Tuesday, December 09, 2008

5 Reasons to Become an Expat Now

Should you move abroad? Here are 5 reasons to pick up and go live the life many dream of but are too afraid to do.

1. Career. Studies show that those who work abroad fast-track their careers, broaden their professional capabilities, and increase their pay. “But wait, I’m the trailing partner,” you think. “How can this be a good thing for me?” Even if you don’t end up finding the perfect job in your new country, chances are you will reinvent yourself and discover a new talent or finally have time to explore other interests. For inspiration, check out the story of The Antiques Diva, who turned her love of antiques into a European tour company. Or Petite Anglaise, who just published her first novel based on her experiences in Paris.

2. Travel. There is no easier way to see a new part of the world than to live in it. Think of all the places you can go from the new location within a 2-hour flight. As an expat, you’ll probably travel more in your few years abroad than most people do in a lifetime. Check out where I’ve been the last couple years on the sidebar of this blog if you need proof or inspiration.

3. People. Some expats like to hang out with the locals, some stick mainly to expat groups. Either way, the people you meet abroad will be colorful. Whether I’m hanging out with my non-English speaking neighbor with a dictionary on the table between us or at a party with people from 14 countries, the characters I meet are like those from novels. Plus, things are never boring when you’ve got a Swiss and a Spaniard discussing the merits of punctuality.

4. Stories. Things will happen to you that you just can’t believe or even imagine right now. Complain, be shocked, whatever, but embrace them when they happen. Friends and family, possibly even the entire world will love them. They are things you will never forget. For example, I wrote about one of my crazy experiences in Switzerland and it was published in the Christian Science Monitor.

5. You. You will never be the same again. You will question things you didn’t before. You will notice things about your homeland that those that have never left it can’t. If there’s any reason to become an expat, it’s to do it for yourself.

If you are living abroad now, why did you move abroad? Was it the right decision for you?

4 comments:

Michemily said...

Living abroad was totally the right decision for me. I luuuuuuve it--the language, the people, the food, the scenery, the opportunities, everything. Amen to all five of the reasons you listed.

Swiss Miss said...

Good to hear! Should have mentioned the food--or since I'm in Switzerland, at least the chocolate!

MrsTina said...

I am definately the trailing spouse trying to make my way abroad. I am trying to make the most of it but haven't quite figured out my other passions in life! I guess life is a continous self-discovery! Thanks for this post!

Swiss Miss said...

Glad you enjoyed the post and good luck on your road to self-discovery! It will happen, but it just might take awhile to adjust to your new surroundings first.

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