Many people flirt with the idea of spending a part of their lives living in a different country, only to dismiss the notion as absurd and unworkable with any attempt to put it into practice. All too often all it takes is a reflection on the comforts of home, and friends and family they’d be leaving behind, to extinguish the flame before it’s even been lit.
But in a world where barriers of cost, language and communication seem to be lessening with each day that passes, there’s no better time than now to follow through on those desires and experience a way of life that is sure to enrich your own. So, stop procrastinating and start being convinced. Here are 5 IDEAL reasons to live abroad.
Living abroad, you’ll find people are drawn to you: you’re new, with stories to tell and a positivity you can only get from being on an extended holiday. You’ll form lasting and meaningful relationships with a bunch of people in the same boat as you, and with Skype or cheap international calls making it easy to keep in contact with pals at home, you’ll enjoy the best of both worlds. Before you fly, check out cheap international calls so that you’re all set up when you touch down in your new home.
Of course, in the UK there’s a menagerie of wonderfully diverse restaurants, cookbooks and culinary classes, but nothing beats experiencing food cooked traditionally in the country of its origin, preferably on the street, and in somewhere whose popularity is confirmed by queues of locals. Living for an extended period of time in a new country will expose you to authentic hidden gems, local cafés and boisterous canteens that a whistle-stop tour just won’t provide.
It’s something of a cliché, but there’s no more pleasant, effective way to pick up a language that by doing so in the country of its origin. Spanish haggling in a Madrid market, or singing German drinking songs at Oktoberfest, you’ll quickly pick up the nuances and garnishes that a textbook just can’t give you. Consider too the options for classes and programmes that’ll give you a head start in your learning, so you can take what you’ve pre-learnt straight into the best classroom in the world; the street.
It won’t necessarily be at the top of the priority list, but having spent a considerable amount of time abroad can actually do wonders for your CV, contrary to what people may think. Instead of showing a restless soul who’s afraid of commitment, it signals a level of independence, bravery, organisational nous, positivity, and ambition that employers lap up; you shouldn’t be worried that your decision will be bad for your career – it’s actually quite the opposite.
The unflattering term “Little Englander” probably applies to a great many of us, but breaking out of this label is simply a matter of exposing yourself (not literally, you could see serious jail time for that) to different cultures and attitudes to life in order to broaden your perspective. A year in Norway and you’ll never complain about the British snow again, while six months spent in the US will have you appreciating the subtleties of your traditional hometown pub that little bit more. Having a rational, relative perception of the world is grounding and gratifying for your mentality and mindset. So stop making excuses, and get travelling!