Science Says Moving Abroad Is The Best Way To Find Yourself

living abroad study

Unsplash/Vita Marija

Your friends who never stop talking about how they found themselves after moving abroad? They might be obnoxious, but they are also probably correct. A recent study suggests that moving to another country is the best way to find yourself.

The research published last month in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes found that moving abroad enhances your self-discerning traits. In other words, you find yourself. 

It comes down to being forced outside of your comfort zone. When you’re in a different culture, you realize what’s important to you — without anyone telling you how things should be.

So how did the study determine whether people “found themselves” or if they just love bragging about how they moved to Barcelona? The researchers used a self-concept clarity scale — basically a method that measures how well people know themselves. The higher the self-clarity, the better.

finding yourself by living abroad


The study found that simply traveling doesn’t have the same impact as living in another country (although science has suggested that there are many tangible reasons travel does benefit you). It showed that the length of an experience abroad matters more than the number of places you visit abroad. In other words, spending two years living in Buenos Aires would help you reach self-clarity in a way that traveling around South America for two years might not.

The study dove even further into the types of revelations you might experience while living abroad, and it’s great news for your professional life. It showed that finding yourself abroad leads to clarity in making career decisions.

Our takeaway? Move to that city across the globe that’s calling your name and you could discover the five-year plan of your dreams.


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