14 Ways Living Abroad Changes You

After living abroad for 2 years now, we are definitely not the same people that arrived here at the start of our dream adventure of moving to to Sweden.  Living abroad changes you, and I want to discuss how it has changed us.  I am not talking about what it has taught us, or the problems we have had, or the advantages and disadvantages of living abroad.  I will tackle those in other blog posts.  I am just talking about how living abroad changes you.  The person you were and everything you know changes.  It is not just a house that changes or a job, but absolutely EVERYTHING.

14 Ways Living Abroad Changes you:

  1. You become very independent and less dependent on others.  I have always been quite independent anyway, but you build you safety nets around you with friends and families.  For example, parents who are also your children’s grandparents.  They are there to seek advice from as well as help with anything from DIY, or juggling vomiting baby twins, to looking after big sister while you attempt baby twin swim lessons which takes up both parents!  When you up sticks and move abroad these disappear the instant you step on that plane.  Of course, they will always be there for help and advice, but the practicalities of getting it are so much harder, you learn to manage on your own.  In our case our little unit works well as a team.  We have since started building up new friendships and support networks, but in the meantime, we have learnt to tackle life independently of others.
  2. You are often behaving more confidently than you feel.  This serves 2 purposes;  it helps you think you can do this, and reassures others you know what you are doing!!  With so many things since moving to Sweden, we have just had to take a deep breath, muster up the confidence and go for it.
  3. Your ability to learn a new language increases!  I have never been good at languages, but guess what, my Swedish progress may be slow, but it is definitely progress.
  4. Your problem solving abilities step up a notch.  Suddenly, answers and solutions to problems and issues that arise are often not that easy to find.  Very often you don’t even know the first place to look for the answer.  So, most things are tackled with a problem solving approach that is becoming better and better.
  5. Living abroad changes you by making you a stronger and tougher.  I may sometimes come across confident but I am a sensitive worrier.  However, you are now dealing with a whole heap of issues on your own, you face almost daily setbacks of some description, you overcome many obstacles, and you have then managed to move on.  Every time you go through this it is making you that little bit tougher.
  6. You become very resourceful:  Often not knowing where to find the simple answer makes you either very resourceful to find the answer, or resourceful in the actual answer.
  7. Unless you want to make things really hard for yourself, you become very good at asking people you hardly know for help.  You have to acknowledge your limitations and know when to ask for help, and have the confidence to approach people for help.
  8. You grow and evolve as a person with every challenge you face, and these have been more in number for us having moved abroad than if we’d remained inside our comfort zone and stayed in the UK.
  9. Your learn to value your friendships more.  Suddenly these friendships are actually a survival aid as well.
  10. You do not take anything for granted.  You are an expat/immigrant and your situation could change at the drop of a hat….we are currently anxiously awaiting Brexit.
  11. You realise that you will do anything not to return home.  Not only may you have found your new forever homeland, but you realise life as you know it back in your original country will have carried on without you.  You can not just step back into it.
  12. Your tolerance of others increases as you accept another culture and immerse yourself in it.
  13. You are always ready for the unexpected, as things can change quite quickly for you.
  14. You learn to go with the flow more, especially with things you have no control over.  We learnt this quite fast when we moved here as they have a no rush culture.  Yes, we may have needed a phone line to be installed, but there was no rush!

Moving abroad has a huge impact on your life, and your priorities in life change.  It is a very big world out there, and if you take the plunge to move abroad it makes you realise just a bit more how big the world is.  Above all, living abroad changes you by making you realise that you CAN……..you can do almost anything.14 Ways living abroad changes you, living abroad changes you, moving abroad changes you, international move, www.mammasschool.co.uk


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  1. It’s interesting to hear what’s changed, I find the thought of having to be so independent scary! I’m so used to having that help a d support around me when needed. Your amazing!

    • Ah thankyou. I have missed the baby sitting a lot, especially as I have the children home on my own so much, it would be nice for a break!!

  2. I think it is a hugely brave step to move abroad. I know I would feel extremely anxious but I can also see all the positives too. Well done.

    • Ah thankyou! I never think too far ahead or when we were moving either or else it all threatened to overwhelm me!

  3. All of these changes sound really positive. Really tough I am sure, especially the language barriers and trying to find your feet. Good luck with Brexit. I really hope it doesn’t effect people like yourself.

  4. I think moving abroad is an incredibly brave thing to do, whilst exciting I can definitely understand that it is a huge challenge. I rely lots on my parents too for childcare so can relate to how hard it must be to move away from them.

    • It is very hard sometimes. There are no baby sitters, very few chances for a break from them, and rare opportunities to go out as a couple without them!

  5. I didn’t even think about the personal changes from moving abroad! I have always wanted to move, but am too nervous to bite the bullet and do it. Well done you though, such a brave thing to do! On a side note really like the flow and pacing of your writing so thumbs up!x

    • Thankyou that is really kind 🙂 It took us a long time to be able to get here so we are happy we finally did it!

  6. So much of this resonates with me. We moved because my parents were retiring and we’d lived away from them for 15 years. It’s lovely having them so close but it’s still incredibly hard, for me more so than my husband and son. I’m struggling if I’m honest and although I know we’ll never return to the UK, deep down I know I want to move on eventually. I’d go home to Ireland at the drop of a hat. But all the points about becoming a tighter unit and accepting things move at a different pace are all things we’ve gotten used to.

    • It is tough isn’t it once you have experienced somewhere else. As our little lady says when she’s down, it wouldn’t help moving back as then she’d miss here!

  7. It sounds like moving abroad has changed you for the better and made you more resilient. I bet it has all been worth the upheaval x

  8. I love this post and wholeheartedly agree. Having lived abroad there are so many things I relate to – that resourcefulness, the confidence (real and apparent), the tolerance and appreciation. Would love to hear more about moving with children.

    Kat x

  9. i am also not living in my homeland and you are so right living abroad does change you and have such a big impact on your life

  10. I can definitely agree with this and related big time as it happened to us over 20 years ago now. It definitely changes you.

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