The Upside Of Living And Working Abroad In Your Twenties

I’ve talked about the struggles of someone my age residing abroad to earn a living in my recent post. In the couple of days that passed after the publication and after reading the comments and emails I received, I felt that I also have to discuss (especially for the benefit of those who have plans to go overseas) the joys of being outside my mother country. Just like anything in this world, being abroad gets its fair share of sweetness and bitterness. Truly, every cloud has a silver lining.1. You learn more about yourself. Even during the first week of living abroad, believe me when I say that you don’t only discover new things about your new country of residence. More importantly, you unravel more details about yourself that sometimes you never knew existed. It may be because abroad you are sometimes tested to your limits by being tossed in extremes of situations that require you to be independent and solely liable for yourself that causes one’s suppressed attitudes, abilities and/or values to surface. Back home, you get the jitters when you speak to foreigners but then later on, you learn that you enjoy conversing with them and that you are actually good with small talk. Before, you hated the idea of going out solo but have learned and mastered the art of it and not cower when you come across intimidating individuals.2. You learn that your world is a “small world after all”. Back in college, my Psychiatric Nursing instructor, Sir G, would frequently give advice on love and relationships to the whole class. He would always tell my single and brokenhearted classmates this, “There is plenty of fish in the sea. Girl, nasa kanal ka pa lang!” (There is plenty of fish in the sea. Girl, you’re just in the drain!”) I would like to use this metaphor to make my point. Simple?3. You become financially mature. Since you are far from the security and accessibility of home, you are left with no other choice but to fend for yourself in almost all aspects of living especially in your finances. When you were working home, there would be times that you can’t make both ends meet. But that never worried you because you can always ask mom or dad to loan you some cash exactly when you need it. Abroad, you MUST make both ends meet. There’s no other way but to do it. There’s no mom and dad to rescue you when you realize that you no longer have enough for another working day. Again, you gotta be responsible so you become responsible.4. You develop a stronger connection with God. I vividly remember the scenario in the aircraft when I landed in my work base coming back from a week of my first visit in the Philippines. My thought bubble exactly was, “God, it’s just me and you again.” You have developed a more mature and warm level of confidence in God that your prayers aren’t all too formal anymore. You pray when you feel like it no matter where and when you are. Talking with Him has never been more consistent and this easy in the past. You clutch to the One who has brought you there. You hold on to the belief that for as long as you have Him, everything should be okay.5. You value your relationships more. When you were still working in your home country, text messages and email exchanges with your family and loved ones are mostly brief and precise. Saying “I love you” to your mother was cheesy and it takes so much of your guts to say it out loud. Now that you’re a thousand miles away from your precious ones, the “How are you?”‘s, “Take care”‘s, and “I love you”‘s have become more meaningful than ever. Now you can display a little bit more of affection confidently in public because of that unwanted but possible thought that you may never have the chance to do it again.6. Money can’t buy everything but it’s definitely something. This is something I am most certain of. Money will never ever be everything in life but let’s face it, it really does make the world go round. Besides love, that is. But don’t get me caught up between love and money. You know the answer. However, isn’t being able to provide your family the best life you possibly can say something? Isn’t being able to splurge on your dream perfume good? Doesn’t knowing that you can now afford both your wants (unlike before that you make do of your salary just for your needs) and needs make you feel proud of yourself?7. You realize that you no longer have time for unnecessary and forced friendships.Remember those times you made an effort to pattern with other girls’ likes and attitude just so you can fit in and be friends with them? Remember feeling obliged to make small talk, say nice things and be overly polite to someone just so you can be friends with him/her (or maintain that hallucination of a friendship you thought you had)? You no longer have the energy and the time for those. You’d rather spend both of it wisely on those who matter and those who you’re sure are true.8. You become more ambitious as you see more of the world. Seeing more innovation especially in first world countries have opened your eyes and mind to more possibilities of this world. Your imagination widens and so do your dreams. You see more beauty by the Creator and so in the amazement of it, you can’t help but wish your family were there with you sharing in that moment of awe. And so, you make it possible.9. Your inner wanderlust is activated. As you encounter different cultures, you tend to imagine what’s more in another world..what’s different in another country. You become naturally curious of the world and the world that’s there to find. You ache to see more and learn more. And both will lead you to become wiser and smarter about life which is another profit on its own.10. You become proactive. Having spent your present abroad, you develop a habit of thinking and planning for the future. Now, you are able to sit down and talk about what you want your life to become five to ten years from now. And you have confidence and mastery in the manner you aim it. Now, you grab life by the horns. And you grab it good. You have learned to always seek and lay out the pros and cons of the major decisions and chapters in your life. You have become in charge of the present and so you’re assured you’re gonna take over your future — and you’re gonna rock it.#

Published by alyalkholifibello

Registered Nurse. Flight Attendant. Writer. Reader. Dreamer. Believer. Daughter. Sister. Auntie. Wife.

27 thoughts on “The Upside Of Living And Working Abroad In Your Twenties

  1. The article is really related to all OFWs and including me too. I started to work abroad on 2012 until the present in Qatar. For what i learned during those years i spend, was being independent ,mature and sacrifice for better life. Thank you for post this wonderful article. It really help me realize for what is worth of working in abroad.

    ” Hardship often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destination”
    -C.S. Lewis


    1. No.5 is really true..when you are abroad you remember all those special people back home thinking you should have said those i love you’s more to your mother..time difference is a bit hassle but when you really miss then youre willing to stay up late or wake up early to speak with them..
      And being alone and struggling abroad at twenties makes you stronger.


    2. Just when I thought I was the only one that went through all of this, and there you go mentioning it all..😉 this was undeniably true and I really like the part where we get stronger connections with God.. Ironic, because I am currently in Saudi Arabia and my religion is something I just keep down in my heart but it’s the faith I must say that doesn’t need to speak louder. I just know from within that I am hand in hand with the Creator. Great article by the way!😊


  2. Number 7 is especially true for me, and I find that the friends I did make abroad are the ones that are worth keeping even after moving away. Those friendships are particularly meaningful, especially when you share moments of cultural exploration and exchange. Another great post!



  3. Wow its amazing I came across your blog; you have very interesting posts(Number 7 is a great point here. I’ve learned a more mature attitude on who I want to hang out with…and not wasting thoughts on people who don’t care). I am in school to become a nurse, but I’ve thought about becoming a flight attendant as well. Its too bad you had to stop nursing but…now you can have so many more experiences traveling! If you had a choice, would you go back to nursing, or would you stay a flight attendant? I always weigh both choices in my mind, and it would be interesting to know what you thought. 🙂


    1. Hi, Jill! Where are you? 🙂 Given the status of the nursing profession in the Philippines at present, I would be a flight attendant for now. I think I’m gonna be in this industry until I get to my late twenties. But if nursing is gonna improve back home, meaning I get compensated well while doing what I studied to do, why not? It would be a dream come true! 😊


      1. Nice! I’m from Washington State. Our healthcare system here is more kind to nurses. Pay is great and many get jobs right after graduation. My sister works at an assisted living facility as a nurse, and almost all the staff are Filipino. I haven’t entered the nursing program yet but it is my goal; hopefully I will be excepted this year.


  4. nice one but made me wondered why no. 4 is not placed first. Being raised in a Filipino tradition, I think we know the basics- it’s always like God, them, and me. Yet I should simply state that you’re being “selfish” in a good way. See, your first post shows how nostalgic you are and probably on the second you found that sharing a bit of your life story is a good way to inspire others. On your third, you must’ve realized something within yourself that you’ve moved outwardly on your third and fourth. Based on the frequency of your posts, there must be something that changed in your routine and perhaps you have been a little enthusiastic these previous days. Oh, it’s not the new flavor of ice cream you ate this week hehe- maybe you just drank another dose of motivation. By the way, your writing skills are ranking up so two thumbs up and try vodka this week, it might give you another perspective.
    sorry I came to criticize your work instead of the usual I can relate or this is good and honestly I just scroll on your posts once- I don’t really read them but I probably understood you more than your other readers yet I could always wrongly guess. It’s what I do, learning the transparency of people.


    1. Hi, Jaque! I hope you find comfort when I say that these ten things aren’t, in any way, placed in hierarchy. I would like to know more though when you say that I am being selfish in a good way. You are correct to assume that I’ve been a little too enthusiastic and that does me well. I might give a go for ice cream but definitely not for vodka. You see, I don’t drink. But thank you. And thank you for your comment. 🙂


  5. Interesting post many of my young filipino countrymen all over the globe could relate to. Living abroad has indeed taught me a lot of things more than I could ever imagine and the thing is there is still so much to learn. I’m a different person now because of it and I feel am much braver and wiser when you make it through situations where all you can get help from is yourself. Greetings from a 20 something living and seizing the day here in Finland.


  6. thank you for all this article,im also an ofw here in uae,its tough being away from my family but i am certain that this too shall pass and i will overcome all this homesickness drama..hehehe. its always inspiring reading ur post,it makes me realized i am not alone with this dilemma.(feeling so alone) 😦 i will overcome this,im being positve on that.AJA!


  7. Reblogged this on SHOBERLIN and commented:
    Really quite enjoyed this read. Reiterating the idea that being in your 20’s is your prime time, so don’t be afraid to just get out there.

    Hoping to travel & be abroad in the near future. ❤


  8. Hi Aly! You reminded me of how I was more than a decade ago. I too was a flight attendant. Most of my 20’s were lived out of a suitcase. I was literally everywhere. Learnings you mentioned are treasures I now hold close to my heart. We didn’t have laptops then, so after exploring the city, I would find myself back in my hotel room, coloring books, if not hovering over the beach side, often, sank in a bathtub with a glass of wine. I too struggled from being away, but I have to say, it surely did me well. Travel taught me humility, the importance of independence, learned to tolerate sadness, embraced change, and yes, valued family over anything else.
    I also started a blog several years after, but wasn’t able to progress with only a couple of posts, because then I finally decided to settle back home. Now, I am happily spending every waking time with my 2 kids, savoring every moment I can get. Watching them grow is far more fulfilling now than that breathtaking awe that I experienced with my travels.

    Your thoughts are great. You’ve brought back the young me. Thank you.

    Great travels, darling! Enjoy every bit of it. Cause later when you lay aside that suitcase, you not only will have a closet-full of four season clothing, but humbled priceless memories that will stay with you forever.




    1. Hi, Phidiza! I was literally smiling reading your message! Thank you for your beautiful words. It’s amazing hearing from someone who’s been the exact same place I am now. I am sure you’re living a very wonderful life. God bless you! 😊


  9. It’s true when you’re out of the mother country you become of yourselves, trying to cope # 1 where you completely become independent and smart in handling #3, then when you’re feeling lonely and down you turn to #4 and learn to know Him more. when you’re abroad money is not you’re center of everything #6 your main goal is to travel around the world.. But I dunno to some others but here in europe it becomes our goal, to do a list travels around europe. So you become #6 when you see the other world that is totally different from your mother country. As if you wish to live there forever your #9 activated until you make way to the #10. It’s really so amazing and awesome to travel and see the outside world other than our mother country where you used to live all your lives since you’re birth.


  10. Yes .. it’s true I’m the one of them experience everything about working abroad after my studies at the age of 22 .. responsibilities and obligation to your family and to be matured about the money and then something happen in your life that really small world that you never unexpected and changing your life.. Like you say to the #10 i really determination after 10 years from now i am planning much better than 20s of my age because the more your working abroad you really become responsibilities and dreaming everything because this is only once in your life that you never wasting the time until you having a good job and do what is better to your future


  11. I am in my mid 20’s and planning to go out and explore not just the world but myself too. This is a good read and I can say a blessing too. This blog is the answer to my prayers and I think I am decided. I will go out and work abroad.. 🙂


  12. Amazing your blog mom, thank you for sharing youre thoughts and experience with us, this blog make me courage to pursue my ambition going abroad. I know its tough , but i have a perception to push my self that i can do it.


  13. Wow, I came across your blog from a Facebook friend’s news feed, on your article on turning 25. This is your third work I am reading and can’t disagree with any.
    Coming from Africa, to most people, all you see back home is the glamour life of living abroad.
    Living abroad has made me 2x more responsible than back home (where you have everything and all finanancial support)….I can write on and won’t stop. But turning 25 in a couple of months, I have learnt and realized moreeee…

    More power to your elbow

    Liked by 1 person

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