Does Living Abroad Broaden Your Mind

Does Living Abroad Broaden Your Mind

When I was growing up in Edinburgh, I couldn’t imagine wanting to live anywhere else. All my friends were there, my many cousins and I knew the city and felt comfortable there. 

When I was 16 my father was relocated to Glasgow. I was horrified. What about all my friends, my routines, my school. 

It was a valuable lesson. I discovered new friends, new places, new boyfriend! 

Since then, I have lived all over Scotland, then Canada, then the Caribbean, then England and now Greece. 

What experiences, what interesting cultures, new friends all over the world while not forgetting old friends. 

All of you have lived abroad. What have you learned and how has it enriched your life (or otherwise)? 


  1. Good grief! You are opening Pandora’s Box! I left the US at 21, never to return. And it has made all the difference. I became an adult in Germany, married an Englishman in Britain, returned to Germany with him and became a mother, spent a year in Turkey, only to return to Germany and happiness. What I have learned? How much time have you got???

  2. Like Debbie, I think this is a huge topic to respond to. I chose to instead to think of a number of journeys I made in my youth which had I think a significant impact on my life after. I’ve put the first one – which is a vicarious journey into space – on the associated forum. But I think I’ll post the full response as a blog post on my website next Wednesday. I’ll update this with a direct link after that. Thanks for the prompt Patti!

  3. Travel definitely broadens the mind and living abroad even more.

    I joined the RAF to travel and in my first tour, criss-crossed the UK, not to mention going as far north as Greenland and as far south as Madagascar. Then I moved to Germany for three years, saw much of Europe, learned a great deal about other cultures and languages and improved my German to a good standard.

    During the late 70s, I experienced a number of developing countries and counted my blessings at living in such luxury compared to many others.

    In the 1980s, I lived in Saudi Arabia for two years, a culture 180 degrees away from the British way of life. The restrictions were irksome, but taught me tolerance for different lifestyles and outlooks. When I returned to Saudi Arabia in 2009, living there for short spells, I found it far easier the second time round.

    My travels have enriched my writing and I have been able to weave my experiences into my work.

  4. My goodness, we are a well-travelled lot. We must have covered most of the world! Thank you for all your very interesting responses.

  5. I love this prompt, Patricia, and reading the replies. I give a resounding YES. Yes HUGE, as Debbie and John said. Sue, your experiences are fascinating. I would love to hear more from everyone and I think it’s a great, if not crucial, angle for us to use to all to get to know each other. I learned a lot about Nigel from beta reading his WIP.

    My first major overseas experience was Prague in the 1990s. That time I think probably formed all the pathways in my brain that I was to use later. I went on to make many career choices that sprang from my experience in Prague. These led to many more travels and personal connections that are central to how I see myself in the world. I drafted a novel recently about my years in Prague. (It’s a novel that needs a LOT of work.) As a side note – one of my friends from Prague days flew up to Boston from her current home in Washington DC to be at my wedding – 24 years after we moved home.

    SO much to say. But signing off for now.

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