How studying and working abroad makes you smarter

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The benefits of living abroad are numerous. Some time ago the Times published an article about how studying and working abroad makes you smarter. According to a number of studies international experience makes you a better problem solver. In addition, you become more flexible and creative. As a result, you may be professionally more successful.

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William Maddux is an associate professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD. His study shows that students who were enrolled in an international MBA program and adopted an open attitude toward foreign cultures became more able to make connections among disparate ideas. These students also got many job offers after the program ended. According to Maddux, people who have lived abroad and are able to identify with more than one nationality are more creative and can solve problems better. Furthermore, students with international experience are more likely to create new businesses.

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Angela Leung is an associate professor of psychology at Singapore Management University. She has also investigated the effects of living abroad and argues that people who have stepped outside their comfort zones are more creative and make unexpected links among concepts.

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Both Maddux and Leung report that the advantages of living abroad accrue to those who are willing to get familiar with new cultures and places. I have studied abroad in Austria, Germany and Iceland and worked in Turkey and I believe that being in a new and unfamiliar environment can contribute in broad-mindedness and tolerance. Nowadays I see things from a different perspective. How about you? Did the international experience change the way you think?

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