Published on September 25, 2015

20 reasons to live abroad in your 20s

Why live abroad in your 20s?

 

1) You have minimum responsibility and maximum freedom

No kids. No spouse. No mortgage. Seize the moment. Carpe diem. Yolo.

 

2) It’s easier to meet people when you’re young

Young people have more free time and are more open to letting new people into their lives. Being young and abroad is a very unique opportunity and inserts you into a fun, adventurous circle of other 20-somethings.

 

3) You have an open mind

Young people are still developing their idea of the world, which makes them more open to foreign cultures and practices. As a 20-something, you'll be able to more easily adapt to a foreign culture, as you are still figuring out the type of adult you want to be.

 

why live abroad

 

4) It's cheaper

Being single and childless makes budgeting for life abroad much easier. Moreover, as a young person, it's likely that you're a little less picky about food and housing so you don't mind taking the cheapest option.

 

5) You’re flexible

Let's go to the beach this weekend! Sure! How about flying to Brazil for New Years? OK. As a 20-something you can say "yes" to last-minute trips, changes and adventures, making it an ideal time to live abroad.

 

6) You’re at your physical peak

Exploring a foreign country is best when you are at your physical peak. You can see more and do more as you're likely stronger, faster and fitter than you will be later on. Places to go, mountains to climb!

 

7) You'll get to know yourself, truly

Being out of your comfort zone away from your family and friends means that you have the freedom to "discover yourself". You'll figure out what makes you truly happy. Doing this in your 20s means that you'll save yourself years of doing things that you don't want to do with people who don't make you happy!

 

8) You'll become fearless

Once you've taken the initial plunge and moved your life abroad, adopted a new culture and probably a new language, you'll realise that nothing seems that scary anymore. If you can do this, you can do anything. This can-do attitude will change your life.

 

9) You'll learn to live minimally (and happily!)

Tiny baggage allowances mean that you won't be taking everything that you own to your new destination. Within a few weeks you'll be glad to have only your essentials and enough space for your new foreign findings. You'll realise that you don't need much to lead a happy and exciting life - a lesson that will serve you well forever.

 

why live abroad

 

10) You get to experience dating in a foreign culture

Since you're young and probably single, you'll get to the opportunity to date people from a foreign culture, which is a terrifying, exciting and rewarding experience. It's the best way to learn about another country's customs while also recognizing your own cultural expectations. It may not work out - but you'll learn a whole lot.

 

11) You’ll likely travel more when you’re older if you do it young

People who get out of their home country as young people will be more likely to travel when they grow older. If you don't go ahead and live abroad now as a 20-something, you likely never will.

 

12) You’ll become more independent and self-sufficient

Learning how to fend for yourself in a foreign country will make you a more independent and autonomous person for the rest of your life. Everything is harder abroad, making the learning experience all the richer.

 

13) You don't have to miss out on anything at home

Communication has improved since the days of postcards. Missing home is normal, especially if you're away for months or years at a time. Nowadays, with the help of Skype, FaceTime and other similar apps, you can be rid of your homesickness in seconds. Your loved ones are just a wifi connection away.

 

14) You’ll get the chance to understand another way of life

Before settling down in your home country, living in a foreign country is great exposure to a completely different way of life. Every culture has something to offer. Living abroad makes you realize which elements and values of your culture you really care about and which are more inconsequential.

 

why live abroad

 

15) You’ll understand an outsider’s view of your country

Understanding how foreigners view your home country is an essential element to having a global outlook. Considering the opinions of foreigners about where you come from will give you a more independent, objective and nuanced view of where you come from.

 

16) You’ll be more accepting to visitors to your home country

Such an important lesson of living abroad is learning how to rely on the kindness of strangers. Once you experience the compassion of people in a foreign country it will make you a more patient and generous person when interacting with people new to your home country.

 

17) You’ll make lifelong international friends you wouldn’t have otherwise

When you finally do make it back home, you'll have the support of the open-minded, adventurous friends you met abroad. These people were your family abroad and their friendships will stay with you in a different way than friendships established at home. They're also great excuses for holidays all over the world when you're older!

 

18) You’ll make all your friends jealous on social media

Because they all wish they had the guts to do what you are doing. #yesIwenttotheGreatBarrierReefthisweekend #sorrynotsorry #livinlavidaloca

 

19) Foreign work experience is something you can talk about in job interviews for the rest of your life

Referring to your international work experience will catch any potential employer's attention because it's still not common. The fact that you dared to live and work in a foreign country demonstrates courage, an open mind and problem-solving skills.

 

20) You’ll regret it if you don’t

A Business Insider article shows that one of the most common major regrets in people's lives is not having traveled abroad. If you have the chance live in a foreign country, why wouldn't you take advantage of that opportunity while you can?

 

Convinced? It's time to take advantage of the freedom of your 20s and learn about how to make your international dreams a reality!

 

 

Photo 1. based on Nan Lian Garden, Hong Kong | Canon AE-1 Program, by Nathan O'Nions, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. by The Intern Group

Photo 3. based on Plane Landing at London City Ariport, by oatsy40, CC-by-2.0

The author
Elizabeth Trovall
After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her third year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

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