I’ve learned a lot in life, traveling, living abroad, just in the school of life.”

Ronaldo, Athlete

Pros and Cons of Moving Abroad

advantages and disadvantages of living in a foreign country

Moving abroad is a dream of many people all over the world. Many people want to explore new cultures and may also want to work in foreign countries.

However, apart from the many advantages of living abroad, there are also some problems related to it. In this article, the pros and cons of moving abroad are discussed.

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Advantages of Moving Abroad

  1. Moving abroad gives you the opportunity to experience new cultures
  2. You can make many new friends
  3. Living abroad may greatly improve your overall quality of life
  4. You can really grow in character
  5. You can study abroad
  6. You can work in a different country
  7. You will learn to take care of yourself
  8. Living abroad will show you the relativity of the world
  9. You can learn a new language
  10. Moving abroad can make sense if you want a new start in your life
  11. Gives you the opportunity to try new foods
  12. You will learn to adapt to many new things
  13. Moving abroad can give you a boost in confidence
  14. You may be able to work as a volunteer
  15. Unforgettable memories
  16. Living abroad gives you the opportunity to travel a lot
  17. You can expand your knowledge

Moving abroad gives you the opportunity to experience new cultures

One important advantage of living abroad is that you can get to know new cultures and ways of life. If you live in other regions for a sufficiently long time, you will soon realize that people often live their lives in a much different manner compared to what you were used to in your home country. This is especially true if you move to a rather exotic country.

Although you may feel a little bit uncomfortable at first, those new cultural experiences are priceless and give you the opportunity to really expand your horizon so that you can better understand how the world works.

You can make many new friends

When you move abroad, you will also meet many new people over time. Depending on where you want to move, you can meet many tourists or also other people who decided that they want to move abroad and leave their home country. Moreover, when you get sufficient knowledge of the local language, you will also have the opportunity to make many new friends among locals.

Hence, moving abroad also gives you the opportunity to make many new connections and some of those connections will last for a quite long time or even for your whole life. Even if you move back to your home country at one point in time, you can stay in contact with your friends from all over the world through social media.

Living abroad may greatly improve your overall quality of life

Many people also move abroad since they want to improve their overall quality of life. This is especially true for people who had been borne in rather poor developing countries and who want to get out of poverty by migrating to countries that offer them better job and income prospects.

In such a case, living abroad can make quite a lot of sense since people may get the chance for a much better life due to that.

You can really grow in character

Moving abroad can also really help you to develop your own character. You will be confronted with numerous new experiences over time and have to learn how to handle them in a proper manner. Moreover, you will also have to adjust to the local cultural and social norms, which can be quite strange at the beginning.

Yet, over time, making all these experiences can give you a real boost in emotional development and can help you in various parts of your future life.

You can study abroad

If you currently study in your home country and want to see something different while you are still young, chances are that studying abroad may also be a great way to go for you.

Many students love to spend a semester abroad since there are so many new things to explore and it is also quite exciting to spend a semester away from your home.

If you want to learn more about doing a semester abroad, make sure that you also check out all the advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad.

You can work in a different country

If you are already out of college and currently work in a big corporation, you may also have the opportunity to work abroad for an extensive period of time. In fact, many international corporations have branches abroad and if you really want to see different things in life, working abroad can give you the opportunity to make a change and to experience new work styles, cultures and colleagues.

Hence, if you are interested in working abroad, you may want to talk to your boss and ask him whether this is possible for you in the future.

You will learn to take care of yourself

Another benefit of living abroad is that you will have to learn how to take care of yourself. In fact, there will be nobody who supports you in foreign countries and you will have to figure out how to manage your daily life on your own. All this may feel quite overwhelming at first, yet you will learn quite a lot in the long run.

Over time, you will no longer need anyone taking care of you since you will develop a sort of independency spirit, meaning that you will no longer need anybody taking care of you.

This can give you a great level of freedom since you know that you can manage your problems by yourself and that you don’t have to rely on other people anymore.

Living abroad will show you the relativity of the world

When you move to another country, you will also learn how relative the world really is. You will realize that what you had been used to at home is just a single way of life besides many other lifestyles you still even don’t know yet. We often make the mistake to think that our cultural values and our way of life are the best way to go.

In fact, our lifestyle is just a set of cultural and social norms, which are rather arbitrary and by no means sophisticated at all. It is important to realize all of this since it makes us much more tolerant towards other lifestyles and other cultural values, which can contribute to more peace on a global scale.

You can learn a new language

Another upside of moving abroad is that you can also learn a new language. While it may be hard at the beginning, learning new languages can be quite a lot of fun and it is also quite important to speak the local language in order to make social connections.

Hence, if you have difficulties with learning new languages, you may get a language buddy who can practice with you on a regular basis even before you move to a new country so that you already have a basic knowledge of the language once you arrive.

Moving abroad can make sense if you want a new start in your life

Some people are also quite fed up with their lives back home and just want to make a change. This can be due to a divorce or also due to other life-changing events. Consequently, if you are currently not happy with your life and want to make a change, why not moving to another country and start a new life there?!

Especially if you don’t have too many friends or other social connections in your home country, chances are that you will not have too much to lose anyways.

Gives you the opportunity to try new foods

Moving abroad also gives you the opportunity to try many different new foods. In fact, even though you have many different restaurants in big cities which offer you food from various parts of our world, those dishes are often not original.

Hence, if you really want to taste the food as they make it in foreign countries, you have to travel to those places and try this food in restaurants that are mainly frequented by the general public.

You will learn to adapt to many new things

Living in a foreign country also implies that you will have to adapt to many different things. Especially if you move to a rather exotic country, chances are that you will not be used to the cultural values there.

In fact, moving abroad also implies that you adapt to those new cultural values and social norms in order to become a valued member of society, even though you might not be comfortable with those traditions and values at all.

Adapting to new things is crucial to succeed in our current state of the world since everything is changing so fast and adapting to new circumstances is crucial to stay competitive in the long run.

Hence, moving abroad can also greatly help you to increase your level of flexibility and your ability to adapt, which can give you an edge in various parts of your life.

Moving abroad can give you a boost in confidence

Living abroad can also help you to increase your overall level of confidence. Many people in our nowadays society are quite afraid to try new things that are not in line with what they are told is the right thing to do. Yet, if you live your life like that, you will never be able to really develop your character since you don’t live your life like you want to but rather comply with the rules of our society instead.

In turn, your confidence level will also suffer quite a lot since you will never really find yourself. However, if you move abroad, you will really figure out who you really are and this will give you a great boost of confidence since you will be more likely to find your true path and purpose in life.

You may be able to work as a volunteer

If you earned good money in your job for many years and are financially free, you may also consider to volunteer. There are still many poor people on our planet who urgently need help in order to survive and to improve their overall living conditions. Hence, if you have the financial capabilities, why not go volunteering abroad for a while?!

Unforgettable memories

Moving abroad can also provide you with many unforgettable memories. For many people, going abroad is one of the most exciting experiences of their lives and if you are a person who always wants to see new things, moving abroad can be a great way to satisfy this need.

Living abroad gives you the opportunity to travel a lot

If you live abroad, you will also have the opportunity to travel around. You can make many short trips on the weekends and explore many new places. Over time, you will become a real expert for the local attractions and you may even want to work as a tour guide later on in order to share this knowledge with others.

You can expand your knowledge

In general, moving abroad will also greatly improve your knowledge in various areas of your daily life. Many people will live their lives at home with a rather narrow mindset and think that their way of life is superior to all other lifestyles. However, through living abroad, you will know better!

In fact, it is quite important to realize how relative life really is in order to increase the overall tolerance in our global society. Once you learned that, you can also spread this important knowledge to others in order to multiply your positive impact.

Disadvantages of Living Abroad

  1. Living abroad can be expensive
  2. Cultural shocks
  3. Foreigners may not be welcome
  4. Homesickness is a problem of moving abroad
  5. You will leave your friends behind
  6. Communication issues
  7. You may feel lost
  8. Anxiety that moving abroad was the wrong decision
  9. Some people get stuck abroad
  10. Moving abroad may get you into financial problems
  11. The grass is not always greener on the other side
  12. May be harder to find a partner if you move abroad
  13. Bureaucracy can be annoying

Living abroad can be expensive

Although there are many benefits of moving abroad, living in a foreign country can also have several important problems. One disadvantage of living abroad is that it can be quite expensive.

Especially if you come from a rather poor home country and want to move abroad to the rich Western world, everything will be quite expensive for you and your savings will be gone soon.

In such a case, you will have to make sure to find work quite soon in order to be able to cover your costs abroad.

Cultural shocks

Many people also experience some sort of cultural shock when they move to other countries. Sure, this also depends on the country you move to. If the country has similar cultural values like you are familiar to back home, chances are that you will not suffer from a cultural shock at all.

However, if you move to an exotic country that has quite different cultural norms and social values, chances are that you will have difficulties adapting to those new circumstances and some people may not get happy abroad since they will not be able to identify with those new values.

Foreigners may not be welcome

Another problem with moving abroad is that foreigners will also not be welcome in some regions of our planet. While locals in most countries are quite friendly towards people with other nationalities, there are also some regions where the local population is rather skeptical towards strangers.

Hence, if you move to another country, make sure that you choose a destination where people really welcome you.

Homesickness is a problem of moving abroad

Homesickness is another issue that can come along with moving to another country. Even though many people feel that they have a better future abroad, they will still often miss the amenities in their home country and many people will get homesick over time.

Especially if you have never been away from your home for a longer period of time, homesickness can become a big problem and some people will simply not be able to deal with this issue in a proper manner.

You will leave your friends behind

For many people, leaving their family and their friends behind is one of the hardest parts of moving abroad. We as humans are social creatures and get attached to people in a rather short period of time. In turn, this also implies it will be quite hard for you to leave your loved ones and to start a new life abroad.

Communication issues

Another downside of living abroad is that many people also suffer from serious communication problems. Many people just move to another country without even knowing the local language. This can lead to serious problems since if you are not able to communicate in a proper manner, you will also not be able to find a good job, to make enough money and so on.

Hence, if you want to move abroad, definitely make sure that you learn the local language way in advance so that you can facilitate your life abroad quite a lot.

You may feel lost

When you move abroad, everything is new and you will have to adapt to so many new things in a rather short period of time. In turn, many people will feel lost since they are just overwhelmed by all those new impressions.

Consequently, factor in that you may also feel lost at the beginning if you move abroad and don’t let this discourage you. In the long run, everything will normalize and you will also learn from those new experiences quite a lot.

Anxiety that moving abroad was the wrong decision

Many people really look forward to moving abroad. Yet, when they finally made the step, they often suffer from a great level of anxiety regarding whether it was the right decision to move abroad or not.

Hence, make sure that you take enough time to figure out if living abroad is the right thing to do for you before you make this life-changing step in order to avoid any unpleasant consequences.

Some people get stuck abroad

Moving abroad in a successful manner also implies some level of planning. Yet, many people are not prepared well at all when they move and some of them may get stuck at a place they rather don’t want to be in.

For instance, some people who move abroad will not have any savings at all and when they finally move abroad and don’t find a job, they may no longer be able to pay their rent and may end up homeless in the streets.

At this point, they may be stuck since it is quite hard to get out of homelessness.

Moving abroad may get you into financial problems

Many people also underestimate the true costs of moving abroad. Living abroad can be costly. Depending on where you want to live, rents may be much higher compared to your home country.

Also expenses for things of your daily life may be significantly higher and you should inform yourself about the costs of living before you decide to move to the respective country in order to avoid getting into financial problems.

The grass is not always greener on the other side

Many people also often think that their life back home is quite bad and that they have to make a change. However, when they move to other countries, those people often realize that this does not solve their problems.

In fact, it may make their problems even worse and many people underestimate how good they really have it in their home country, especially if their home country belongs to the rich Western world.

Hence, make sure to figure out whether your quality of life would really increase in a foreign country before making this big step.

May be harder to find a partner if you move abroad

If you are a stranger in a foreign country, it will also not be easy for you to find a partner. Especially if you haven’t learned the local language yet, chances are that you will have communication problems, which can prevent you to find a partner.

Bureaucracy can be annoying

Bureaucracy is not only a problem in our home countries, it also exists in many other countries all over the world. Hence, if you think you can escape bureaucracy by moving abroad, you may get quite disappointed when you realize that bureaucracy will also be present in foreign countries. Sometimes, it may even be worse compared to your home country.

Top 10 Living Abroad Pros & Cons – Summary List

Living Abroad ProsLiving Abroad Cons
Living abroad can expand your horizonMoving to a foreign country can be costly
You can make unforgettable experiencesLanguage barriers
Moving abroad can increase your confidenceLocals may not like you
Living abroad can teach you new social normsYou may suffer from homelessness
You can learn about interesting culturesProblems to find a partner
You may want to study abroadSome people feel lost abroad
Moving abroad can boost your careerYou have to leave your friends behind
You will learn to take care of yourselfSome people get stuck in foreign countries
You can volunteer in foreign countriesCan lead to financial problems
You learn how to adaptGrass is not always greener on the other side

Should You Move Abroad?

As we can see from the previous discussion, there are numerous advantages and disadvantages to moving abroad.

In my opinion, moving abroad can be a great opportunity if you want to start a new chapter in your life.

However, make sure that you evaluate all the pros and cons of living abroad yourself before making your final decision.

Sources

https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandratalty/2018/05/31/the-12-things-every-expat-needs-to-do-before-moving-abroad/#3ec19c86b6b7

https://www.goabroad.com/articles/jobs-abroad/moving-abroad-for-work-like-a-champ

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/15/smarter-living/how-to-move-abroad.html?ref=oembed

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.

As I went to university and got my Master’s degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.

After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.

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