Today’s article is written for the Reach To Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival, a monthly series that focuses on providing helpful tips and advice to ESL teachers around the globe. we’ll be posting a new ESL related article on our blog on the 4th of every month. Check back for more articles, and if you’d like to contribute to next month’s Blog Carnival, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll let you know how you can start participating!
Ok, as you know if you’ve read anything on our blog, or even if you’ve only read our title, we live abroad. Taipei, Taiwan to be precise. It is a decision that we regret nothing about and here we will give you five, of the countless, reasons why we believe you should up and move.
1.) Living abroad is the best mirror into yourself. Living a life that is recognizable, steady, sturdy, and safe provides many opportunities to grow, reflect, and gain a greater understanding of yourself. Thus, we do not wish to degrade or devalue such a path in life. But, we do feel that the greatest way to look into your soul, the best way to see your life and who you are more clearly is to step out of your comfort zone and into a place totally out of said comfort zone. Living in a culture, with a people, and in an environment completely different from your own forces you to be uncomfortable. It forces you to live without certain comforts that you may have once had, but, in doing so, creates a love in you for things you never would have had without those losses. It forces you to broaden your tastes in food, music, and social interactions, It forces you to question your beliefs, your culture’s calling cards, and your history in the face of another set of beliefs, another set of cultural calling cards, and another history. Living abroad truly forces you to look into yourself and, consequently, forces you to accept, reject, and alter yourself according to that which you now see more clearly in the mirror.
2.) Living abroad is the true Fountain of Youth. Every person we have met here in Taiwan, as well as living abroad in other locales, has a youthful exuberance and verve towards life and its adventures. We have friends here with birth dates going back to every decade since the 60’s, maybe the 50’s. That’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t matter and it isn’t obvious. People living abroad just love living. Certainly, you can find people that match this description everywhere. But, what we see here is a highly dense and concentrated group of amazing, youthful people who truly seem to love and accept all that living abroad, and living in general give you. Maybe it’s the mirror. Maybe it’s something else. Whatever it is, it is amazing.
3.) In a similar vein, probably not coincidentally, as both numbers one and two above, living abroad inspires a sense of child-like wonder in the world around you. Now, this is something that, if you have read other travelers’ writing and musings, you have probably come across before. We include this here because, well, it is so fucking true. Living in a place totally different than your own does something amazing, it shows you that you know NOTHING. And, guess what? There is NOTHING wrong with that. In fact, the realization that the more you seem to know, the less you actually know is quite inspiring. This is why traveling is so addicting. Once you’ve gotten hooked on the drug that is realizing how little you know about the world, its people, its cultures, etc., you will not be able to turn back. It places you back in a the body of a wide-eyed, curious child and humbles you beyond belief. Ya, it’s that good.
4.) Living abroad pushes you to push yourself and your limits. It is really damn scary moving away from home. It is not something that is normal. People don’t readily accept change, and there is good reason for it. Who knows what will happen once we go outside our comfort zones. This is the greatest barrier holding back people from moving abroad, and from doing anything drastic in life in general. But, once you step over that threshold, once you give that brick wall the finger and crush it, you will be glad you did. Moving half-way around the world from home has changed us. We are now more willing to do that which we love, that which we want to do. Do we know where these decisions will take us? No. But, that is precisely the point. There are no guarantees in this world, even if you sit idle. Thus, we say why not do something crazy? Why not move half-way across the world? Why not follow your dreams?
5.) Finally, in this increasingly globalized and connected world, living abroad makes you a better global citizen. Let’s face it, it is very easy now to just look online and find any number of ideas, beliefs, prejudices, etc. about other places, other cultures, and other people. The hard thing to do is actually meeting those other people, living in those other cultures, and seeing those other places. For this reason, we see how living abroad and traveling abroad really does humanize people, their cultures and the places where they live. People throughout the world, from the Middle East to the Midwest, really want to do one thing: live their lives the best they can with the people they care about the most. This is the single most fundamental part of life within the human race, and too often it is forgotten. But, when you live in a place where almost everyone has a different lens through which they see the world, its affairs, etc., it shows you the relativity of it all. What is the one constant? The desire to live, be loved and to love.
So, in conclusion, if it seems like all five of these things are completely interconnected and are highly similar, it is because they all share a common denominator: life as an expat abroad. Is this list comprehensive? Not even close. What it is is our beliefs and insights into why living abroad makes you a better person and why everyone should do it, or at least try it. Our fellow bloggers taking part in this month’s Reach to Teach Teach Abroad Blog Carnival will doubtless have countless amazing theories, ideas, and beliefs, and we look forward to reading them all.
Any other reasons to add to our list? Share below! And don’t forget to check out the other Reach To Teach blog carnival posts.