The opportunity to move abroad is an exciting time but alongside the anticipation of a new life in a new culture there are many challenges of moving abroad. It is important to understand what to expect so that you know how to face them.
Over their lifetime, every person faces a few turning points. Moving to an entirely new country is one of them. Suddenly, all the priorities change, and perceptions shift. After some time, in some instances, you may even start feeling like a completely different person. Expats often report this phenomenon, but this is nothing unnatural or extraordinary. The feeling of disorientation and an instant urge to fit in are very common too. Of course, some people are more adaptable than others. And there are also adventure seekers that are an altogether different category. Still, in most cases, moving abroad can be characterized as emotional trauma. Therefore, we will try to uncover the biggest challenges of moving abroad and how to face them.
The intimidating feeling of starting life over
No matter where you are in your life, once you decide to relocate, you will instantly get that feeling as if you are starting the whole life all over again. However, this feeling is deceiving. Think about it. Changing your country of residence cannot eradicate all your previous progress just like that. Even if you are going through more than one life transition, many other life aspects still define you. For instance, let’s say that you are changing your home and your career at the same time. You still have your education, your family, or your hobbies to help you keep your identity.
How to best face this feeling:
Your emotional wellbeing is the absolute priority. Yes, now you are an expat, but you want to make sure you are a healthy expat. Moderate anxiety in this situation is normal but try to stop it from overwhelming you. If you ever face this feeling, you must continuously remind yourself of your previous achievements and experiences. Try to make relocation feel like just another personality upgrade and another life experience.
Financial challenges of moving abroad
Moving abroad is not a cheap endeavor. There are so many financial aspects to consider. From the costs of your international trips to the shipping of all your belongings, everything comes with a price. Not to mention the numerous additional arrangements for an easier relocation that are available nowadays. At some point, it will start looking like there is a never-ending list of expenses. The worst part is, this doesn’t end once your relocation is completed. It is only the beginning. You still have to get used to a new currency, new banking rules, new taxes, etc.
How to best face financial challenges:
Simply put- by staying on top of the game. Remember that knowledge is power. So, gather all the useful information before the trip. Do extensive research about how to reduce your expenses. This is time well invested. And once you settle in your new environment, don’t relax immediately. First, find out what is the best way of managing your currency and your taxes.
Socializing and overcoming cultural differences
This is one of the main reasons why people don’t relocate more often. Seeking safety and creating a comfort zone is deep-seated in every human being. It is how the first civilizations came into existence. Migrating to another tribe is considered brave even in today’s global village. This kind of life change brings not one but several different challenges to tackle. Some of them are:
- Obtaining various immigration permits and getting necessary visas
- Dealing with language barriers
- Overcoming various cultural shocks
- Trying not to stand out too much or give away a newcomer’s vibe.
How to overcome these challenges:
Unfortunately, there is no easy recipe to achieve this. Only through hard work and dedication can you learn new social skills and eventually fully integrate into your new community.
Missing the old way of life is one of the biggest challenges of moving abroad
This one goes hand in hand with the previous category. If even for a moment we start feeling rejected or undervalued in our new surroundings, we tend to start yearning for the good old days. Feeling homesick in the first few months of relocation is almost inevitable. Idealizing your old city or country is very common too. But this is very dangerous. If we give in to this feeling, we risk becoming unhappy in the long run.
How to overcome nostalgia:
Try being more realistic about where you were and where you are now in your life exactly. Maybe your progress was not possible without this sacrifice. Remember what motivated you to move in the first place. And if possible, try to exclude all the unreasonably magnified and negative emotions. Additionally, you can follow some of the expat news to stay more in touch with significant happenings.
Relocation of all your belongings
Let’s not forget the relocation itself. Moving all your belongings is another, more technical challenge. And if you believe that this one is one of your least concerns, think again. Moving items internationally has improved a lot, that is true. The whole process has become much faster in the last few decades. Inadvertent scenarios and lost or damaged items situations almost don’t happen anymore. However, relocation is still a stressful and time-consuming task.
Most people don’t even realize how much stuff they have until they start packing.
However, you can make things more manageable and organized if you make a schedule and stick to it. You also need to hire movers. But be careful, not every moving company is equally trustworthy. So what you need to do is to adopt a few clever moving tactics.
Some of the best relocation strategies are:
- Plan ahead
- Create a checklist
- Carefully pack and protect all your valuables
- Find few reliable partners (movers, agents, and similar)
- Do not rush the process.
Of course, these were just some of the numerous challenges of moving abroad. Everybody is different when it comes to life-changing events. The key is to try to find your weak point and then work on it. The process of international relocation and integration into a new environment is not easy, but it can be a rewarding experience.