Traveling is one of many reasons to move abroad. After graduating from undergrad, and having the urge to travel the world, I packed my bags and moved for a year. I have never been the same since.
However, traveling is just the beginning.
There are other life-changing things about living outside your home country too . But, it’s not an opportunity that most are able to do. The process and ability to move abroad is an immense privilege that no expat should take lightly. While I’ve had this privilege to call Spain and Germany (Berlin) “home” at various points of my life, it takes work.
Thus it’s no surprise people ask, “what are reasons to move to another country?”
Well, there are many reasons why you should move abroad! And if you ask me, those who can should do it at least once. It enhances both your outlook on and quality of life. Yet, I understand it may take some extra convincing. I truly believe that moving abroad is worth it. So, I want to break down 18 reasons to move to another country.
Learn a new language
There are roughly 6,500 languages spoken around the world. When you move abroad, you can learn one (or more)! The best way to learn a language is to fully immerse yourself. You can pack up your life and relocate to Brazil to learn Portuguese, Mexico to learn Spanish, or Kenya to learn Swahili (just to name a few). This will help you better navigate your new home, job, and connect with people to build community. It is also a rewarding feeling to communicate with someone in their language instead of your own.
Experience another culture
Language-learning is just one aspect of living in a new culture. My first week living in Logroño I learned I didn’t have to work because there was a wine festival! When you move to another country, you get to experience aspects of a culture you may have never interacted with before. There are other aspects to embrace such as trying new (to you) foods and celebrating the country’s holidays. Remember to avoid comparisons and ethnocentrist behavior. Just embrace the newness of it all and enjoy.
Increase your overall quality of life
Depending on where you’re coming from, moving abroad may be necessary to live a better life. While there is a definitive difference between expats, immigrants, and refugees, I believe everyone deserves a good quality of life. However, sometimes where we’re born does not cut it. Moving abroad can change that for many people. You may have more time for exercise or fresh food may be cheaper. It can provide unimaginable freedom to just be and exist the way you want. It is also one of the advantages of living abroad.
See how another country operates
When you move abroad long-term you live and learn more about a country. Being in another country can mean you learn what works well, or what doesn’t, in your own. From education to the work culture, you can’t help be in tune with what’s going on. This awareness can provide an opportunity for you to see a new way of living you weren’t exposed to before. Many times, for the better.
To challenge yourself
Leaving your home country and moving abroad where you know no one is not easy. Between the paperwork, finding an apartment, booking the flight, etc. there are some character-defining moments. Challenging yourself to do the unthinkable is tough, but in the end it’s worth it. You may discover the challenges lead to improved opportunities overall.
Restart, jumpstart, or switch your career
If you are looking for a career change, moving to another country could be good for you. A career pivot is a prime opportunity to go and live elsewhere. This is actually one of the most popular reasons to move abroad! And, there are many work abroad opportunities to consider too. Look into international fellowship programs for inspiration!
More balance and a lower cost of living
Remember that quality of life point above? Well picking a cheaper destination links to that too. For expats, finances is one of the top reasons to move abroad. As someone with student loan debt, this is a major reason for many of my peers in the U.S. Many of us move abroad to work and live a lifestyle to be comfortable and pay off loans. Yet, this is not always the norm and some just want to live cheaply on a beach. No judgment here as you determine what happiness looks like to you.
Meet new people and build community
Relationships and community building can enhance anyone’s quality of life. One of the coolest parts of moving abroad is meeting people across cultures. At any given time you can be surrounded by people of 3 or 4 different nationalities. Other days, you can be around people speaking 3 different languages. An international friend group can be one of the best learning experiences when you move abroad.
Trying new foods is a top reason to move abroad
I’m a die hard foodie and so it is a highlight of all my adventures! Moving to a new destination means you can taste new foods. Each country has their own flavor (literally), so some food experiences are once in a lifetime. In some destinations you can devour delicious fruits and vegetables you don’t have at home. Just be careful if you have sensitive allergies…
Possibly find love and partner
Getting to know a new destination means getting to know new people. You hear those love stories of people meeting in hostels or in cafes. They can be so random! While this has not happened to me, I have seen it happen. Don’t count it out, even if this isn’t your priority. You never know what possibilities of love and partnership can be in the air.
Realize what you truly value in life
To move to another country means to learn more about who you are as a person. Likes and dislikes you didn’t know existed can emerge. You can find out what you value in your work environment, personal life, night life, and more. We don’t know what we don’t know, and living abroad can help us figure it out. Getting out of our comfort zone helps us with that!
Experience another work culture
Living in Spain taught me the beauty of rest. I think experiencing another work culture teaches you what the country values – the hustle, rest, or both. Each country has their own way of operating and you often have to adapt. Greetings, meeting style, work hours, etc. may vary. To this day, I wish the U.S would adopt some form of a siesta. It was always worth it and one of my favorite cultural differences!
Live outside your comfort zone
Another of many reasons to live abroad is to live outside your comfort zone. Are you someone who loves to try new things? Do you like to put yourself out there? Living abroad presents an experience for a new adventure every day. Whether meeting locals or learning a language, the opportunities are out there. If this describes you, moving abroad may be for you too.
Deepen your understanding of multicultural living
Most of the time, being around people who look, think, and act like you is comforting. But occasionally you may want to mix it up! To move abroad to international destinations such as London or Berlin means you have a mix of everybody. However, some destinations have more people from different backgrounds than others. So, if this is important to you, choose wisely as many countries can be homogenous.
Network and build your confidence
Moving abroad is a BOLD move. It takes some courage because you are leaving your community behind. In order to truly feel like part of your new home, you need to put yourself out there. Moving abroad can help you become more confident as you build that community. Meeting new people as you’re out, at work, and at events is the name of the game. Consider taking classes based on your interests, volunteering, or playing a sport to meet others.
Make yourself more employable
If you decide to move abroad, you will probably work abroad too. Getting job experience in a new country, language, etc. shows remarkable versatility. It also shows you’re adaptable, a critical thinker, and not afraid to learn new skills for the job. Not everyone can live internationally, let alone work. But if you can up and move your life, you can handle some simple paperwork at a 9 to 5. ProFellow has tons of international opportunities for you to choose from.
You’ll travel and see the world
This is a given, right? One of the primary reasons to move abroad is to travel. Some people move to experience new adventures on a different continent, others to a different country. Part of the thrill of living and staying abroad is you have an extended vacation. If you are a slow traveler, or want to work abroad more permanently, your next step needs to be planning for that move.
Create new memories
Moving abroad can show you new possibilities and ways of living. I still remember all the ups and downs of my time spent living abroad. From teaching 3 year olds Spanish to sleeping in airports to save money, the memories are endless. I don’t regret any of them and I will cherish them forever in my mind (and journal).
So, are these enough reasons to move abroad?
Though it can require lots of patience and planning, living and moving abroad is possible!
The reasons why people move abroad vary, but most are linked to a better quality of life. From more accessible health options to language learning, moving abroad presents new opportunities. As someone who has done it, I 100% support it. So if you are considering it, what are you waiting for? Start searching where and how you can move abroad too. The world is waiting for you to see it. All you have to do is prepare and go. Good luck.
Looking for opportunities to move and work abroad? Check out some international fellowships to get started here!