfriend in Thailand and we are leaving in a month to live in South Korea for a year. Your post is spot on for great reasons to live abroad! The food I tasted, the people I met, and a lot of the experiences I had in Thailand wouldn’t have happened at all if I hadn’t lived there. It was an experience of a lifetime and I’m glad that you understand that as well! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  3. A great post! It will really help to make people think about living abroad in a different way, and outlines all of the experiences and positive things you will gain from moving to another country. Thanks for sharing. Alex.

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