In order to live abroad you have to have a goal. It does not matter if it is to try to be a professional soccer player or just to get out of your comfort zone. Once you have that, it makes everything else easier.
When I left Brazil to become a student-athlete in the United States I had something really clear in my mind, I wanted to study and work with marketing, so I knew that the United States was the place to learn and I knew that staying in my home town would not be a good option, so I left.
Little did I know that marketing would be just a small portion of what I learned living abroad. In the first year I learned how to cook, I made friends from all over the world, I learned how to respect the traditions of another culture, I lived other cultures.
It seems simple but adaptation and risk taking are two qualities that you need to have once you do it. It is natural to hold on to what makes you comfortable, it is natural to follow a path that has already been taken, instead of building your own. You have to be open minded and brave in order to really enjoy the experience and take something meaningful from it.
As a marketing professional these experiences helped me with the ability of putting myself in other people's shoes, and for marketing that is quite an ability. Being able to understand different points of view, to understand people's needs, to understand human behavior in general is something that every marketing professional needs. For me that ability came from my experiences abroad. Talking to people with distinct backgrounds and being capable of co-living with all of them, having discussions about manners, learning other languages, different body languages interpretations, distinct business manners, all of that helped with my profession.
Better yet, it helped me as a human being, if you ever thought of living abroad, if you ever had the willingness to now another country, another way of living, do it! Do it but know why you are doing it and just go for it. Yes, it will be great for your resume, it will be awesome for your professional life, but it will be ineffable for your entire life in general.
By Gabriela Chaves