Your 20s are messy, confusing but are also a time of self-discoveries and new experiences. So have you ever thought about moving abroad in your 20s? No? Well, we’ve made a list of all the reasons why you should move abroad in your 20s (or 30s, or 40s or 50s…)
Travelling is an enriching experience. You learn about yourself and other culture. With the sad news of Anthony Bourdain’s death a few days ago, it seems appropriate to talk about the importance of travelling. I thought this quote fitted perfectly the topic of this article:
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.” ― Anthony Bourdain
I love travelling. I am lucky enough that I have been able to travel from a young age.
A few years ago I did something very scary. I packed my bags and moved to England to go to university. I didn’t have a single family member or friend in the UK. I had visited London twice before and that was about it. But, I knew that I didn’t want to stay home and go to university in France. I wanted more. I wanted that time of my life to be challenging and difficult.
What made the move easier was that I started university. Therefore, I was going to live in the university halls of residence. I didn’t have to worry about finding a house, paying bills, finding internet etc. It made the transition easier. Most people in the halls had moved away from home for the first time too. We were all in the same boat. In that regards my experience wasn’t any different than the one from someone who came from Bath or Nottingham or even Cardiff. It was just as scary.
It is the best moment of your life
Your 20s are probably the only moment where you don’t have to have any real responsibilities. No mortgage, children, family, bills. You probably aren’t working in a job you love. You are not tied down and are free to go anywhere at a whim. You’ll have plenty of time to worry about long-term things, so for now take advantage of that freedom.
It opens your mind
Living amongst a different culture can be a shock to the system. I know for a fact that coming from Nice in France and moving to Reading in England was quite a difference. Suddenly it wasn’t sunny, the food wasn’t the same and the sea had disappeared. I was in what I felt a tiny grey English town. Even going to the supermarket some days made me sad. Wherever you move at first everything looks foreign, thus making you feel lonely. It definitely felt isolating at times. But at the same time, it broadens your perspectives. You learn how to get used to new things and to adapt. I much more respectful when someone is struggling to make themselves understood, and for anyone that is foreign in a country.
It will give you independence and make you braver
You will have to learn to fend for yourself abroad. But, this will make you a stronger, independent individual for the rest of your life. It contributes to your personal development. Of course, at times it is challenging. I felt homesick and lonely but I pushed through. I graduated and I found a part-time job ( it wasn’t my dream job but it was still something ). I’m so much more confident and independent than I was when I left France. I know I can rely on myself and am capable of a lot. It’s safe to say that nothing compares to the feeling you get when you realise you’ve built a life for yourself.
At first, everything will seem hard and complicated. Getting out of your comfort zone and learning about new things is a good thing. The first few weeks, you’ll probably be terrified and might cry a few times (which is fine and healthy) but after a while, when you’ve finally settled in you will feel so proud of yourself for all the things you’ve accomplished. You will acquire still that are essential in your adult life. It can also give you an advantage when you look for a job – it shows that you are determined and resourceful.
It helps you understand yourself
Being far away from your friends and family will allow you to have a fresh start. You can drop the mask and get out of the box you’re often placed in a a youngster. At school, I was the shy, timid girl who never did anything wrong but when I left for England no one knew me, and therefore they didn’t have any expectations. I realised that I was actually funny and not so shy. It is truly a freeing experience. It gives a chance to really look inside yourself and even reinvent yourself. Free from restrictions you’ll be able to discover what truly makes you happy. During those three years at university, I learned some much about myself. I grew up.
To quote Taylor Swift in our 20s, “We’re happy free confused and lonely at the same time”. So what are you waiting for? Book that one-way ticket!