Why do Americans Who Have Lived Abroad Describe it as “the Best Experience of My Life”?

image by Willian Justen from Unsplash.com

It’s novel, new, foreign, and thus, exciting

Speaking from experience, each day tends to contain something eye-catching, interesting, novel, or thought-provoking when living abroad. Because you are somewhere foreign, new, and thus, experiencing something exciting, you are also more apt to notice all of these different things that cross your path.

Since it’s outside the boundaries of what you’re used to, your mental antennae is far more poised

Adventuring and living somewhere novel and foreign almost causes you to…sit up and take notice to a greater degree than you would otherwise.

There are moments that are scary, stressful, or uncertain, and these help you grow

Believe it or not, while these experiences are not always enjoyable as they are happening, they are very often fulfilling, satisfying, and result in a good feeling after the fact. Situations will come up that are challenging, anxiety-provoking, or strange. It’s unavoidable when jetting off to and starting a life in a foreign, novel place.

The diversity of friends you will meet will be memorable, inspiring, and sometimes even incredible

When living in Frankfurt over the course of four years, I created close connections with friends who were men and women. My friends were from Germany, France, India, England, America, and Iran. They ranged in age from mid-twenties to being in their sixties.

You will experience more magic

Sitting in a soaring, gothic, breathtaking church and watching a famous boys choir sing chill-inducing Christmas carols (no instruments needed, just their voices echoing throughout and filling the space around you).

You will unearth different sides of yourself

I found myself feeling way happier, lighter, more inspired, buoyed, and more positive. Not all the time, of course. I also had moments in which I felt afraid, or stressed, or lonely. But I found that more often, I felt happier, lighter, and more excited.

You see the world, your home country, and even yourself through new eyes afterward

Knowledge can be depressing. Knowledge can also be uplifting and life-changing. Either way, knowledge is power. You cannot make sound decisions without the most information possible.

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author. www.brookeenglish.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store