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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 March 13, 2019

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

            Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

            You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

            Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

            1. Work on the small tasks.

            When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

            Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

            2. Take a break from your work desk.

            Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

            Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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            3. Upgrade yourself

            Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

            The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

            4. Talk to a friend.

            Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

            Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

            5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

            If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

            Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

            Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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            6. Paint a vision to work towards.

            If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

            Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

            Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

            7. Read a book (or blog).

            The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

            Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

            Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

            8. Have a quick nap.

            If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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            9. Remember why you are doing this.

            Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

            What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

            10. Find some competition.

            Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

            Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

            11. Go exercise.

            Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

            Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

            As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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            Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

            12. Take a good break.

            Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

            Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

            Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

            Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

            More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

            Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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