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What Happens When You Move Abroad?

The big move. We’re not talking about moving out of the family home or moving in with your partner, or even moving interstate. We’re talking about that sabbatical you’ve been dreaming of, that change from the comfortable routine you had set up for yourself. Whether you’re fresh out of school looking for a gap year or thirty-something and wanting a new experience, there are benefits to spending time abroad that you just can’t get from a holiday.

But what does it mean to move abroad? Beyond the sunlit images of cobblestone streets and white curtains billowing in an afternoon breeze, what really happens when you undertake a move as big as this?

It will fundamentally change you

You’ll come to learn things about yourself that you would never have if you had stayed where you were. Being in a foreign environment and learning a new language and culture will bring out qualities you didn’t know you had. You’ll become more adaptable to different situations, perceptive to body language and non-verbal communication cues, and ready to start over, again and again. You’ll re-learn things you’ve always taken for granted – paying bills, going to the post office, filing claim forms – and develop a patience and acceptance that things won’t always go according to plan.

It will change the way you live

The act of condensing everything into a few suitcases or a backpack forces you to cull the clutter from your life. You’ll question whether you really need to pack that fifth white shirt, or those books you bought but never read. Once you realise what you can and can’t live without, you will never go back to accumulating clutter again.

Time zones, bad internet connections and missed Skype calls will also change your relationships back home. Some will fall by the wayside, but consider this as another step in culling back the nine hundred plus friends you have on Facebook.

It will force you out of your comfort zone

We tend to build up places we repeatedly frequent – favourite bars and good coffee shops and the same takeaway order. Moving abroad gives you the perfect chance to try and do things you normally wouldn’t do. By default, you’ll explore new routes home and sample local cuisines and see a foreign film. You’ll almost always be lost – physically, mentally, emotionally – but that thought will no longer scare you.

You’ll develop a sense of adventure

There’s only so much spontaneity you can get up to in a two-week vacation. Moving abroad will instill in you a deep desire to see more than the tourist attractions and an intense dislike for travel itineraries. You’ll be able to experience your new country at your own pace and have the freedom to deviate from schedules and tour guides.

You will be comfortable with being alone

One of the biggest things people don’t tell you about moving abroad is how much time you’ll be spending alone. Unless you’re undertaking the experience with a fellow moving buddy, you’ll spend the majority of those first few weeks and months exploring unfamiliar sights and places on your own. You’ll learn to eat in a restaurant or public place without the aid of a phone or book, see a film on your own, and confidently approach strangers to ask for directions instead of relying on Google Maps. You’ll feel both liberated and empowered.

You’ll realise what’s important in life

Somehow, a missed deadline or a busy work week after experiencing life in a foreign environment won’t ever feel as stressing as it once used to. What’s a deadline in comparison to unearthing your life and moving halfway across the globe? Moving abroad teaches you to adopt big picture thinking and most problems will seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

Looking to head overseas? Contact Hire-A-Box for all your packing needs. Find out more here.

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