Reasons to fall in love with serving overseas

Last month, I wrote about some of the harder parts of serving overseas. If that post was a downer, this one is all about highs. I’ve fallen in love with serving overseas. Here are some of the reasons why…

You get to live a life most others either can’t or won’t.
A couple years ago, as I tried to explain to a shocked new acquaintance how my life overseas may sound wild, but I’m actually just a really normal person, my dad interrupted and said, “No, Anisha. You are not normal. Normal people don’t do what you do.” And it’s true. There aren’t many of us who can or even want to give up careers, sell our possessions, and plant our families in a foreign culture without any goal of financial gain or advancement. It is precisely this ‘not normalness’ that makes serving overseas so special.

Serving overseas expands your world view.
I am the daughter of an immigrant, my first words were not English, and for most of my growing up years I lived in an ethnically diverse neighborhood. Even so, I held a very narrow view of the world based exclusively on my own life experiences. It wasn’t until I moved overseas that I met people whose thoughts and view of the world were alien to mine. Moving overseas teaches you that you don’t hold all the facts. What a great lesson to learn! The world could use a lot more humble, open minded people.

You are free to value what is really important.    
We left the rat race. We are not accumulating debt in new vehicles, or a mortgage, or all the gadgets that go with them. We aren’t emotionally weighed down by constantly comparing ourselves to the neighbors (and honestly, when we do it’s quite humbling because many of our neighbors live in one room homes with a dirt floors and grass roofs). By removing ourselves from any pursuit of the American Dream we are free to give ourselves to the things that really matter – family, neighbors, and living lives of service.

 Your heart makes room for friends from all over the world.
America, England, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Spain, Indonesia, Germany, China, Australia, Switzerland, Singapore…When I think of friendships, these are the countries that go with them. Being overseas, it doesn’t take long before you begin racking up friendships from around the world.

You will make significant bucket list progress.
Visit a castle: did it.
Snorkel coral reefs: did it.
Ride an elephant, ride a camel, learn to drive a motorcycle: Yes, yes, yes.
Live on another continent and learn to speak at least two languages: Yep (on my fourth continent) and yep.
Swim with whale sharks – still working on that one.
                Actually, a lot of the cool stuff we’ve done overseas was never on my bucket list. Things like, seeing The Lion King in London’s West End or sledding 8 kilometers down a Swiss mountain at perilous speeds – those things just kind of happen when you live overseas.

For certain, living overseas is not for the faint of heart. There are many tough aspects of this life, but don’t let that overshadow all the rest. There are plenty of reasons to fall in love with serving overseas. I’m smitten.

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Anisha Hopkinson

Anisha was born to Chilean and Texan parents, first tasted missions in Mexico, fell in love with an Englishman in Africa, and now lives in Indonesia. She journals about cross-cultural life, helping people, and loving Jesus on

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