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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 January 17, 2019

            8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

            8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

            In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

            Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

            Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

            Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

            Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

            The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

            There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

            How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

            According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

            Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

            Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

            The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

            Listen carefully:

            We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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            The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

            Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

            8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

            There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

            Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

            1. Pray Daily

            You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

            When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

            Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

            Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

            2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

            A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

            By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

            Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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            If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

            This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

            How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

            3. Smile Often

            Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

            Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

            Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

            The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

            4. Organize Your Working Desk

            A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

            When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

            Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

            Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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            5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

            I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

            Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

            What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

            6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

            God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

            I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

            I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

            7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

            You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

            How do you do that? This is my formula:

            First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

            If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

            If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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            If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

            Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

            8. Go Exercise

            Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

            The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

            You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

            12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

            The Bottom Line

            It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

            It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

            Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

            More Resources About Mindfulness

            Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

            Reference

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