I’m not sure if it’s just me, but over the past five years, I have seen many of my friends and people I know move to another country for a while like it’s a new hype. Most of them for school, for work, or just to travel for a longer period of time. I never really considered myself brave enough to do the same, but after falling in love with London and reading the quote, “If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives,” I decided to do my internship in London.
It was scary at first, but I’m so happy that I took the opportunity, because it was such a great experience. It’s something I would highly recommend to many others.
Based on my experience, here is why I think everyone should live abroad at some point in their lives.
Getting to know yourself & gaining more confidence
I moved to London all by myself without knowing a single person in the whole city. Before I moved abroad, I had no idea how I would handle that. Would I get homesick? Would I make new friends easily? Will I feel at home in an entirely new place? All these questions that I had were ones that I didn’t have the answers to. This can be the reason why some people don’t take an opportunity, because it’s scary to do something when you’re not sure what’s going to happen.
But this is exactly why I think you should do it! Do it to get to know yourself better, and to find out that you’re capable of a lot more than you think.
Before I moved abroad, I considered myself a shy person and not as spontaneous as others. But, during my time abroad, I found out that I actually do make friends really easily, and that I can be spontaneous and adventurous too. This experience also made me more independent and more open-minded.
Now that I’m back in the Netherlands, I often remind myself “hey you lived in London all by yourself for 5 months and you did great!” which makes me feel more confident and brave. It helps me to continuously step towards new opportunities in my life, because I know now that I can do it, and that I’m better than I think I am.
Meeting new people
This is probably the thing that I liked the most of living abroad: meeting new people. Going somewhere new, whether it is alone or with some friends or students, you’ll always meet new people and make new friends. The reason why I liked this so much is because I found the people who I met so interesting and inspiring.
The locals of London gave me a whole different view on this city, and everybody had a story to tell: where they’re from, what they were doing, their culture, or their travels. Meeting all of these people alone made my time living abroad all worth it.
Experiencing new opportunities
Living abroad not only looks really good on your CV, but it opens doors to new opportunities! You can do an internship, (volunteer) work, and improve or learn a new language. All of these things, including meeting new people, increases your chances of finding new and exciting opportunities.
When I lived in London I tried to work on my photography and design portfolio. During my time there, I got a lot more experience, both in and outside my internship.
These experiences provided me with new opportunities when I got back in the Netherlands, because more people seemed to be interested in my work. Not to mention that living in a totally different place and having all these new experiences will help you to think outside the box and give you a new perspective on things, which makes a huge difference in creating new opportunities for yourself.
Living an experience you won’t forget
It will not always be rainbows and butterflies, but it will definitely be something you won’t ever forget. You’ll get new memories that you will treasure for the rest of your life, and don’t forget about all the stories that you’ll probably tell for a long time! Collect moments, not things. And did you know that living abroad for a while makes your perception of the length of your life feel longer?
Appreciating your ‘old’ life
Moving to a new place makes you think about your life how it was before. I realized that I took a lot of things for granted: family, good friends, a clean house. Being away from all that, I realized that I shouldn’t take these things for granted, but as a blessing.
I started to appreciate the simple things in life more, especially when I got back from living abroad. I recognized that my life before wasn’t that bad, how important my friends actually are to me, and that I should never take them for granted.
The best things happen when you say yes more often!
Have you lived abroad? I would love to hear your thought on this topic!