10 Things That Are Just Better Abroad

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Ever notice how much better everything seems to be abroad? The mango shakes are sweeter, the music gets your feet tapping just a little faster, and even mundane things like doing laundry or grocery shopping turn into an epic adventure. Maybe this is due to the euphoric state of mind that travel puts you in, maybe it’s in the water, or maybe things seem better because you’ve made a serious scene change. Either way, there are plenty of advantages to living abroad and plenty of new experiences to have you on Emma Stone’s level. 

Emma Stone says, This is the best! 

Here are ten things that just seem better while abroad, and each one is basically the perfect answer to the question “Why live abroad?” Read on to learn our favorite oft-overlooked advantages of living abroad.

Our favorite under-appreciated advantages to living abroad 

10. Power ballads + karaoke

Aubrey Plaza saying that she was kicked out of karaoke bars because she was probably too good.

Okay, so maybe karaoke isn’t number one on your list of things to do anywhere, like, ever. However, if you do happen to stumble into a karaoke bar while in another country, you should jump on stage! You know you can belt out a few classics and you’ll feel like a rock star in Spain rocking out to some Spice Girls or maybe a little NSYNC. You won’t be just another jukebox hero this time around. 

If you happen to be in East Asia, you won’t be forced to have the anxiety-ridden experience of singing in front of strangers — instead, book a private room with your friends and belt out Britney and Christina all night long together. Karaoke isn’t one of the main ways of socializing in China for no reason!

9. Cool new currencies (some make you feel like a millionaire!)

Jean Ralfio and Tom Haverford from Parks and Rec shouting Make It Rain as one guy spreads money.

The money you use at home is boring (and there’s somehow never enough…), but when you’re abroad, it is much more fun! Monopoly references aside, the colors and the pictures on bills and coins not only shake things up a bit, but they also give you a mini history lesson. Some countries’ currencies have Braille on them, use different sized paper bills, and they are built with interesting-to-touch materials (some will remain intact after a wash cycle! *phew*). Even the names can be wacky and fun — “loonies” and “toonies” sure beat “Euros.” However, beware of currency exchange rates!

Want your bank account filled with multiple currencies? Start searching for jobs abroad to travel and make that paper!

8. Gorgeous architecture around every corner

Ted plays out a scene from Sleepless in Seattle on top of a building.

You thought the architecture kids were nerd-o’s in college but now you totally want to join in on the fun. After all, the images on Google can’t do the buildings justice in real life. From the Kabba to the Colosseum, enjoy a subtle foray into appreciating historic integrity from every street corner of your travels. Magnificent minarets, awe-inspiring arches, spectacular spires are all yours for the taking (pictures, we mean. Don’t walk off with any of these). Houses and other architectural styles are influenced by the climate and culture and make for interesting observations and comparisons to your own living and working spaces back home.

If you are really into buildings, discover all the places you can by studying architecture abroad. Bonus points if you spot the tiny frog in Salamanca!

7. World-class beaches 😎

Joey from Friends is in a hole on the beach filling with water.

We’re sure Indiana Beach has its charm and that a dip in Lake Tahoe makes for some meaningful memories. BUT COME ON. The healing coolness of the Mediterranean, the (admittedly a little painful) saltiness of the Dead Sea, the pinch-me-is-this-even-real turquoise of beaches in Thailand? Beaches abroad are just plain better. Maybe the sand is softer or the sun is brighter, or maybe you are just looking for study a study break in Nicaragua. Sometimes the water may be more clear or take on a unique color due to microscopic lifeforms (#LakeRetba). Or maybe you’re able to relax more knowing that you’re far away from your responsibilities at home.

6. Street music, dancers, entertainment. Buskers?!

Chris from Parks and Rec dances with people behind him.

Musicians busking on the corner make every sidewalk stroll an episode of TRL as you march down the street to the beat of someone else’s drum. You’re melodically reminded that you’re someplace new and can actually hear the culture coming to life around you. International music affords a deeper understanding of an entirely new dimension of life in that country. The lazy sweet chords of Fijian lullabies, the shrill of Chinese opera, the tub-thumpin’ beats of Carnivale. Who says your eyes and tummy have all the fun when you travel? If music is your thing, check out all the ways you can study music abroad on GoAbroad.

5. Food. SO. MUCH. FOOD.

Selena Gomez says, I dont have a favorite food. I like a lot of food. I like everything about food into a radio microphone.

Even if the food abroad is “weird,” “unusual,” or just plain different, it always adds a tasty layer of fun to life. Food is one of the top benefits of traveling abroad — let’s face it, slurping noodles, munching on masala puri, chowing down on street corn — who doesn’t love to travel byway of their belly? 

Trying ethnic foods is always more enjoyable when prepared by people who are pros at cooking those dishes. You feel like you’re eating foreign delicacies, although the food you’re eating is probably as common as a burger in the United States.

Hungry yet? There are plenty of culinary internships abroad to consider that will take you from a newbie to a foodie! Or you could just check out the top foodie destinations for study abroad too.

4. Wacky wildlife encounters

A wombat runs from the back to the front of the gif.

Seeing wildlife abroad in their natural habitats is a common motivator for people to travel abroad. Getting a look at super big, super beastly, super BA animals in their true homes is a more-than-memorable experience. While monkeys in India may be as common as pigeons in London, if you’re not used to silly simians, you’ll be entertained. You’ll have a real “Circle of Life” moment as you’re cruising down a highway in Namibia looking at a skyline dotted with giraffes. And come on, KOALAS? QUOKKAS? KOOKABURRAS? You get the fuzzy (scaly-furry-feathery) drill.

Explore all the ways you can study zoology abroad, or even volunteer abroad with wildlife now!

3. You can admire local art all day, er' day

Stephen Colbert asks, What is art?

Local art happens to be wayyyy more interesting when “local” refers to a place thousands of miles from your hometown. Artists have different ways of making their craft in other countries, and they might even have forms of art that you’ve never seen before (PVC pipe bracelets, anyone?). While it’s always interesting to watch an artisan publicly working on their craft — yes, even caricaturists — the additional cultural level of witnessing art being created abroad makes for an even more interesting experience.

2. Coca-Cola actually tastes... good?

A guy in a coca-cola polar bear outfit turns around and throws back his tie.

Here’s a fun fact: A while back, Coca-Cola switched from sugar to corn syrup to satisfy your sweet tooth. Your mom may not notice the difference in her Diet Coke, but we travelers know the truth. Some countries are still on the pure sugar train, and a cold coke from a glass bottle as you sweat your eyeballs out in central Mexico is a relief unlike any other. Just don’t expect to see your favorite polar bear cubs on the bottle.

1. Life just feels extra-groovy 💃🕺

A child in the backset lifting her arms and opening her mouth.

Let’s face it, life just seems better when you are somewhere else. You experience a sensory overload of newness that results in a feeling of elation. You’re like a kid experiencing everything for the first time, and it’s amazing.

The advantages to living abroad can't be beat

The benefits of traveling abroad definitely outweigh staying home on the couch (Bonus: The fun stamps you get on your passport!). If you’ve traveled abroad, you’re probably nodding your head in agreement to all of these. If you haven’t gone abroad (and thinking “why travel abroad?”), then you’re in for a real treat when you experience these 10 advantages to living abroad IRL. You’ll feel the vibes and ambiances of another country that you couldn’t cook up in your wildest dreams. Travel guides and pictures just can’t do justice for a real-life international experience!

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