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Every three months, we talk to an expert from the Overseas Social Security (OSS). This month, it's the turn of Annelies Raes, communications manager of the Overseas Social Security (OSS).

More and more young people are heading out into the wide world after their studies in the search for adventure and to some extent, themselves. During her flexi-job in a vegan restaurant, Annelies met many of them, busy with a side job before their big departure.

Alongside my job as a communications worker, I work behind the bar in a vegan restaurant. It’s an inspiring environment with driven people, mostly students who, like me, see the hospitality industry as a flexible source of income. Many of them want to unleash their adventurous side, ready to discover the wide world.

In today's fast-changing world, young people are increasingly struggling with the same questions: Who am I? What do I want to achieve? The pressures of society, parental expectations and educational demands can sometimes be overwhelming. Hence the growing need to broaden their horizons, pursue their dreams and take a break from familiar surroundings. This may look like a career break, but the exact destination doesn't seem to matter, as long as it’s outside Europe.

Broadening your horizons

Young people have grown up in a world that seems much smaller than that of their parents. Technology enables them to communicate with people on the other side of the world. But ironically, connectivity isn’t always a real sense of connection. Many young people feel trapped in the rat race of everyday life and long for something essential, something deep.

This desire to broaden horizons is understandable. It can lead to personal growth, self-discovery and a broader perspective on the world. Experiencing new cultures, learning other languages and stepping out of their comfort zone allows young people to discover themselves in unexpected ways.

Chasing dreams

Broadening their horizons often means taking a ‘gap year’ of a few months, a year or even more to pursue their dreams without the pressure of work or study.

A career break offers the freedom to explore and grow. Volunteering in Africa, travelling across the United States, learning traditional arts in Asia... these are all valuable experiences for both personal development and new career prospects. The destination is less important to these young people than the chance they give themselves to open their minds to new realities and experiences.

Goodbye and see you later!

For you young people looking for something different, the world offers countless possibilities. So don't hesitate to pack your suitcase, leave Europe behind for a while and embark on a journey of discovery beyond known horizons.

With this message in mind, I'd like to follow in your footsteps. But I have chosen to stay within Europe. I’m going to the UK for an extended period to immerse myself fully in English-speaking culture. So: goodbye and see you later!

Would you like to share your travel experiences?

Are you an expat or do you know someone with an inspiring experience abroad? Please don't hesitate to contact us at overseas-expat@onssrszlss.fgov.be. And who knows, you might inspire future expats with your story.

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