Being overseas for a period of time can certainly be a fun and exhilarating experience, but, don’t be fooled; it can also be challenging and difficult. This combination of glam and hardship will really shape who you are as a person and will provide you with huge advantages for future life and career options.
Here are four of the long-term benefits of overseas experience:
- Comfortability in unfamiliar circumstances
If you’ve spent a reasonable amount of time abroad, to say that you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone a couple times would be an understatement. Going slightly out of your comfort zone puts you in the learning zone, and this is where the magic happens! Our skills and abilities are improved because we’re not in panic mode yet, but we’re also not bored from tasks that are too easy (see figure below).
Being able to be resilient and move forward when in surroundings you aren’t familiar with is a huge advantage. Once you’re back home, things will be changing constantly and your experience will allow you to tackle unexpected situations more comfortably.
Your ability to adapt is right in line with being in unfamiliar circumstances. It starts with understanding how things work in your new country and finding (sometimes very innovative) ways to adapt. Why not bring that mentality back home to seek alternatives to common practices you may have taken for granted most of your life?
- Expanded global network
Simply put, it’s almost impossible not to expand your global network while being abroad. The key is to continue to hone and nurture these relationships once you’re back home. The people you meet abroad will move around and get new jobs, and one day could present you with attractive career opportunities.
- Global mindset
Interacting with people from other cultures every day amongst all the other challenges that arise from being in a new city can be intimidating; after all, you aren’t in your own culture, political structure, value system, etc. But eventually, you will start to understand the local standards and nothing will be as complicated as it once was – the joy of becoming interculturally competent! Of course, cultures are dynamic and are constantly evolving, but experience abroad will broaden your global perspective – a quality that is highly sought after in our globalized world.
Living abroad is exciting, yet shocking and challenging. You will experience a lot of personal growth from being thrown into seemingly impossible situations, giving you a very clear understanding of who you are and what you are able to accomplish. What better benefits are there to take home with you?
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