Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Guest post: Why move abroad?

I will be back blogging soon, but, in the meantime, the lovely Edward (ooh the name conjours up vampiric images, doesn't it) from My Dog Ate My Blog has written a guest post! It's a blog created by professionals in the education industry - as they say - "

looking for an outlet for their general creativity and immaturity" - love it!

6 Reasons Everyone Should Live Abroad Just Once

Three years ago I lived for four months in Madrid, Spain, and I still can't stop talking about the experience when I'm with friends or meeting new people. My time living abroad was one of the most eye-opening, dynamic, revelatory, and fun experiences I've ever had, and I can't wait to go do it again sometime soon.

Everyone should go live abroad just once. It will be an experience that will impact the rest of your life and create lasting friendships with people you never would have met otherwise. For anyone who needs convincing, here are six reasons everyone should live abroad just once.
  1. Immerse yourself in a new culture and way of life. It's so easy to become entrenched in a routine and to think your way of life, and the one that others around you share, is the only right way around. Of course, that is simply not true, and really the only way to break out of your tunnel vision is to completely immerse yourself in a different culture and experience their unique way of life.
  2. Learn and perfect a new language. Taking classes around a busy schedule is just not the same. You can cheat with your English when you don't know how to say something, and when you're learning for a class, it's too easy to short-change your education. Living abroad amongst non-English speakers forces you to learn for survival. You'll learn how to talk like the natives, develop an accent, and learn colorful colloquial phrases. For those who already speak a second language well, living abroad for an extended period of time is the only way to perfect your skills and become on par with a native speaker.
  3. Develop a more worldly perspective in a time of increased globalization. The world is getting smaller as more and more people are able to interact and do business from abroad. See first-hand how this new intertwined global network works, and how various ripples in the network have effects on far away places. Living in your home country, you become isolated to how events affect other areas; break out of the shell by living abroad.
  4. See how you and your people are viewed abroad. Being from the United States, it was truly amazing how prevalent our culture was in Spain and how the Spaniards viewed us. The stereotype of the "ugly American" exists, sure, but most people's perspectives are much more complex. Learn the complexities by seeing them first-hand, and then be conscious of how you refute those stereotypes and reinforce them.
  5. Be more than a tourist. Living abroad, you'll find the hole-in-the-wall restaurants and hidden treasures that most tourists miss during their week-long stay. You'll really get to know a town or city and its people and its neighborhoods and its restaurants and its nightlife. You won't just be a "guiri," as they say in Madrid, but a member of the community, and that is much more rewarding.
  6. It'll be the hardest thing you've ever done. Living abroad is a true test of your resolve and your resourcefulness. Packing up your belongings to leave everybody and everything you know and go and live somewhere you've probably never been before and where you may not speak the language is daunting, to say the least. Coming out of it knowing you can do it successfully will boost your confidence and help you realize that you can take on any challenge, anywhere in the world.

1 comment:

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