During the May bank holiday weekend, I spent a few days in Paris with my friend for a much needed getaway from work and all our responsibilities. Albeit a short trip, a few days spent being carefree, passing the time eating and relaxing with friends, as well as having a change of scenery left us refreshed and ready to start the following week back at work.
Whilst walking around and travelling around Paris, I couldn’t help but feel slightly overcome with nostalgia as I saw familiar streets and eateries that I frequented during the seven months I lived there while on my year abroad a couple of years ago. It’s funny because although I thoroughly enjoyed this trip to Paris, I have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with the city. The beginning few months of my year abroad were spent suffering from homesickness and loneliness and dealing with the culture shock and was not at all what I was expecting it to be. You can read more about my initial experiences and impressions on my year abroad in an earlier post here.
Looking back, there were definitely some highs and lows during that seven month period and I definitely couldn’t wait to leave and move on to the second part of my year abroad in Berlin. But despite all the negatives, I did really have an amazing experience and learnt to make the most of my situation. Living and working abroad really did change me and contributed to both my professional and personal growth. I really do think it’s something everyone should try at least once in their lifetime and here’s why:
You gain so much more independence
Facing daily challenges as you adapt to a new country will slowly develop a resilience within you. There’s something about having to deal with finding a place to live and opening a bank account in a foreign country and language that builds you up and makes you think, ‘Yes, I can conquer anything!’ Having to jump these hurdles as you get used to your new environment will have you increase in confidence day by day and will have you accomplishing so much more than you ever thought you were capable of.
You become more open minded
Experiencing a new culture broadens your worldview and allows you to encounter experiences and people that you never would have done had you stayed at home. You become more appreciative and respectful of other people’s way of life and customs, as well as that of your own. The world is becoming increasingly more globalised, so living abroad encourages you to forge relationships and to work or study with people of a different mindset and values, as well as see things from a different perspective.
You get out of your comfort zone
Having to find ways of meeting people, making new friends, and maybe even having to learn a new language are all situations that are sure to bring you slightly out of your comfort zone. Moving abroad will definitely provide plenty of experiences where you will be tested and will find challenging, but stepping out of your comfort zone will ensure that you are no longer just stuck in the same routine and will do wonders for your confidence and personal growth.
You will learn more about yourself
Spending time by yourself in a different environment really teaches you more about yourself. You’ll learn more about the things you are able to do, what your limits and expectations are, what you like and dislike and much more. Being on your own initially will seem daunting at first, but all the ‘me time’ can actually be quite liberating! You’ll face challenges at the beginning, but with time you’ll will come to surprise yourself as to how well you’ve been able to adapt to a foreign culture. Meeting new people might even bring out a different side to your personality too!
Thinking about moving abroad? Or have you or are you currently living abroad? I’d love to know what influenced your decision and how your experience is! Comment below.