Last year, some people shared a Thought Catalog post on 10 things about living abroad, there’s no turning back. I’m not a fan of TC’s material but they have good post ideas. This is my version. A little more concise and things that are relatable to my own experiences. I consider living abroad to be a completely different experience from traveling, but you may notice some overlap.
1. You grow faster abroad.
Whether it’s the new environment, the culture or the new experiences, being abroad can push you to grow in ways you didn’t know were possible. There’s no way to describe this unless you experience it yourself. Despite what you experience abroad, it still requires a conscious effort to translate these experiences into real life actions and changes. One does not grow just by experiencing new things.
2. You become addicted to meeting new people and new experiences
Earlier in my life, I wouldn’t classify myself as someone particularly curious about meeting new people. After going on exchange, I felt my life open up drastically. But despite this life changing experience, the culture of being at “home” saw me fall into a comfortable pattern. I see this fairly often. People have a “traveling version” of themselves. When they return home, they continue to live in a bubble. If you spend enough time abroad, you tend to break this bubble and have no idea how to live in it anymore.
3. You feel more comfortable doing things alone and become more independent as a person.
If you ever pick up and restart your life somewhere, you may start with nothing. That can be a scary thing. It can also be an amazing experience. I’ve learned to be more independent and comfortable doing things alone. From eating alone to exploring a city on your own, you will find new challenges in everyday things that you don’t think twice about at home. When you have nothing to start, you have to find your way: A new way.
4. You become more fearless.
There’s no doubt about it. Most people are more fearless when abroad. They understand that time may be limited in a certain place. There isn’t time to be afraid of something. You either do it or you may lose out. I would say that some of these “fearless experiences” has led me to adapt a life based on FOMO. You don’t know what you’ll miss if you’re not there.
5. It changes your sense of home.
My next post is dedicated to this topic in its entirety. Ever since I took my first step abroad, I’ve never felt the same coming home. It’s completely changed how I feel towards where I live and where I’m from. In many ways, I relate to being Canadian more so than being from Vancouver. Culture shock, distancing from friends, it all goes in this category. If you ever go abroad, you may find that home will never be the same, for better or worse.
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