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5 Incredible Underrated Locations to Spend a Year

5 Incredible Underrated Locations to Spend a Year

One of the best ways to grow as an individual is to travel to a new destination and immerse yourself in a new culture. Learning about different cultural norms and international practices helps broaden your horizons and open your mind to new ways of thinking. Although a simple week-long trip to an exotic destination is still an incredibly impactful experience, fully diving into a culture by spending a year abroad at that destination is the best way to truly get to know a new culture and grow personally. This is why many remote workers and students decide to take a year to work or study abroad.

Some of the more common destinations for work or study abroad include popular tourist locations like France, England, Germany, Japan, and Australia. Although these are all amazing countries that are definitely deserving of a visit, there are several highly underrated locations that are excellent for working or studying abroad that might be more to your liking if you prefer to do things a bit differently.

Here are five incredible yet underrated destinations for working or studying abroad.

1. Slovenia

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    Though it is small, Slovenia is world-renowned for its incredible landscapes and access to amazing outdoor recreational activities. The country is located on the borders of the Alps as well as the Mediterranean which means visitors and locals can enjoy activities like skiing, hiking, rafting, and biking without traveling too far. The country also offers up an intriguing historical background with an abundance of beautiful medieval castles.

    You can only stay in Slovenia for up to three months with your passport alone. This means if you plan to spend a year in the country to work or study, you will need to apply for a visa. This process must be done before you enter the country. Planning ahead to ensure you will be able to stay and work or study legally in the country is an absolutely essential first step in planning your extended stay abroad.

    2. Vietnam

      Vietnam has a lively, young culture full of locals who are focused on forward-facing movement and progress. If you visit the southern half of the country, you can enjoy pleasant temperatures around 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. Working and studying among the incredibly hard working Vietnamese citizens has been explained by former students as an incredible experience and lesson in work ethic and determination. Some amazing sites that must be seen while you travel through Vietnam include the Marble Mountains, Hang Nga’s Guest House, the Phong Nha caves, and Ha Long Bay.

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      You’ll need to apply for a visa in order to stay in this country as you work or study abroad. The process of acquiring a visa to temporarily live in the country of Vietnam is relatively simple. All you need to get started on the process of getting your visa is a passport that is at least six months old and the ability to answer a few simple questions about your plans for your stay.

      3. Norway

        The Norwegian coastal views are easily some of the most beautiful sights to see in our world, but that’s not the only reason this nation makes the list of one of the most underrated destinations to work and study abroad. The country is located between Sweden, Finland, Russia, and Denmark which means you’ll be in relatively close proximity to other major nations if you choose to travel a bit further and experience a few more cultures during your time as an honorary resident of Norway. The country also boasts a rich history that will make your visit all the more interesting and informative.

        To travel to Norway, even for a short stay, a traveler must have a visa. In order to stay in Norway for more than 90 days, an individual must receive a residence permit. These are issued to travelers for study, work, or family visitation purposes.

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        4. South Africa

          South Africa is home to an incredible culture of diverse citizens. With eleven official languages, the country offers up an unparalleled opportunity to interact with locals who enjoy different cultural practices and communication forms.

          Sources also note that there are many work-based programs as well as universities that offer programs for students and remote workers spending their time abroad. Venturing to this country also gives you the opportunity to check off the awesome experience of exploring the African continent from your bucket list. Some of the must-visit areas you should check out during your stay here include Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg.

          The process of obtaining a work visa for South Africa is a bit more complex than that of some other countries. There are multiple steps you must take and additional documents you will need to provide to get cleared to work or study in the country.

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          5. Austria

            If you’re looking to get the full European experience during your time abroad, Austria might just be the ideal location for you to set up shop for a year. The country is bordered by Germany, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Switzerland. This means you’ll have more opportunity to travel a little farther and explore different cultures when you catch a break in your work or studies. Visiting Vienna, the capital of Austria, is an absolute must during your time in the country. Other notable locations to visit might include Innsbruck, Graz, and Hallstatt.

            The process for obtaining a visa to live and work or study in Austria will vary based on the nature of your work in the country. At a minimum you will need to fill out an application, send two passport photos, send copies of your passport with two blank pages, write a cover letter, send your flight itinerary and hotel reservation info, send proof of travel insurance, and provide proof of civil status and sufficient financial means.

            Selecting a destination to work or study abroad is a major decision. After all, you’ll be spending the next year or so living in the country’s climate and interacting with its citizens while picking up on new cultural cues. Aside from some of the obvious choices for spending a year abroad, it also offers up the opportunity for incredible experiences. Choosing one of these underrated locations could be ideal if you’re looking to have a cultural experience that is less focused on tourism and more focused on immersing yourself in the culture.

            Featured Photo Credit: Vietnam Halong Bay, Island On Lake BedLight Sea Dawn Landscape, Rocky Mountains Near Citizens Near Body of Water, Bay Boats Cape Town Cityscape, City Near The Mountain Photography

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via images.pexels.com

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            Last Updated on July 10, 2020

            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

            We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

            We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

            So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

            Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

            What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

            Boundaries are limits

            —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

            Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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            Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

            Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

            Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

            How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

            Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

            1. Self-Awareness Comes First

            Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

            You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

            To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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            You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

            • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
            • When do you feel disrespected?
            • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
            • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
            • When do you want to be alone?
            • How much space do you need?

            You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

            2. Clear Communication Is Essential

            Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

            Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

            3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

            Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

            That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

            Sample language:

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            • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
            • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
            • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
            • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
            • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
            • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
            • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

            Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

            4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

            Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

            Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

            Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

            We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

            It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

            It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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            Final Thoughts

            Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

            Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

            Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

            The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

            Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

            Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

            They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

            Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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