The thought of leaving one’s home comforts to live abroad can be a scary prospect for young people. However, embracing a new country for a year or more can be an invaluable life experience. Whether you want to improve your language skills, discover a new culture or simply find your inner ‘self’, living abroad could be the perfect solution.
Lessons in a classroom are certainly useful in terms of learning a foreign language. However, in some cases, there is no better life lesson than that of experience itself. I speak from my own experience here, as two months ago I myself piled my belongings into one suitcase and said goodbye to England, and ‘bonjour’ to France.
Arriving in a new country alone can leave you feeling a bit lost. Certain things may not work out the way you want straight away. I personally had trouble finding accommodation when I first arrived in France, for instance. However, solving problems like this can be a great way of building independence and confidence. Most importantly, tackling these problems now will prepare you for any difficulties that you may encounter later in life.
In terms of language skills, there is no better way of learning a new language than surrounding yourself with the people that speak it. Within no time, you naturally start to form sentences without thinking. You also pick up on local expressions, and even take on new habits. Since moving to France, my own understanding of the French language has grown faster than ever before.
In addition, gaining acceptance into a new community can be very fulfilling. You quickly learn that the more effort you make with the people you meet, the more willing they will be to help you in turn. Living abroad is a great way of learning about yourself as well as about other people.
As I write this now, I am sitting outside a café in the French sunshine, absolutely loving life. I may not have progressed from ‘franglais’ to French just yet, but I am already well on my way.
For those of you contemplating living abroad in the future, I encourage you to embrace your inner ‘French’, or whatever country you may choose, and explore new places. After all, the world is here to be discovered!
Would you like to live abroad for a year?