I’m amazed at how many people who express a desire to live abroad someday but think it’s impossible. A little creativity and some legwork can go a long way. Planning our own sabbatical was not easy – finding useful resources is a challenge – but it was worth every effort. It’s true that some jobs lend themselves more to working at another location, working remotely or taking a hiatus, but you’d be surprised by what you can figure out if you put your mind to it.
Our sabbatical gave our children priceless gifts:
- They learned more through traveling than they ever could in a classroom; we joked that our 9 year old may have missed 4th grade social studies but instead took a PhD level course in Western Civilization.
- They were immersed in a second language, their brains forging new neural pathways that will open opportunities for the rest of their lives.
- They became more resilient every day. It’s not easy to navigate a new town and new school in a new language. Adapting to the local culture, they walked (or scootered) all over town – to school, to soccer practice and to the store – building confidence and self-efficacy.
As for us adults, we enjoyed every minute. Professionally, my husband strengthened international collaborations and developed new perspectives on work, research and – it must be said – work/life balance. Are you worried about the cost? So was I, but even living in the most expensive country in the world (Switzerland) AND traveling a ton, we came out ahead money-wise every month. Let me say that again: due to some creative planning, we have been better off financially during our sabbatical.
If you have the chance to take a sabbatical, work overseas or to be an expat, I highly encourage you to take it! However, it did require a lot of time and effort to make it happen – and the process was frustrating and discouraging at times. I can help you navigate the visas & permits, how to find a place to live, what makes sense for your kids’ schooling, etc. It can seem overwhelming but is so worth it! Fill out my quick survey or email me to start a conversation about how to make it happen for you.