Have you ever dreamed about moving abroad? Perhaps you are perfectly happy where you are, but sometimes you imagine yourself living in a different country. Longing for a different and better life for yourself and your family is often an inspiration to move abroad. Maybe you seek a cultural or climate change, want to immerse yourself in another language, or just crave adventure. It’s exciting just to think about!
Many people from New World countries have a romantic expectation about moving to older cultures. Australians tend to see spending a period in France or Italy as one of the ultimate achievements in life. Many retired Americans move to France for a more relaxed and carefree lifestyle. British people have a reputation of seeking out a new beginning in South European countries. Such moves are all driven by positive intentions. More critical reasons for moving abroad may come into play as well, such as war, recession, and the desire to escape an oppressive political regime.
Regardless of the reasons for any move, the practical consequences of moving abroad can be daunting. You may be leaving a support system of family and friends. Moving requires a lot of preparation, organization, and the willingness to start from scratch. Settling in another country could strip you of your professional credentials, and your qualifications may not have the same status they have at home. If your new country uses a different language, it is likely to cause challenges. It may frustrate you that you don’t immediately know how to do simple things. Your new local community might not immediately accept you, or only do so with great hesitation. These are just some of the issues that may arise after settling in a new country. Therefore, whatever your motives are for moving abroad, it is wise to prepare mentally and physically, learn all you can, and be open to adapt to habits and customs in your new country.
- Assess your big WHY. Brainstorm your motives, both emotionally and rationally. Assess the things you will lose and gain personally and professionally, and consider how you and your family will handle that. Discuss these issues openly with family members.
- Do your homework. Network with people and resources in the new country beforehand. Learn all you can about the job market, schools, people, and neighborhoods. Investigate important details such as healthcare and transportation.
- Plan a temporary move. Rent a house in the country of your choice, and live the local life for six months and see how you fit in.