fbpx

Expat Self Awareness

“The German philosopher Hermann von Keyserling wrote in the epigraph to his 1919 book The Travel Diary of a Philosopher, ‘The shortest path to oneself leads around the world.’ Almost 100 years later, our research provides empirical evidence in support of this idea.” What exactly the social scientists from Rice University, Columbia University and the University of North Carolina who penned the above sentence arrived at is illuminating — especially to our global audience. Up until now, most research on foreign experiences has tended to focus on whether someone researched lived abroad or not. This study, however, focused on the durations of those stays and the effects they had on our clarity of self.

In short, depth of time spent in a place — rather than the number of places visited —enhances our sense of self. Why? Well, the strangeness of a foreign environment encourages us to reflect more. As those reflections accumulate, we get greater clarity in making decisions about important things, like our careers. That makes the expat life one of the only transitional experiences — others are getting divorced or losing a job — that increases that sense of self. The insight is important to companies that are increasingly hiring talent from abroad. But it’s also important for individuals themselves. For proof, just scroll up to the top and read Sue Cowie’s profile again.

Andreas Tzortzis
Andreas Tzortzis
He has worked as a journalist for the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Newsweek and Monocle Magazine from Berlin and London before leading Red Bull’s mainstream-facing content platform, The Red Bulletin, from Los Angeles. He recently returned to his hometown of San Francisco with his small family. dre@agei.st
-Advertisement-
2,680FansLike
5,079FollowersFollow
2,062FollowersFollow

More Stories

The Importance of Sun-Proofing Your Eyes

We all know about the dangers that UV rays pose when it comes to our skin: skin cancer, premature aging, wrinkles. But many people...

Artist John Mosler’s Show: The Decline of Intimacy

We have been following John Mosler’s radical career pivot for some time. We profiled John back in 2017. He had spent the previous decade...

Monika Gerber, 62, Just Say Yes

Just say yes and good things happen.For most of us, radical changes can be a daunting prospect. Leaving old habits behind and reinventing yourself...

Over-50 Shoe Solutions for the Modern Guy

Men’s style over 50 is always a bit of a confusing struggle. Should it be forward looking? Should I be wearing what I did...

How I Got My Teeth Tuned Up

Here's my tooth tale: Growing up in sunny Southern California, I was always outside having fun with my friends. A game of Marco Polo...