Prior to moving abroad, many expats romanticize the life that awaits them.
Many of us envisioned an exotic land, pulsating with boundless adventures. However, upon arriving you realize it’s not all fairies and gold dust.
A multitude of daily challenges face us. Yet, through these daily challenges, we acquire several valuable life skills.
Image: Tuscon Travel
Living abroad keeps you on your toes.
We face unique problems that we don’t encounter back home. Everything from the living environment, business culture, language barriers, and culinary differences challenge us daily.
Regardless of the obstacle, every expat who thrives in their host country has learned to adapt and overcome. Success in a foreign land depends upon adaptability.
Perhaps the speed of life in your host country differs from the speed of life in your home country. For instance, in China people often take a long time to make decisions, and plans tend to change at the blink of an eye.
Also, cross-cultural communication often becomes a long and tedious task, especially if each party lacks proficiency in the other party’s language.
Instead of responding to change with stress or impatience, successful expats learn to take a deep breath and go with the flow.
Many expats move here alone. Chances are you knew nobody, or knew barely anybody, when you arrived. Just hopping on a plane and moving to a new country proves an innate predisposition towards independence. Living abroad only strengthens this trait.
Some expats make the mistake of relying on local friends or colleagues to solve any problem they encounter. By doing this, they miss an invaluable opportunity to grow as a person.
Don’t make this mistake.
Focus on solving problems independently and strengthening your sense of self-reliance.
Working with people from all over the world provides a certain shift of perspective. Sure, we each have our own respective cultures, but at the core we are all the same, regardless of the place we call home.
While living abroad, many expats learn to think globally. Thinking globally entails a non-judgmental approach to dealing with other cultures. It also entails seeing the world from an international perspective, not from the perspective of your home country.
Learning to see the world through a more objective prism and developing a sense of acceptance towards others elevates one’s intellect and standing.
Many expats traveled to the opposite side of the globe to navigate a foreign culture. As mentioned before, this lifestyle acquaints one with many obstacles. But with each challenge you hurdle, you find yourself instilled with more and more confidence, until you look in the mirror and see a stronger person.
Once you return home, life will seem like a breeze, after facing down the many challenges of living abroad.
Image: Reader's Digest