Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Does Living Abroad Help Stimulate Creativity?

Those of us who have lived abroad know what a magnificent, frustrating, life-changing experience it can be. But can it also be good for our brains? A recent study found that living overseas may help to stimulate creativity, especially for those who fully immerse themselves in the local language. The study also found that the more time you spend overseas, the better your creative boost will be. And if you'd really like to see results, it's best to avoid isolating yourself in expat communities. Maybe all this will convince your boss to let you do your work on a sunny beach in Greece rather than in your one-size-fits-all cube?

I can't remember if I felt more creative while living in France as compared to living stateside. At the same time, I do know that learning French definitely changed the way my mind works, and I often feel as though all my senses are heightened when I travel. What do you think about the study? Do you feel more creative when you're living overseas?

8 comments:

Will101 said...

Great post, check out this blog on the same topic: http://abroad101.blogspot.com/2009/06/living-abroad-linked-to-increase-in.html

Nomadic Matt said...

i dont know if i feel more creative but i def feel more energetic and happy overseas

Zhu said...

I think so!

I definitely feel more creative when I travel. Living abroad too, although after a long period of time, I'm not so sure.

I guess your brain works differently to cope with cultural differences, and you break the routine, hence the creativity burst.

Greg Wesson said...

Interesting topic, though I must admit I am sceptical of the link. After all, could it be that people who chose to live abroad are just generally more creative? I must admit I am also sceptical because the research is by a professor at INSEAD, which has a vested interest in talking up the benefits of a global, international business, being the "international business school" and all.

I do think there is something to learning a language helping people think in other areas as well. I'm rubbish at languages, but have experienced the same thing when doing sudukos or crosswords. Working the brain in one way helps it in others, I think.

Cancemini4 said...

I don't know if I would call it "creativity" but I know that when I travel I am definitely more perceptive all around. Being in tune with a new environment coupled with having the free time to just let my mind wander usually results in some deep thinking and reflection. Great food for thought, thanks for posting!

Tanya said...

@Will101, thanks for sharing this related link. Interesting stuff.

@Greg, You make a really good point. It's always good to question these things instead of taking them at face value.

julie said...

Living abroad can stimulate your creativity, I think, as can really conscious, attentive travel. When I return from Cuba, for example, I always look at objects differently, more creatively, wondering how they can be reused or repurposed.

xohaib said...

The topic is very nice; I think you should be more creative when you studying overseas, you show your skills to the other people.
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