Frommer's travel site today quotes a study in the May edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the American Psychological Association, indicating that people who have lived outside their native country may develop more creative minds. The full study is here.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I know that in my own life the times I lived outside the USA forced me to become a more creative thinker. At age seventeen I moved from Montana to Thailand for a year. That was an extreme shock, but after the initial cultural drowning period I loved every minute of it. It was a wonder in every way to see that the world was more than downtown Billings, MT.
Later, I lived and worked in Russia for several years. I often say that everything I learned about business I learned while watching communism stagger towards becoming capitalism. It wasn't all pretty, but it was without a doubt the most formative business experience of my life.
The APA study concludes with this thought:
It may be that those critical months or years of turning cultural bewilderment into concrete understanding may instill not only the ability to “think outside the box” but also the capacity to realize that the box is more than a simple square, more than its simple form, but also a repository of many creative possibilities.