Almost three years ago I moved from Portugal to Luxembourg to continue my academic studies. Today I live and work away from my family, friends and country and I am happier then even.
Let me explain.
Let me start by saying that I love my country. Despite its financial struggles, I still think Portugal is one the best countries in the world. Best food. Best weather. Best people.
The reasons that lead me to leave it were more personal. I was always the introvert type. Making friendship was always easy but social interactions let me feeling anxious, specially around new people.
To pursue my bachelor’s degree I moved out of my parent’s house. Those four years in college really helped me to improve socially but I still felt I had a long way to go.
I needed another challenge.
Studying abroad seemed like the only option. I studied mechanical engineering and working in the field didn’t feel right at the time. Continuing studying was the right thing to do but not in Portugal. With the moral and financial support of my parents, I followed my way.
Studying abroad as a social hack
In life, we rarely get opportunities to start from scratch. I don’t mean to become another person because that wouldn’t be true to yourself. I mean the opportunity to liberate yourself from the preconception of others, which I believe gives us room to be more.
The environment around international students reflect this liberation from social pressure. Everyone is there because they seek new challenges. Everyone already has something in common, lubricating any social interactions.
That’s why I believe studying abroad is one of the best social hacks. A student in Portugal can go to another country and automatically be part of a new social group. It’s not everyone who get to have such opportunity.
Ripping all the benefits
So far I only exposed the benefits of studying abroad to someone looking for a social challenge. But that’s only a small part of the perks that come from moving to another country.
The title of this post explains it all. The act of studying in another country can kickstart not only your social skills but also other areas of your life.
Maybe this new university has better conditions, better professors or more available money. Because of that, maybe you can get a student job as an assistant and start earning money and practical experience.
Maybe these professors can guide your through the ins and outs of your professional field in the country, making it easier to find a job later on. Maybe you can get an internship and start building relationships in your field.
Maybe the consequence of you becoming more social can result in you meeting someone special or making improbable friendships. I met people from all over the world, giving me a glimpse into many different cultures.
You get the idea.
As a student you have tons of perks, like cheap housing and access to influences in your field. It is much easier to start your life in another country if you already know its environment.
Is it for everyone to study abroad?
Well, it depends.
Some people are just to attached to their culture, friends and family or their home. For them I suggest to slowly move away from their comfort zone like traveling with friends or alone or moving within their own country.
It is an experience that I think everyone should have but I’m aware the it is not feasible for some people. But if you are longing for change, take the jump and see if it is for you.