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Live abroad today or you’ll regret it tomorrow

Why live abroad now? There are so many excuses to not to follow your wanderlust and live abroad as a young person. Just imagine how those excuses will add up when you have even more life responsibilities further down the road. Now is the time to take a chance on an international experience that will both advance your career and offer you the opportunity to learn about a new country and culture. Stop making up excuses. There will be so many more five years from now.

Live abroad today or…

…you’ll be too caught up in your career.

When your focus is your career, living or traveling abroad is hard to prioritize. Nobody wants to sacrifice the headway they’ve made at a firm in exchange for a little international adventure. So do the adventure now before you get too wrapped up in climbing the career ladder.

…you’ll have kids.

Can you imagine hauling diaper bags to Madrid’s Reina Sofia Museum or saving up to fly a family of four to Australia? International travel is not impossible when you have kids, but it’s much more difficult and a completely different experience. Your focus will be on taking care of children and making sure they have a good time instead of understanding and interacting with a foreign culture.

…you’ll be married.

Traveling as a married couple is definitely possible. The only thing is travel on the cheap is a little more difficult when there are two of you. Meanwhile, starting a life together with someone does take a financial and time investment, making a lengthy international trip a bigger challenge.

…you’ll want to be close to your parents.

As we age, so do our parents, making them more prone to illness. It’s no fun to think about your parent’s deteriorating health, but it’s important to consider if you’re trying to figure out the best time to travel and live abroad. Heading out of the country is best when your parents are still young and spry so you can travel freely without feeling like you’re ignoring your parents’ needs.

…you won’t learn how to think internationally.

The younger you are when you have your first international experience, the more that experience will have an impact on how you look at the world. One of the huge benefits of living abroad while you’re young is that it gives you that essential global perspective that makes you more aware of all the different cultures and ways of life that exist. That kind of realization made while young will make you more open-minded for the rest of your life.

…it’ll be harder to learn another language.

The younger you are, the easier it is to pick up a foreign language. Moreover, the longer you have foreign language skills, the longer they will also benefit your life and your career.

…you’ll lose interest.

Life is full of distractions and detours and that passion and curiosity you have now to understand and experience a different culture is at risk of evaporating over time. While your mind is open and looking for something new, bite the bullet and move to another country. You’ll thank yourself later.

…you’ll lose energy.

As we get older, we don’t have the same energy and fire as we used to. That spark is what is necessary for life abroad and the older you get the less likely you’ll be able to sweat and tears your way through an international experience. Though rewarding, living abroad is hard work. Do it while you can.

…you’ll get too comfortable.

When you’ve got your house, job and friend group established, it’s hard to throw that all away in order to go on some international adventure. Before you get too comfortable with your adult life, follow your curiosity abroad. It’s anything but comfortable, but will make you appreciate the comforts of home even more when you get back.

…you’ll have a harder time meeting people.

One of the best things about living abroad is the interesting international friends you meet – something easier done while you have your evenings free and no serious time commitments. Moreover, making friends abroad is much easier when you’re young and more open to letting new and different people into your life.

…you’ll be too demanding.

Living spontaneously and on the cheap gets a bit harder when you’re older and your back just can’t take long bus rides and hostel beds. As you age, your demands for travel increase and life abroad becomes more troublesome and expensive. Take advantage of your resilient youth while you can.

…you never will!

Photo 1. based on Temple, Hong Kong (2012), by Alberto Carrasco-Casado, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on Great Barrier Reef, Eddy Reef off Mission Beach, by Paul Toogood, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on Alcazar castle – Segovia 2008, by Raúl A.-, CC-by-ND 2.0

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!