I come from NYC, a place many people dream of moving to. But I don’t know what it was. Immediately after college, I moved out to Korea, then back to NYC, then to Japan for two years, back to NYC again and then back to Korea again. It’s been a crazy ride, and I’ve never looked back! I have a decent amount of experience moving abroad in the world’s greatest cities. And if you have the chance to live abroad, I really urge you to do it!
Let’s see if you agree with my reasons why
1. Falling in Love with a Culture
When you’re new to a culture, you’re like a baby. And just like a newborn, everything’s exciting when it’s new. With culture, you’ll have a good 3 years until you say things are old. Trust me. There’s tons of new things you’ll learn about just by living in another city (like dating, manners, conversations, etc!). It’s a lot of fun for a good while
2. People Visiting You
You see, the thing is… when you live in another country, people find excuses to visit you. You’ll get homies from junior high school you weren’t even that close with messaging you saying “Long time! Heard you’re living in Bangkok!” You’ll be surprised at the random people that will find a way to visit you (and possibly look for a place to crash!). And it’s all good, yo! It’s always a good excuse to go out and have a good time.
3. OMG the Food!
For me, Seoul has the highest hit rate of food that’s “good.” Nothing world-class, but everything is really solid. New York on the other hand has the extremes: you can eat world-class food, but sometimes you get unlucky with really crappy foods, too. And Tokyo? Hands down, I honestly believe food in Japan is the best food in the world (of course sushi, but also burgers, Korean BBQ, Thai noodles, etc.). I can still taste the first time I had that melt-in-your-mouth Tsukiji Fish Market sushi. Telling you. World class son!
4. Variety in Your Dating
Of course there are different kinds of people in your own country. That’s everywhere. But when you move to a different country, you find that there’s usually country-specific types of men and women found only in your home away from home. Korea has Kpop cuties with aegyo, Japan has Harajuku fashionistas, and New York has brunch-eating white girls that love UGGs! By dating outside your comfort zone, you’ll find that there are more types of people in the world than you ever imagined! (Which btw can make dating pretty complicated :P).
5. Internationalizing Yourself
I lived in New York until I graduated college. And it was the same Asian friends who all knew each other. You know. NYC’s Asian community. If I was stayed, I think I would be living in the same sub-culture that I grew up in. Now don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great to have that community. But I think it’s awesome to learn about a different culture you never knew about in depth. Best part is, you make it a part of you! Even to this day, I still love Japanese eye wash and fold my clothes like a Japanese housewife.
6. The Frank Sinatra Effect
Know that Frank Sinatra song, New York, New York? There’s a line that says “If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere!” And when you live abroad, by yourself, without any help from your friends or family, you know you can make it anywhere. It’s very empowering to say that you made it in another country (especially if you came without really knowing the language!). So even if your stay is short-term, you’ll go to your next destination with a confidence other people just don’t have!
7. Bragging Rights
Fine. I’ll admit it. I become brag master whenever I have the chance to mention that I lived abroad. I always stick in a “when I lived in Korea/Japan/New York” mention whenever I can. Leave me alone. It makes me feel good, ok? ;) Some people don’t ask further. And that’s fine. But when they do, you have no problem telling them about the time you saw a 100 year old turtle on sale in Busan!
8. You Appreciate Home More!
Whenever you’re abroad for an extended period of time, that usually equals missing home. Parents and grandparents get older, and every moment you spend with them becomes that much more precious. Your friends that pick you up at the airport anytime you ask cement themselves as your lifetime homeboys. And food? Don’t even get me started. I miss and love you NYC bagels, ghetto American style Chinese food, Tex Mex (also made by Chinese people), and good ol Halal. Trust me. Anytime you visit home, you’ll have a list of foods you’ll want to eat.
9. Feeling Like a Local
This kind of goes back to bragging rights, but when you feel like a local in a foreign country, you feel good. It definitely takes some time to get to that level. But once you achieve Diablo III level 99 status, you’ll start talking like a tour guide without even being asked. It’s a proud feeling to have a neighborhood best secret in your back pocket that you can bust out whenever anyone asks for suggestions
10. Meeting Super International People
I’ve met some really culturally diverse people during my time abroad. And I think it’s really awesome. My best friend in Japan studied medicine in the Caribbean, became engaged to his trilingual Japanese girlfriend, and became a doctor in the middle of bumblef*ck Kentucky. A really awesome girl I met in Thailand speaks fluent Mexican Spanish and English (which also happens to be super ghetto). Her best friends are all ladyboys, too! A Japanese friend of mine got married to some French-Vietnamese dude and is now living with a baby on some French farm. My Taiwanese ex is living in Shanghai and dating some half-Chinese Aussie dude. Diversity overload. And I love it!
11. Travel Opportunities
If I continued to live in NYC, I would have never had the chance to travel to Bali, Boracay, Thailand, Shanghai, Hokkaido, etc. Personally, I’ve always been interested in Asia. And had I lived in NYC, it would have been way too expensive to see all that I’ve seen. So pick where you’re most interested in, and start traveling away. The travel opportunities you have living abroad will be amazing.
Ok, well that’s about it! I love that I’ve had the opportunity for this experience. And I really recommend those that are thinking about it to take the chance! If you’re ever debating moving abroad, just go for it, ok??
Well?? What do you think about my list? Leave a comment!