I don’t mention it enough on my blog (considering I am a travel blogger) but 6 years ago, I spent some time living in California as part of BUNAC’s Work America.
I had always wanted to spend some time living abroad and I KNEW that America was the ultimate goal, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be able to make it happen. I mean, me? A teenager? Living ON MY OWN? 5000 MILES AWAY?
It was a scary thought, but after a rough break up and a sudden burst of determination I signed up to the program, booked my flights, found a place to live and applied to EVERY job I could find in the local area.
It was a brave move, but having experienced it I can honestly say it is one of the things that has shaped me to be the person I am today. So, with only 26% of people in the UK taking a gap year and 16% taking a sabbatical, I thought I’d tell you why I think this number should be EVEN HIGHER.
It Boosts Your Confidence
Moving across the world to another country is incredibly scary and I can honestly say it increased my confidence ten-fold. Even small things like having to ask for help or finding my way around a new country meant I was talking to complete strangers on a regular basis. I discovered that 99% of the time people are willing to help you out, which really helped boost my confidence.
It is GREAT for your CV
Living abroad shows you have an array of desirable skills including determination, dedication and confidence – all of which are transferable in to pretty much any job. Having my time abroad on my CV has always prompted some great questions from potential employees and in certain cases it has helped me get that little bit closer to the dream job.
You Make Incredible Memories
I feel like this doesn’t need an explanation, but living abroad has left me with some memories I will never forget. Making smores on the beach, my first baseball game, getting a tattoo in Down Town Fullerton and so much more… they’re all things I look back on and feel so lucky to have experienced, no matter how small.
You Will Meet People That Change Your Life
Oh my gosh, the people you meet while living abroad will actually change your life. I have made lifelong friends from my trip abroad and despite the distance, I know they’ll always be people I’ll have in my life.
Travel is Good for the Soul
One thing I found while travelling (between shifts of course) was that travel really is good for the soul. Every time I discovered somewhere new I was amazed that I was actually living out my dream and if I am being honest, a few times I was so happy I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to cry. It’s such a great, heartwarming feeling when travelling somewhere new – one I never want to give up.
It Give You A Sense of Adventure (even more so)
I wasn’t always passionate about travel – in fact I was scared to do anything, even get in a car – but facing my fears and moving to California at the age of 19 really gave me a sense of adventure. It showed me I can do anything when I put my mind to it and from then on, I couldn’t stop imagining all of the places I could visit.
I hope that one day I get to experience living abroad again as I can honestly say, I have never known anything to be as rewarding as my time in California.