When you have a love of travel, going on short trips to as many places as possible might seem like a noble goal. You want to see as much of the world as possible so you focus on going to lots of different places when you can. But what if you could instead spend a longer period in one place? What advantages are there to moving somewhere temporarily, whether it’s for work or just for fun? You could gain a new perspective by living abroad for a few months, a year, or maybe even longer. So what benefits could it give you?
Get to Know the Culture as a Resident
Visiting somewhere as a tourist and actually living there are very different. They’re two experiences that offer you different things. As a foreigner, you won’t ever really see a new country in exactly the same way that a native person might, but living there is definitely going to give you a new perspective compared to just visiting. You have longer to see what it’s really like to live there and not just experience the side that is shown to outsiders. This means you get a more realistic impression, including both the good and the bad.
See Beyond Tourist Areas
A short visit to a new place usually means you don’t get the chance to see much. Even if you’re trying to do as much as possible in a short time, you probably stuff as many tourist activities as you can into your stay. You might never leave the more touristy areas of the place you choose to visit. But if you live somewhere, you get time to go beyond that. You’ll be able to seek out the places that local people love, and you still get the chance to experience the top sights if you want to.
Immerse Yourself in the Language
The best way to learn a language is usually immersion. It’s hard to learn a new language if you’re not surrounded by it and given the chance to practice it with others. This is something that language enthusiast Matthias O’Meara discovered while living in Italy. When you live somewhere for a while, you can take local language lessons and you have the opportunity to practice every day. When you go home (if you choose to), you can then maintain your language skills through other means.
Create a Connection
Living somewhere creates a connection to that place that won’t necessarily form if you only visit. Some people do find special places that they visit again and again without ever living there, but being a resident can really make a connection more intense. You’ll feel like it has a special place in your heart and if you choose to return, it will probably feel a little bit like coming home. You will know the place in a way that you probably wouldn’t without living there.
Short trips are great for fitting around your other commitments. But if you want to get to know somewhere better, living there is really the best option.