Living abroad is a life-changing experience. Being immersed in a new culture, testing your personal limitations, and expanding your knowledge is comparable to none. A great way to invest in yourself and feel connected to the work you do is to embark on a foreign exchange or teaching abroad experience. An added benefit? It has the potential to reshape your overall outlook, increase your confidence, and teach you to be patient. As experienced Athletic Director and soccer coach, Bob Reasso knows how important diverse experiences can be in growth and development and encourages everyone to push themselves outside of their comfort zone. Bob Reasso sees a multitude of benefits but has outlined some of the main ones below.
When you are teaching English or living in a new country, you are able to be an expert and beginner all at once. There are few circumstances in life where you are granted the opportunity to teach and learn simultaneously but working or teaching abroad is definitely one of them. Bob Reasso explains that one moment you might be exploring a new country and culture, the next you are standing in front of a classroom of curious children guiding them through the day’s lesson. You will feel like a tourist but will subsequently become a part of the local community as a result. Unlike living in a city, you are familiar with, Bob Reasso explains that every train ride, transit, or drive can be an opportunity to discover something new, and that can be extremely exhilarating, especially when you have a home and stable employment in the region.
From homesickness to culture shock and navigating local transportation in a foreign language, there is a lot of room for growth when you step outside of your comfort zone. Bob Reasso explains that in his experience, if you are not uncomfortable, you are not growing, and living in a new country can be extremely uncomfortable. Through this experience, you will become more flexible, adaptable, and open-minded than you ever thought possible. Pushing the boundaries of how far you think you can go can give you a new found sense of confidence that is hard to find in the comfort of your familiar surroundings. Asking strangers questions, dealing with a language barrier, and problem solving without company are all great ways to prove to yourself that you can do anything, no matter the limitation.
Navigating a new country can force us to develop our critical thinking skills to problem solve and understand the world around us. Being able to experience different cultural practices, traditions, and customs might force you to question your own beliefs and see your culture within its own context. Having a greater appreciation and respect for differences in opinion will serve you throughout your entire life and can be adapted to various situations and circumstances. Even when you work in a business environment, being able to see a problem from multiple viewpoints and perspectives can only serve to benefit you.
To summarize, Bob Reasso explains that every situation will give you what you bring to it. He suggests keeping an open mind, and being unafraid to ask questions, make mistakes, and grow through them. Change is scary, and the fact that you’ve moved to another country for any opportunity is a major step that most are unwilling to make. Give yourself credit where credit is due, and above all else, be patient. It will take time to adjust, and just enjoy the learning process.