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Living Abroad…not all roses

We all know that living abroad provides for wonderful experiences. But sometimes we learn the hard way that the magical place we are living in, may not feel so magical all the time. Living abroad is an amazing opportunity. New places to discover, new friends to make, new food to try. But as humans, we tend to crave routine and similarity. And this “similarity”, can be hard to find when we are in a new place and all the “new” and “exciting” things are completely overwhelming. The good news is that you have the power to control most of your feelings. If you go in with a bad attitude, chances are it will be bad. If you go in with a positive attitude, chances are it will be good though some bad days are to be expected. And this is the beauty in being able to live abroad. You can look at life through new glasses. No place is perfect though when far away from “home”, we tend to romanticize everything back home. Then when you are “home”, you realize it wasn’t as wonderful as you had remembered. So our advice is this… Try as much as possible to find the good in what you are experiencing.  Live the life-explore, discover and appreciate!

We came across this article in the Huffington Post and wanted to share it. Living abroad

“A diverse set of experiences in life could be the greatest education you could have.”

At Go Inspired, we truly believe that in order for this world to be a better place, people need to travel and get out of their comfort zones. They need to meet other people who are different from them, who think diffently and eat different foods. If we all stay in one place, how can we know more?

Steve Jobs was a man who never finished college as we all know. Yet he went on to become such a successful person that changed the world and how we communicate. Steve always wanted to know more and never settled for what society was pushing for. This is a lesson we can take from him. We need to challenge ourselves-to think outside the box-to get out of our comfort zone. We need to take risks and explore without worrying so much about  what other people will think.

In a recent article in www.people.com, there was an interview with Ashton Kutcher who is playing Steve jobs in a movie. This is what Ashton Kutcher said about Steve Jobs.

“I found a speech that he gave and he was speaking to high school kids that were about to graduate. He encouraged these kids to maybe go to Paris and try to write poetry or fall in love with two people … maybe this standard education wasn’t the greatest means to creative solutions,” Kutcher, 35, told reporters at a press conference for the film in N.Y.C.

“I wanted to do this film to inspire young people to create the world they live in. I think that was an ethos of Steve Jobs,” he said Monday.

“A diverse set of experiences in life could be the greatest education you could have. I found it to be very surprising that would be his opinion. And I think it was an opinion that he carried throughout his life. I think it’s a value.”

It is time to challenge yourself…to continue learning…to follow your dreams. The rewards are endless and can be carried with you throughout your life.

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One more benefit of traveling abroad…and it isn’t what you think!

Another benefit to traveling abroad!

As if we needed more reasons why we should travel or study abroad-Now we have one more….and it isn’t what you think!

 

We all know the benefits of traveling-

  • Gain new perspective on the world.
  • Increase language skills.
  • Test your interests.
  • Meet people from different places and make connections.
  • Break out of your shell.
  • Enjoy life like never before.

 

But now there is one HUGE benefit that we can attribute to living abroad. Creativity! Yes, traveling and living abroad helps the brain with creativity. So let’s get to the bottom of this. An interesting book called IMAGINE by Jonah Lehrer talks about how our brain works in terms of creativity. Here are some highlights:

 

  • Traveling cultivates an outside perspective. Often, we are physically near the source of our problem. This means that our thoughts are “constricted” because they are “bound by a more limited set of associations” and so this inhibits the imagination. So this is where travel comes in. It helps you escape from the place where you spend most of your time. Those ideas that your mind had previously suppressed now are able to be awakened!

 

  • And what is more interesting, is that the longer you are away from home, the stronger the effect. One study showed that “students who lived abroad for an extended period were significantly more likely to solve a difficult creativity problem than students who had never lived outside their birth country”.

 

So really-how does traveling change us? Well first of all, experiencing another culture provides open-mindedness to the traveler and in this way, he/she has an easier time realizing that “a single thing can have multiple meanings”. An example given is the simple act of leaving food on one’s plate. In China, leaving food on a plate is often seen as a compliment, a signal that the host has provided more than enough food. But, in the US, the same act can be seen as an insult. These cultural contrasts mean that seasoned travelers are open to ambiguity, more willing to realize that there are different ways of interpreting the world. Because they have “felt like outsiders before, immersed in foreign places, they’ve learned to examine alternative possibilities”.

In other words, increased creativity, according to the book, appears to be a side effect of experiencing difference. When traveling, you need to change cultures, societal norms, “feel the disorienting diversity of human traditions. The same details that make foreign travel so confusing-Do I tip the waiter? Where is this train taking me?-turn out to have a lasting impact, making us more creative because we’re less insular. We’re reminded of all that we don’t know, which is nearly everything; we’re surprised by the constant stream of surprises”.

So when you are struggling to figure out which side to kiss on, or if you should even kiss, or what the cashier is saying to you, or how the heck to read the train schedule,  know that all of your struggles are helping your brain!

And as the book says, “when you get back home, home is still the same. But something in our minds has been changed, and that changes everything”.

Happy traveling!!