On one hand, the friendliness was a pleasant change from all the straight-faced Swiss. But on the other hand, it was kind of disturbing. It took 4+ years of living abroad, but I can finally understand why the Swiss thought I had mental issues when I used to exude enthusiasm over anything—even work.
Which naturally leads me to writing. This experience, learning to see things from a different perspective, is great for writers. I am now seeing the United States through the eyes of a European. That’s priceless. Unlike a new arrival or vacationer, I no longer gape at the Swiss when they ignore my smile, I go back to my country and stare at my smiling fellow citizens instead.
And then I grin. Because every writer should be so fortunate to see themselves this clearly.
Maybe that’s why research at INSEAD demonstrated that going abroad enhances creative thinking. Living in Switzerland has definitely made me a more creative person–at least I know I've become more empathetic to other cultures and ways of living. What is your experience with creativity and going abroad?