When I first started talking about the idea of moving overseas I got quite a bit of negative feedback, which I anticipated due to the fact that Americans are so against doing anything with your life before you get a degree. Well, as usual, I wasn’t too keen on taking the same path that every single one of my friends and peers were taking. I wanted to make my own path. It wasn’t always an easy path, there were moments of loneliness where I looked myself in the mirror and asked myself “Why did you do this to yourself, why couldn’t you’ve been normal”. Thankfully those moments didn’t last very long before I’d find myself hiking a mountain with breathtaking views, meeting the friendly people of Cambridge, or getting a cuppa with a stranger I had only just met who would end up becoming a dear friend. My life has drastically changed for the better since moving to Middle Earth, New Zealand and if I had a chance to redo this year, I wouldn’t change a thing. Now, here’s a list of reasons why I think YOU should move overseas as well.
ONE: You will gain a new understanding of the world.
It’s impossible not to see the world in a new way after living abroad. I also see the impact my homeland has made on the countries in which I have lived and visited. I see the US itself in a totally different way than I used to – for both the good and the bad.
TWO: Some epic stories.
I’ve been traveling internationally since a young age and I have to admit, almost all of my best stories are in another country. Some of these stories are so unreal, most people don’t really believe me when I tell them. Those stories will stick with me for the rest of my life and the best part of living overseas is that I get to continue making stories with people in other countries.
I think this one has been one of the biggest accomplishments of mine over these past years abroad. I’ve grown a backbone. Sometimes you’re in another country and someone tries to take advantage of you because they know you’re a foreigner, you can’t let that happen. You must stick up for yourself, speak up and use your voice.
Freedom to become who you really want to be. Back home in Minnesota, USA, most of the people who know me, have known me since I was in nappies. They know pretty much everything about me. They assume that I’ll stay that same 13 year old girl forever, but I’m a grown woman now, a woman who knows the kind of person she wants to be in life. Moving to a place where no one knows who you are means you can truly become the person you’ve always wanted to be without anyone critiquing and criticizing you.
FIVE: Material possessions do not equal happiness.
This is something I realized from a very young age, which my mother hated because whenever I got grounded from something I never really cared. But I’m quite happy for the fact that possessions are not that important to me. There are certain things that I don’t travel without; phone, laptop, and camera. But even without those three things, I still manage to have the most incredible time. I came to New Zealand with one suitcase. I knew that I didn’t need much to survive, I didn’t need a make up box the size of a car, I didn’t need to bring all of my clothes from home, and I didn’t need to bring all of those odds and ends that just appear in your house. You can be happy without a house full of items, you really can.
SIX: You’ll learn social skills.
I’m an introvert. But once you really get to know me, you’ll come to realize (quite quickly) that I am an extrovert. Which makes the first “meeting” period quite difficult to get to know new people. This is something I’ve definitely had to really work on this past year. But I threw myself right into the swing of things in Cambridge and have made lifelong friends here and some who have become like family to me. You learn how to interact with people who are from a very different culture than you and see how these friendships will be so different from the ones you have back home.
SEVEN: You become adaptable.
This one is a MUST. When moving to another country, you have to adapt to that specific culture. I’m not saying you have to have the same beliefs that that specific country has but for instance, I learned about the Maori culture literally hours after entering the country and it helped me get an understanding of the people I would be living and working alongside for the coming year. One of my favorite laws in New Zealand, or lack there of, is the fact that I don’t have to wear shoes if I don’t want to. I absolutely detest shoes and have since I was little, and during the summer months I don’t think I wore shoes once, aside from when I would workout. I walked into the supermarket, my favorite sushi shop, and cafes all without shoes. No one even bat an eye. I’ve seen people take their shoes off before entering a store. Can you imagine if I tried doing that in the States?
Well, I have plenty more reasons as to why you should live overseas at least once in your lifetime, but I think that’s enough reading material for now. Let me know what you think, would love to hear from you!
“And suddenly you just know…
It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings”