Life abroad is filled with wild excitement especially when you move to a country like Japan with so many wonders. It is especially nice arriving to a job, apartment and someone to hold your hand through all the hills and mountains where everything is in a strange new tongue.
The excitement stays for quite a while but it is tempered with the new things that seem to trip you up or remind you of how different things are. It is humbling being ignorant again – people converse around you and you only hear unintelligible sounds. Life abroad isn’t all fun and games when there is a language barrier and other issues. You fight of fly.
Life abroad will differ from person to person and from country to country. These are some of the big positives and challenges of life abroad from my experience and from a few others in the same boat who I chatted with.
Some Positives of Life Abroad
- You learn to be more independent.
- You become more open-minded and tolerant.
- You immerse yourself in a new culture and stretch yourself.
- You develop resilience.
- You value your home country even more than when you were there.
- You work harder to maintain valued relationships at home.
- Your palate expands or changes.
- You learn a new language. (where necessary)
- You form many new meaningful relationships.
- You develop a deep abiding love for another country.
Some challenges of Life Abroad
- You are a second class citizen and though you pay taxes you may not necessarily be able to vote for example unless you become a citizen.
- You may lose some great friends at home.
- You start losing the feeling of home being in one place.
- People who you meet and form deep bonds with move on and those ties may sever. This may happen repeatedly.
- You ‘outgrow’ some good relationships in your former home country.
- You fight to have your children value your heritage.
Why you should live abroad if you have an inkling to
- It is a great experience for personal and many times professional growth.
- Step out of your comfort zone and discover more about yourself in a new environment.
- You won’t get rid of the desire until you try it.
- It doesn’t have to be forever so you can return home if you find it isn’t for you.
- See the positives above.
How to Decide where to move to Abroad
What stage of life are you at now? If you are a student or desire to return to school you can try studying abroad as one option. You will go to a country with a school offering the programme you are interested in.
If you are a teacher, go to an international job fair and try to get a job abroad with a school that seems a good fit. If you have a degree think of doing a TESOL/TEFL and teach English abroad. Being able to get a job abroad makes the transition so much easier.
Are you ready to retire and want to move abroad? Take some time to check out where you will get the best bang for your buck, the weather, safety issues, healthcare and the language of the country among other things.
Are you a budding digital nomad, then google away or search YouTube and gain valuable insight from established digital nomads on life abroad.
Once you have decided where you will go have a look at this post on how to plan and move abroad smartly.
Read here to see a bit more what is like for me as a black woman living abroad in Japan.