How Living Abroad Boosts Your Productivity & Motivation

If you’re like most of us, you probably feel that your work habits and productivity are not near their full potential. Whether it’s a lack of motivation, boredom with your tasks, a feeling of mental/emotional depletion, or just struggling with time management—we all get to a place in our work lives where we feel somewhat stuck. Many successful people have overcome this—or avoided it completely in the first place—by moving to another country…preferably as far away as possible. A slight shock, a bit of loneliness in the beginning, and then new experiences, ideas, and people—it all forms you as a person and contributes to your motivation and productivity. Here’s how.

Stepping Out of the Routine

As children, a lot of things are still new to us and we observe the world differently, constantly discovering something. That’s what makes kids so creative and brilliant. Adults lose that perspective and limit their experiences more and more as they get older. When was the last time you tried something completely new? The thing that absolutely kills creativity is living life in autopilot mode. Creativity, motivation, productivity—these things are very deeply connected to each other. By moving to a completely new country, you’re giving your mind a jolt and challenging yourself to react, adapt, and be more alert. It’s like pulling the “on” switch for your brain.

Planning Ahead

Living abroad is of even greater value for those that are less organized because you get into a situation where you simply have to plan. You find yourself planning your free time carefully to avoid being stuck in your room, especially in the beginning when you don’t know anybody. You have to plan your budget and plan meals. After a while, organizing and managing time becomes natural to you.

Getting Comfortable with Discomfort

The whole point is to step out of your comfort zone and get your mind working. Depending on how drastically different everything is compared to your home country, you will experience some levels of discomfort. Maybe all the food is terribly weird for your taste, or the mentality is poles apart from what you’re used to. Maybe your living conditions are not so cushy as you would have liked. All these experiences, although seemingly negative, build character and tolerance. Once you go through this, you find strength in yourself that you didn’t even know you had. It’s extremely motivating and gives you the grit to push through to achieve your goals.

The Satisfaction of Volunteering

You’ve probably heard motivational stories about how rewarding volunteering abroad is. Using your skills to help those in need really gives you a different perspective on things. You become more grateful for the things you have, you acquire new skills, and also, there’s a feeling of pride and motivation that comes with seeing the things you’re good at put to a good cause. Many people choose to volunteer in Africa or in Asian countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam. There’s a wide range of projects, from home building and wildlife preservation to teaching languages. In places like Vietnam, depending on the organization, you may not be provided with food or a place to live. But it’s all very manageable for somebody from a first world country and you can find a discount on accommodation at any time of the year. You may not earn any money, but you will definitely earn invaluable experiences to wake your mind up and motivate you.


Learning a New Language

This is one of the best parts of living abroad. Sure, it’s annoying in the beginning when you don’t understand anything—and that’s exactly the reason why you’ll learn faster than usual! Being a polyglot is wonderful and very useful in today’s globalized world. On top of that, the positive effect it has on the brain is unbelievable. It’s pretty much a long brain-workout, one of the many benefits being improved memory and concentration. Productive people are those who have the ability to concentrate well on whatever they are tasked with, so it’s no wonder that some of the most focused people we know speak at least two languages.



Overall, when deciding to go live abroad you are deliberately choosing to find motivation in your own actions rather than looking for it from other people. You bring change and freshness into your life. Most of it turns out to be a wonderful experience, but even the parts that are not so great contribute to your knowledge and awareness. The world we live in is vast and colorful, and the more you get to experience it, the better.