Living abroad is more than just a chance to explore a new place. It makes you more creative as well!
According to a research published by the American Psychological Association, there is a definite link between living abroad and creativity of a person. William Maddux, who is an assistant professor of OB at INSTEAD and a former visiting assistant professor and post-doctoral fellow at Kellogg School of Management, is the lead author of this study. He says, “Gaining experience in foreign cultures has long been a classic prescription for artists interested in stimulating their imaginations or honing their crafts. But does living abroad actually make people more creative? It’s a long-standing question that we feel we’ve been able to begin answering through this research.”
Maddux and Adam Galinsky, the Morris and Alice Kaplan professor of ethics and decision in management at Kellogg School, conducted a series of studies to test this hypothesis. The studies included getting a batch of students to solve psychometric puzzles or to negotiate a difficult deal. The objective of these studies was to test the creativity of these students and their ability to think “out of the box”. Creativity was then compared with the number of years spent living abroad.
The results validated the hypothesis that there is a link between creativity and living abroad. “This shows us that there is some sort of psychological transformation that needs to occur when people are living in a foreign country in order to enhance creativity. This may happen when people work to adapt themselves to a new culture,” says Adam.
Does this mean that Indians living abroad are more creative than the Indians living back home? If you believe in research and statistics, then YES, this is exactly what this means. When we spend all out time in the same country and amidst the same culture, we get too conditioned to act and think as we always do. The creativity takes a beating and we become set in our ways. But when people spend a few years living abroad, they are challenged by the need to cope with a new culture and new systems. This keeps them on their toes and they prove to be more innovative.
Now, that’s an argument for you to get some education/experience abroad. Right?