The new year is a time for fresh starts. It’s time to shake things up and do something new and different. How are you going to challenge yourself in 2018? Is this the year you will apply to study or work abroad?
Living in another country offers a lot of benefits, regardless of where you decide to go. Obviously, you can learn some in-depth insight to another culture, become fluent in another language and have some amazing, unforgettable adventures.
It’s more than a lark or a boost to your CV. Immersing yourself in a new culture forces you to grow. You’ll come home with more self confidence and understanding of human nature along with those exciting stories of your exploits.
Are You Ready to Live Abroad?
Maybe it’s a hard decision. Leaving behind your loved ones and everything familiar is not easy. If you are debating trying a year abroad studying, working or just travelling, here are some questions to ask yourself.
- Are you an independent problem solver? When stuff goes wrong, how do you react? Can you step up and sort it out or do you rely on your parents or your ten best friends to help you? No matter where you go or why, you are guaranteed that something will go wrong.
- Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Being an introvert abroad can be tough. Before you go, find some groups or activities that would give you a chance to meet people in smaller groups and develop friendships.
- How competent are you in the local language? If you are going to study, this isn’t such a big issue. But if you are going for work or adventure, be realistic about how much work you
need to do to get your language skills up to scratch before you go.
- Are you comfortable communicating online or by phone? No doubt you’ll have some tough moments where a chat with someone close to you is in order. If you are comfortable reaching out for a video chat, you can rely on your support system at home.
- Do you like trying new foods? If you have a dodgy stomach or an aversion to new foods, you might find living overseas frustrating, depending on where you go. What you consider basic food staples aren’t affordable or available everywhere. While you can bring a year’s supply of tea, food won’t be so easy. If you are a real meat and potato type, you might find Japan or Ethiopia tough places to live.
- How fussy are you about things such as the shower facilities or having familiar cooking appliances? You might be surprised at how much what seems basic can vary around the globe. If you are someone who frequently announces that you can’t live without a particular kitchen gadget, you might want to stay in western Europe.
- Do weather extremes bother you? Check the climate of the places you are considering and don’t assume that the heating or air conditioning options in homes are on par with apartments. Do your research so you don’t end up in a location where you will be miserable for a portion of the year.
If you want to take the ‘new year, new you’ concept to the extreme, a year abroad is an excellent and exciting way to do it. But be prepared. If you go further afield than the UK, you are going to face some real challenges. Think it through carefully, and do some serious research on everyday life in the places you are considering. Then pack up and go off on the adventure of a lifetime! The only guarantee is that you won’t come back unchanged.