5 Ways Traveling or Living Abroad Builds a Better Brain
Traveling or living overseas comes with a myriad of obvious benefits. You experience new cultures, meet new people, and create connections and memories which last a lifetime. But that’s not all travel has to offer. In fact, the benefits to living and traveling abroad can take a more scientific turn when it comes to how it can change your brain. Curious to know more? Read on to find out 5 great ways travel can make your brain better and be inspired to start planning your next big journey!
Image via Flickr
1. Travel makes you more creative.
Ernest Hemingway may have been doing something right when he decided to draw inspiration from his life overseas in order to pen some of his most famous novels. According to scientists, living and/or traveling abroad can indeed make you a more creative person. How does it work? Well, creativity is related to neuroplasticity which is how your brain is wired. As human beings, we are sensitive to changes in our environment which can include anything from tastes, smells, and even new languages. When you travel, you become a part of a new culture and as such boost your brain’s elasticity because you’re learning a new and different way of life. This flexibility in turn makes creativity come easier to you than to someone who never leaves home.
2. Travel makes you a better problem-solver.
According to the Harvard Business Review, people who have lived abroad or have international experience are better problem-solvers than their stay-at-home counterparts. When you experience a new culture for an extended period of time, your mind is opened to different ways of doing things. You also have to maneuver yourself successfully through foreign cultures and languages which can provide many of its own problems. When you learn to do so, you are building your problem-solving abilities and becoming mentally stronger in the process!
Image via Pixabay
3. Travel makes you a happier person.
There are obvious reasons why travel might make you a happier person (you can have a drink at breakfast, suntan like it’s your job, etc.), but scientists have also found that travel can have very positive effects on your brain, which is why you may feel happy just thinking about it. How? Researchers analyzed people’s moods while they were waiting in line for something. The outcome showed that those looking forward to an experience (like taking a trip overseas) as opposed to a thing (getting a new phone) were happier. Imagine, anticipating the experience then enjoying it will make you a happier human being overall!
4. Travel makes your brain grow.
We’re not talking about brain growth in a metaphorical sense –your brain really does undergo physical changes when you become a part of a new culture! When you travel, you are thrown into situations that are new and complex, forcing your brain to become much more engaged than it normally would be. The result is that your brain literally sprouts what are called dendrites which help the brain to physically expand. Even dangerous situations have the benefit of dramatically engaging your brain and helping it to grow. Amazing, isn’t it?
Image via Flickr
5. Travel makes you more fearless.
Indeed, traveling and living overseas can make you a more fearless person. Research shows that the more a person travels, the more trust they have in other people. Expats are less likely to be wary of people’s intentions and don’t fear strangers as much. Furthermore, making constant mistakes while learning a new language, navigating a new culture, or trying to blend into a new way of life make you less likely to fear failure or trying new things!
Settling overseas or traveling to new countries definitely has many beautiful benefits, and without a doubt there’s a free spirit in all of us just waiting to hit the road. Don’t forget that it’s always a good idea to approach your new life abroad in a responsible manner and there’s no better way of being prepared than learning a new language before you go. Sign up for some excellent language classes and use online placement tests to keep your level up to par, so that when you’re ready to delve into the more creative, problem-solving, happier, growing, fearless you, the transition will be a wild and enjoyable ride!