Before I moved to Spain, I naively thought that it wouldn’t be as hard as they say. I wasn’t fully aware of the experience that awaited me and how much living abroad can change you in a blink of an eye. How suddenly forces you to be much more independent than ever and opens tabs in your mind you haven’t known before. You start to see your experiences with the eyes of mixed daily emotions. No matter where you are from and where you decided to mark your next chapter, living abroad surprises every expat. All of it, to never stop learning.
These are the top 8 strengths I found the most important:
1. Independence / Self-reliance
Packing your life up to one or two suitcases isn’t easy. But there is no way back and you are fully on your own far away from your home. Only by relying on your skills, strength, knowledge and huge courage, you gain confidence in independent choices and actions that nobody else can take for you. You start to trust yourself by realizing your own needs, inner voice and intuition, which converts and applies to your professional and emotional experience.
2. Creativity / Problem-solving
Every place on Earth is unlike. Different cultures or traditions, habits or routines. You need to adapt by looking for creative ways of helping yourself to solve many, many problems with housing, papers, residence, credit cards, employee papers, visas, medical help or not knowing the language. It really teaches you to get into the system by being fully aware of your all actions.
3. Determination / Patience
You notice how feelings guide you. How patient you become standing the many irresponsible answers, silent calls or different ways of thinking. How determined you can be to get what you want, even if it means getting up from your bed at 5 am to a boring 9-5 job. The discovery of how oftentimes many places require a comeback not even once, but six times, gives you a headache and anxiety. No one understands how frustrating is to fight for what you want or believe in.
4. Better communication skills
The differences that you may struggle with in your daily activities open your mind and help you read and understand other people’s actions. You listen and see more, which helps you gain confidence and self-esteem. You become empathetic, respectful and non-judgemental even without getting a full picture of a situation.
5. New language development
Being a foreigner and deciding to move to another country without prior language preparation is an act of great courage. Struggling with learning accents, words and cultural differences at the same time develops the brain incredibly. The existing barrier from the fear of speaking to speaking without translating the word in your mind is a sign of your willingness to grow. This really makes you a hero in the eyes of many people, even if you do not know that yet.
6. Adaptivity / Awareness
Being in your comfort zone doesn’t require anything – just being there is enough. But something in your heart wanted the unknown. The spark that became a flame of your ambition woke you up. Stepping out of your comfort zone helped you understand every emotion you face as you try to adapt to a place your mind has never seen before. Fear is bigger, but it becomes your friend you cannot live without.
Being in your own country everything seemed to be so easy. Everything was within the reach of your hand. Simple rules, no worries. Suddenly, the knowledge of the culture and labour law in the place you live in makes you think you know nothing. Everything is different, unknown, messed up and legally incomprehensible. The rules you might know do not adapt to a new place. As a full-time employee, you gain extensive legal knowledge. It makes you aware that you can read employment contracts much more carefully and negotiate your rights and even salary.
8. Gaining a global mindset
You realize you are from nowhere and everywhere. You respect every culture and belief. Curiosity led you to recognise your values and biases. You have friends all over the world and you better understand their thinking about the cultural place where they were born. You simply become an inspirational leader from your own inner experience that never wants to stop growing and gaining experience.
What do you think?
Do you agree with these points? Are you on your journey yet or are you planning to move abroad?