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Cities Abroad To Move To In Your 20s That’ll Fulfill Your Wanderlust

Your 20s are the time to take a leap of faith — but some of us prefer to vault. Maybe it’s the adrenaline from trying something new. Maybe it’s the thrill of starting over, unhindered by the demands of a family or other later-in-life responsibilities. Whatever your reason, the world is your oyster. And there’s no better way to fulfill that by moving to one of these cities abroad. 

Moving abroad in your 20s teaches you independence, pushes you out of your comfort zone, and can even advance your career. Some of us didn’t get a chance to study abroad due to the pandemic, which furthers the itch to pack a suitcase and move internationally. Living abroad gives you the opportunity to deepen your relationship with yourself, expose yourself to new perspectives, and disrupt the daily routine. 

And “carpe diem” — but don’t just seize the day, take the decade. Without further ado, here are the top cities abroad that twentysomethings are moving to — and why you should join them.

Amsterdam, Netherlands

There are a lot of reasons why young people in their 20s are moving to Amsterdam, one of the most vibrant and eclectic cities in the world. Known for their coffee and breweries, beautiful canals, strong LGBTQ+ community (there’s a reason the city is known as the Gay Capital of Europe), and fun nightlife, Amsterdam embodies the kinds of adventures you want to pursue in your 20s. Let’s talk logistics —  there’s great public transportation. Amsterdam’s bike culture came out of the fight for cyclist rights, which somehow makes it more exciting. And the language barrier is quite low for English speakers, so if you don’t have time to learn a new language — don’t fret. Think you can see yourself there? The number of expats (people who moved to Amsterdam from outside the country) lies somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000.

Lyon, France

The land of wine and cheese is calling, and honestly, name a more compelling reason to move to France. Enter Lyon, Paris’ more affordable option. While Paris is highly sought after, there are other great French cities that can give you all you want and more at a more. For example, the cost of living in Lyon is 30% less expensive than in Paris. Lyon, France, is especially known for its art murals, historical landmarks, and rich food scene, as it’s known by some as the world capital of food. It’s a cosmopolitan city, but with plenty of charm. With accessible public transportation, Lyon also is easy to navigate. It’s a perfect blend of historical roots and young people, and should totally be on your list.

Berlin, Germany

There’s a lot of reasons young people are moving to Berlin — the city is both sexy and practical. Berlin is known for its festivals, architecture, and nightlife. With a cheap cost of living, a popular start-up culture, and the city’s central location in relation to Europe, it’s no wonder that Berlin also checks the pragmatic boxes. Employees in Berlin also enjoy some of the highest salaries internationally. Berlin is also very eco-friendly, with 2,500 parks and over a million trees. Berlin is a global hub, a counter cultural place, and a flourishing city — and it could be your next home.

Montreal, Canada

In 2020, Montreal, Canada was voted the happiest city in North America, according to Knight Frank, who compiles a city wellbeing list each year. With a culture of quaint cafes, a busy festival hopping scene, beautiful gardens and museums, and a reputation for being one of the nicest cities in the world, the ranking makes sense. Did you know Montreal is North America’s No. 1 host city for international events? Montreal also has an underground city — a series of interconnected tunnels under the city with stores, universities, restaurants, malls, and more. The cost of living in Montreal is cheaper than Toronto and Vancouver. With all these reasons and more, don’t just take a leap of faith — take flight.

Maddie Solomon is a writer, advocate, and Jewish professional. She graduated from Occidental College in 2021, where she majored in Political Science with an Education minor. She hails from Los Angeles – the land of sunsets, tacos, and oceans – and recently moved to Boston to explore a new East Coast life. Her work has been published in The Denver Post, Women's Media Center, The Jewish Journal, Persephone's Daughters, amongst other publications.