How Living Abroad Changed My Life

Living abroad

9 months living abroad. Crazy, right? People tell me all the time how brave I must be, how they wish they could do it, and how inspirational I am. While getting comfortable in a new culture and foreign language are huge changes in themselves, I’ve changed more in my American life than I expected.

I’m more motivated

I always say stereotypes are rooted in truth. That being said, I was the stereotypically lazy American. I always did just enough to get by. Living abroad changed that. Day to day life is exciting and adventurous – you can’t escape it! I gained a new thirst for life, and got in the habit of seeking out excitement and adrenaline.

I seek challenge

While on that subject, challenge was always something that I avoided. Living abroad, I’ve come to see how easy the American life is, and it’s become boring. Now, sitting in front of the TV and skating through life isn’t enough for me – I did a pretty decent job of conquering a foreign culture, so what else can I accomplish?

I’m more aware of culture

I’ve written already about how I appreciate my own culture more after leaving it. Living abroad also did another thing: it gave me an objective appreciation for culture. I can see how different cultures aren’t actually all that different; yes, we Americans are known to be ignorant, but there are stupid people no matter where you go. I see cultural quirks that people don’t realize, even in my own culture.

I’m social

I’m generally a pretty quiet, introverted person. Depending on my mood, I might not do very well in social situations. However, after living abroad, where I had to confront (and conquer) both my social awkwardness and a language barrier, coming back home and talking to people in English is a piece of cake! I have no excuses to shy away from conversation now, and being reminded of this new-found skill every once in a while is a real confidence booster!


  1. Good point about motivation. I’ve only been away 6 weeks and have had the same conversations about being brave, inspirational etc. I didn’t really think it was either of those things – it was about grasping an opportunity. But yes about motivation – especially when it comes to meeting you new people & putting yourself out there a bit more.

  2. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes I think of my move from Missouri to NYC like this. It is a definite change in culture and I grew so much from this move. Sometimes you have to take that big leap. Unfortunately now I am stuck here and can’t get myself to consider leaving.

    • I don’t think it sounds silly it all! Change is change. You don’t have to move across the world to change. I’m glad you’re happy where you are now 🙂

  3. I love this post, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Now living abroad, I am so much more motivated to get out there and explore. To meet people and really get to know a place. Which in turn makes you more social. I think this is a fantastic post.

    • Thank you so much, I’m glad you understand what I’m saying! I can’t be bothered with the same old same old anymore after such an exciting lifestyle was my everyday.

  4. We’ve been debating a move ourselves and I’d been concentrating so much on the technical things that I hadn’t thought about how much it could improve me! This was interesting to read.

  5. I’m about to move abroad and I feel I am about to experience this. There are people that say that you are the same doesn’t matter where you go, I definitely think your surroundings help yo shape you.

    • I believe the core of your personality stays the same wherever you go, but smaller characteristics change. My fear of talking to people, for example, is completely different!

  6. I can agree with all of your points 🙂 I lived abroad as well, and it truly did change me. I think the sense of independence you get from living so far away from home all on your own is an incredible feeling !:)

  7. Great to read about your experience. I have been living away from my home country (England) for about 3 years now. It definitely has ups and downs and agree it makes you appreciate your home country more. It’s also a great way to develop yourself and learn about other cultures and lifestyles.

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