But what does all of that have to do with living abroad?
A recent study by a group of researchers from Rice University, Columbia University, the University of North Carolina and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology explored the relationship between living abroad and people’s levels of self-awareness. They found some interesting links.
The study was based on feedback from almost 2,000 people, including some who had lived abroad and others who hadn’t. As reported by the World Economic Forum, the results showed that living abroad increases people’s self-awareness because it “prompts self-discerning reflections on whether parts of their identity truly define who they are or merely reflect their cultural upbringing”. Simply put, living among a foreign culture challenges us to reflect on our true values and who we are – rather than simply accept the values and sense of self we’ve been raised with.
The study also found that the length of time that people spend abroad is more significant than the number of countries they’ve lived in. The longer they’re away, the more time they have for self-reflection.
Having a high level of self-awareness can help us to strengthen relationships, improve our skills and move our lives in a positive direction. It boosts both happiness and confidence because knowing who we are means we can make decisions that lead to happiness more easily. This leads to greater confidence.
These decisions don’t just relate to our personal lives. There’s also evidence that a greater sense of self-awareness can have a positive impact on employment, by improving people’s ability to make decisions within the workplace and about their careers in general.
While living abroad can be an exciting adventure, it can also be so much more. If you’re already there, put some time aside for self-reflection – you never know where it might lead you. And if you haven’t started down that path yet, then hopefully this article has shown you that there’s much more to the experience than you might have first assumed.
Research study: The shortest path to oneself leads around the world: Living abroad increases self-concept clarity
World Economic Forum: What living abroad does to your self-awareness
Working and living conditions in EURES countries
EURES Jobs Database
EURES services for employers
EURES Events Calendar
Upcoming Online Events
EURES on Facebook
EURES on Twitter
EURES on LinkedIn
- Publication date
- 11 October 2018
- European Labour Authority | Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
- Business / EntrepreneurshipExternal EURES newsExternal stakeholdersLabour market news / mobility newsNews/reports/statisticsRecruiting trendsYouth
- Related section(s)
- Living and Working
- Accomodation and food service activitiesActivities of extraterritorial organisations and bodiesActivities of households as employers, undifferentiated goods- and servicesAdministrative and support service activitiesAgriculture, forestry and fishingArts, entertainment and recreationConstructionEducationElectricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supplyFinancial and insurance activitiesHuman health and social work activitiesInformation and communicationManufacturingMining and quarryingOther service activitiesProfessional, scientific and technical activitiesPublic administration and defence; compulsory social securityReal estate activitiesTransportation and storageWater supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activitiesWholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles