Well, I know that if I were interviewing this chap (and I am interviewing people quite a bit) I would be at least impressed by his having shown some initiative. I would also say that someone who is willing and able to go and live fairly happily in a quite different cultural and lingual context than they may be used to, has shown themselves to be adaptable, inquisitive, and keen to learn.
Even in a poor economy, demonstrating those qualities still stands out. Almost certainly the most common reason for failing when interviewing with me is the "I haven't had a chance to..." story. Often this is in the context of software. "I haven't had a chance to try this language or that language" What they mean is that previous jobs haven't used it. They could easily have learnt about it in their own time - it just wasn't a priority for them. Which is fair enough - but you will lose out against those who turn "would like to do" in to "done".