What are the benefits of going abroad? Well, in reality the list is endless, but here are our favorites.
1. You’ll realize just how much you don’t know about the world
William Shakespeare said, “A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” In this case, the wise man is the traveler (whose mind is totally blown!). Once you get outside the borders of your own country, you realize just how vast and complex the rest of the world is. There’s so much to understand and know about the world around us, we must accept that we’re all fools to a certain degree.
2. You’ll find out that there are some things that you just can’t translate
A lot of jokes are deeply rooted in a country’s culture and require “insider” information to be truly appreciated. There are also certain phrases and understandings that are very culturally specific and can be a challenge to try and explain to someone from another culture. When you’re in a multicultural context, you have to try and use humor that doesn’t depend on this common culture, so it’s a great opportunity to learn an international vocabulary and sense of humor.
3. You’ll discover so many new tastes and smells
Your senses are going to have a hay day when you go abroad. Whether trying some tasty Spanish chorizo in Madrid or a bandeja paisa in Colombia, you’ll be exposed to a rainbow of amazing tastes and smells (and some not so amazing ones too) during your time in a foreign country.
4. You’ll truly discover the kindness of strangers
Going abroad can restore your faith in humanity. When you’re in a difficult position – lost or confused – it’s amazing how complete strangers come to the rescue. It’s the kind of goodness that inspires you to be a better person to others as well.
5. You’ll suddenly recognize your own ignorance
This sounds like a bad thing – but it’s really not. Traveling abroad can make you realize how much you really don’t know about the world around you. You may hear of places and people you never knew existed. But that’s the fun of it. Understanding the limits to your understanding and then pushing those limits.
6. You’ll discover what’s universal and what’s not
It’s impossible while abroad not to compare life and culture to back home. You realize quickly that certain things are universal – family, friendships, food – but things like showing respect, though important across cultures, can be manifested very differently depending on where you go. This awareness of both similarities and differences is key for working in a multicultural setting at any time in life.
7. You’ll feel extreme emotions that you didn’t know you had in you
Being abroad sets you up for a very intense kind of frustration. It can feel impossible to feel truly at home or comfortable. But pushing through that extreme frustration combined with discomfort is an incredibly valuable lesson that stretches what you’re able to endure.
8. You’ll become truly independent
You’ll surprise yourself abroad when you realize how independent you’ve become living and working in a foreign country. Your new sense of empowerment will inspire you to keep pushing forward as you look for your next job, apartment and adventure.
9. You’ll find out how far knowing English can take you
Many native English speakers have no idea how useful their native language is when it comes to traveling the world. That changes when you go abroad and meet people from all over the world. More often than not the common language is English – and you have the privilege of having that as your first language. It’s a benefit that is important to recognize and take advantage of.
10. You’ll experience true culture shock
Being abroad can be an incredibly uncomfortable experience at times when you’re not sure what’s going on or how to act. The culture can be so different and foreign, you feel isolated and uncertain. Recognizing this feeling and getting past it is an important part of living abroad.