Digital nomad. Expat. Location independent. Remote worker.
These aren’t just buzzwords. They’re a way of life that lead to both personal and professional growth. Over the past few years, we’ve been hearing more and more stories of women choosing to move to different countries to build lives they love. Now, it’s less about just being able to “work from home,” and instead about being able to live and work anywhere in the world.
Most people choose to move abroad because they’re looking for a lifestyle change, but when you do it the right way, moving to a different country can benefit you professionally in more ways than one.
Since I took the leap to move to Spain five years ago, I’ve reached professional heights I would have never imagined if I had stayed in the U.S. From TEDx talks, to becoming an international speaker, and even scoring my dream job (without applying!), I’m here to share 5 reasons why moving abroad is the professional shift you need.
New Experiences = New Breakthroughs
Hands up if you’re tired of the same routine day in and day out! When you’re living in a new country, you’re often surrounded by new and stimulating experiences, and that changes your mentality regarding the way you view the world and the work you do.
When you’re constantly experiencing new things, it pushes you to think outside of the box and have insights you wouldn’t normally have. Living abroad doesn’t just benefit your IG feed, it also allows you to be inspired and engaged on a daily basis to help bring a global point of view to your work.
Your (International) Network Is Your Net Worth
We all know the power of having a strong network, especially when you’re looking to grow professionally. In the digital age, we are exposed to so many amazing people through social media. But when you’re living and working in a different country, your network almost triples in size. You’re able to tap into communities of like-minded people from all over the world.
Living in New York my entire life, I thought it was the best place to network...until I moved to Spain and realized that I had an advantage. Being an expat or living in a different country doesn’t just give you a “wow factor,” it also allows for you to bring something meaningful to the table for all parties. Whether it’s through local meetups, being involved with the coliving and coworking movements, or traveling to different conferences, you’re able to quickly connect with international professionals that you may not have been able to run into back home.
Como se dice?... Better Communication Skills
Let’s be real. When you’re in a new country, odds are, you’re going to need to learn how to communicate differently. Whether we’re talking about language barriers, different word usage (British vs. American English anyone?), or just having to slow down your speech, living abroad forces you to become a better communicator.
It’s an essential skill to have whether you’re thinking about working with people from different countries or just getting better skills for the boardroom. Living abroad forces you to be clear about what you want, intentional with your words, and know how to empathize with others as they explain their needs. Anyone else ready to start using these same skills for work negotiations?
Less Stress, More Success
Burnout is real, and we all know it. One of the biggest benefits of living in a different country is truly finding work/life balance. It’s about learning to work smarter, not harder, and to make time for what really matters.
When you’re less stressed, you don’t just feel happier, you’re also able to perform better at work, and it will show. Living abroad will teach you that professional success also means having your work life support your personal aspirations.
Which brings me to our last point…
Design Your Life
I truly believe that once you’re clear on the type of lifestyle you want, you’ll be able to find a career that supports that. Having worked with hundreds of women helping them build a life they love abroad, I’ve found that once they know what they’re looking for—with options like entrepreneurship, remote work and even working for international companies—the opportunities are endless. When they’ve designed a life that fits their personal aspirations, they’re able to thrive professionally because their motivation goes hand in hand.
Whether you’re looking to move abroad for three months or three years, you don’t need to fear that it will hinder you professionally. Instead, it’s time to start viewing life abroad as the catalyst to the career of your dreams.
Sienna Brown is an entrepreneur and expat thriving on the coast of Spain. Her mission is to teach others how build a life that they love. She’s the founder of Las Morenas de Espana, a platform teaching women of color how to move abroad and thrive. She also leads business development at Sun and Co., one of the leading coliving spaces in Europe. Follow her on Instagram @siempregirando and reach out firstname.lastname@example.org