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  • Writer's pictureBianca

11 Amazing Advantages of Living Abroad

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

What are the benefits of living abroad? Is it even worth moving abroad? Are there enough pros of living in a foreign country enough to outweigh the cons?

If you've stumbled across this blog post in your Google search, odds are these are just a few of the questions you've been mulling over as you decide whether or not to make a life-changing move. I know because I've been there.


For transparency sake, I'm a U.S. citizen who has done two stints living abroad - one short period in college when I studied abroad in Milan (it was only three months, but still extremely impactful) and one longer, still ongoing at the time of writing, period in China for nearly 5 years.

I won't lie and say that being away from your home country is without its challenges, but international experience provides new opportunities and sets you up for success in many unexpected ways.


Whether you're already decided on moving to a new country and just need a little extra reassurance that you've made the right decision or you're still on the fence, keep reading to learn more about the greatest advantages to living abroad.


Table of Contents

 

A Fresh Start

One of the reasons you might be considering moving to a different country could be simply that you want a clean slate. This is probably the best way to do so!


Equal parts terrifying and exhilarating, starting from scratch is one of the most freeing things you can do for yourself - take it from someone who has uprooted her life to move halfway around the world: living abroad gives you the opportunity to embark on a new adventure in a way that just isn't possible by staying put in your home country.


Work-Life Balance

Being unsatisfied with my work situation was a major contributing factor to me moving to China in the first place. Having been here nearly five years now, I can say that I was finally able to achieve a work-life balance that made sense for me.


Sometimes the work culture of your home country just isn't the right fit for you and living abroad can mitigate that. For example, it's not uncommon to take work home with you in the United States, but in many European countries this would not not fly. Maybe you're not bothered about the amount of work you're doing, but you're not a morning person. Many companies in China opt for a 10 or 11am start with an 8pm finish as opposed to 9am-6pm. Whatever it is you're looking for, odds are you can find it while living abroad.


Independence

This is a big one for 20-somethings - both students and those looking to live abroad for work.


Studying abroad, even for a short period of time, affords you a level of independence you really can't get back home (even if you go to college away from your home town, trust me). The feeling of truly venturing out on your own for the first time could quite possibly be the best thing about living in a foreign country. You're responsible for no one but yourself and might can enjoy your studies abroad in a more relaxed way than you might back home - weekend trips anyone?


If you're in your twenties and still living with your parents, you are far from alone. A great way to regain your independence is finding work in another country. Expat life opens up a whole new world of independence as you'll likely be able to afford your own apartment without stressing over bills and rent. Did you know a lot of teaching jobs will often provide housing in many countries? Cost of living (which we'll get into a bit more detail later on) is usually what gets in the way of our independence. Take that out of the equation and you have the recipe for self sufficiency.


New Experiences

New things! New culture, new language, new lifestyle, new ways to do things you never thought twice about how you've always done them! Moving to another country enriches your life by introducing you to new experiences.


If you've been feeling like you're stuck in a rut, stepping out of your comfort zone and moving abroad could be the key to greater fulfillment. Humans are meant to be constantly learning and growing, but how can you if you're not being challenged or exposed to anything novel?


Sometimes all it takes to feel inspired or gain a sense of clarity about certain things is to put yourself in a completely different environment. Most of us go through some variation of kindergarten ➪ elementary school ➪ middle/high school ➪ college and then enter the workforce so it's almost like our brains are kind of wired to experience something new every few years or so. Lean into that craving for a new experience!


Travel Opportunities

Personally, I love traveling (I mean duh, look at my blog name), and another reason I knew I wanted to move to China was that it would enable me to travel to many different countries that were close by, especially in Southeast Asia, at a reasonable cost. If you're also from the U.S. or a country that is similarly expensive to explore, but love travel, it could be wise to move abroad to a region you're interested in exploring. This will let you discover many new places by venturing to nearby cities and countries.


Depending on where you relocate to, you might be well within reason to visit a new country just for the weekend! But it doesn't always have to be international travel. The beauty of moving to a new country is that there will be plenty to explore within your host country itself.


Improved Quality of Life

A lot of times making an international move means improving your quality of life. This can look like many things from a higher salary to less pollution to even just removing yourself from what might have been a toxic environment back home.


There can be a lot of doubt cast over your decision to live abroad coming from close friends and even family members. However, it is important to remember at the end of the day that you could be greatly improving your life. I know I'm not upset about my move whenever I see news articles from back home and remember how much safer I feel being here.


Lower Cost of Living

I promised I'd get back to this topic! Due to different currency, lower cost of living is often another good thing about living in a new place. Even if your salary is lower than what you'd be making in your home country, depending on the currency, you could still live better and afford more amenities than you would back home.


There are many things that are much cheaper abroad than they are back home. For example, in my case, all my bills (phone, wifi, electricity, water, and gas) total up to no more than $80USD in a month whereas my phone bill alone back home was upwards of $200USD. Little things like eating out and public transportation could also save you a ton of money on a daily basis. With a lower cost of living, it's possible to rent an apartment nicer than yours back home for less money and have enough left over to put into savings or invest!


Expanding Your Global Network

Some of the greatest people you will meet are the ones you encounter while living abroad. There are so many new people from different cultural backgrounds that you'll come across who will be on this journey with you. You could meet your new best friend in your time living as an expat/studying abroad!


On top of being a great opportunity to make good friends that'll last a lifetime, it is also a great way to expand your professional network. There's something more meaningful in the bond of a professional contact you befriended in your time in Belgium than at a forced cocktail party back home.


Improved Communication Skills

This one mostly applies if you're moving to a country where you aren't familiar with the language. Yes, you can often skate by with English and a lot of pointing, but usually being hit with a language barrier will force you to learn at least a bit of the local language.


While working on your language skills, you'll come to realize that you are better at communicating than you originally thought. You will probably use some combination of the basics of the local language, miming, and pointing to get your point across.

Once, I was shopping for a pair of stockings and had absolutely no clue how to say it in Chinese so I asked the store attendant for "long socks" and she managed to get me exactly what I wanted. Nothing like a little creativity to boost your communication skills! Plus, over time, you might even be able to add a whole new language to your repertoire.


Living Life to the Fullest

You don't want to look back on your life and wonder "what if I did move abroad?" Even if you decide in the end that it wasn't for you, you can have the satisfaction of knowing. Taking a leap this big requires guts, but betting on yourself is always worth it end!


Living abroad is such a unique experience that can really only be understood once you've done it. And once you have, you'll have so many stories you'll want to share.



Bonus: Food!

I couldn't resist adding this one in! Trying new foods is one of the most incredible things about moving to another country. There's just something special about experiencing local cuisine right from the source. Yes it can be recreated, but it's never really the same.

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