Categorized | Expat Life

10 Reasons to Pack Up and Move Abroad

I have lived as en expat in South Korea for 9 months now, and it has been amazing.  At this point, I can’t really imagine anything else.  I think Americans don’t take advantage of living, or even traveling long term, abroad.  So here are 10 reasons why everyone should pack up and move abroad.

#1 – Experience a New Culture – One of the best things about living abroad is being immersed in a different culture.  To me this is when you can learn a lot about others and yourself.

#2 – Try New Foods – Sure you can get Korean (or any other country for that matter) food back home, but its just not the same.  You get the full flavors and freshness of the country in which you live and nothing can replace that.

#3 – Learn About Yourself – I have learned more about myself in my 9 months abroad than any other time in my life.  It truly is a rewarding experience.

#4 – Gain a New Perspective – Living abroad has taught me a lot, not only about me, others, where I came from, but also where I want to go and who I want to be.  You get the chance to look at things from a different angle which can be beneficial in so many ways.

#5 – Meet Different People – I have met people from all over the world living abroad.  I not only learn about where they come from, but how they think and look at things.  It just really adds to the experience of living overseas that isn’t something you can always get back home.

#6 – Explore – I have had ample time to explore Korea.  More time than I would have had if I came to visit for 2 weeks, and that has given me the chance to not only feel at home but learn even more about the people here.

#7 – Travel – Living abroad has not only given me the chance to see Korea up close, but also the chance to see other countries around it as well.

#8 – Learn to be More Independent – Living far away from home forces you to become more independent.  Sure I have a network of friends here to help me if I need it, but its nothing like I would have back home.  Not to say you don’t need that, because you do.  But sometimes its good to get out on your own and learn for yourself not relying on someone else.

#9 – See Home Differently – Living in another country gives you a new angle to look at your own home country.  Whether that is good or bad I guess depends on where you are from, but you gain a new perspective on what you left behind and if its really worth going back to or not.

#10 – Help Your Career – With our world becoming a global economy, living and working abroad looks good to future employers.  They can see you were able to handle the difficulties associated with living and working in a different culture.

Granted living abroad is not for everyone.  It is difficult for many people to leave behind what they have back home.  I feel I was one of the lucky ones.  I had nothing really keeping me at home, and I had a supportive family behind me.  Without that I don’t know if I would have been able to come, but this is easily one of the best things I have done in my life.  I will always look back on this first year as one of the most influential, and I look forward to more time spent abroad whether that is here in Korea or elsewhere.

So what are you waiting for?

Busan, South Korea

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About Eric Bynum
I taught ESL for three years in South Korea and now I am looking to set out on a new journey after just finishing my teaching certification in the US. I hope to continue teaching and traveling and you can follow his journeys here.

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5 Responses to “10 Reasons to Pack Up and Move Abroad”

  1. Casey Friday says:

    Do you think you’ll end up just staying there? I’m going on a RTW with my girlfriend next year, and I feel like we’re going to find somewhere awesome along the way and just decide to stay there.

    It just seems like all of the awesome things you experience while traveling far away from home would be motivators to keep experiencing them.

  2. admin says:

    I don’t plan to stay here forever, but I don’t plan to leave here anytime soon. I am going home for a quick visit later this year and then coming out to work again. Good Luck on your trip and the search for a place to wind up.

  3. Eric,

    I took my first extended trip abroad about 10 years ago and had the same reaction as you. There’s something about placing yourself in a new culture, away from the familiar, that makes you question previously held assumptions and learn more about yourself. I think the US is badly lacking in understanding of the world outside our borders. I wonder how many wars and international misadventures the US could have avoided if more of our leaders (and voters!) had learned another language, befriended the locals and stayed in a small family-run hostel or pension instead of a cookie-cutter resort hotel.

    A few years ago I joined with like-minded friends to start Global Exploration for Educators Organization (“GEEO”), a nonprofit that promotes international awareness by sending American schoolteachers on educational tours to developing countries. I’d encourage you to browse our website and would be grateful if you could link to it here and there, as it seems we are on the same mission.

    Happy travels,

    Zachary Klughaupt
    Sao Paulo, Brazil

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