I’ve been living as an expat for almost 2 years now and I absolutely love it. I’m happy with my life abroad and I’m thankful for all the experiences that I can share with you. The journey to becoming an expat was not easy and I had to face a lot of challenges along the way but somehow I never really doubted if moving abroad was right for me. Since I was little, I always loved traveling and exploring new places. When I was in high school I was already thinking how great it would be to live somewhere outside of Slovenia, even if just for a couple of months. However, this is not the same for everyone. There are a lot of people out there who are thinking of relocating but are not sure if living as an expat would be right for them. Moving overseas is definitely a big decision to make and it’s not something you can decide overnight. In this blog post you will find 5 questions that you can ask yourself and later determine if moving abroad is the right thing to do:
Why do I want to move abroad?
What are the challenges that I will have to face living as an expat?
Will I be okay without my family and friends?
How will this move impact my career?
Can I afford to move abroad?
1. Why do I want to move abroad?
The first question that you will need to ask yourself is why do you want to move abroad? What made you think of relocation in the first place? A lot of the time people want to move because they want to pursue a new career or they find better job opportunities outside of their home countries. Maybe you would like to study abroad or get some kind of additional education or training. Some people move because of love and others are just looking for a change in their lives and would like to experience living outside of their comfort zone. For example, I moved because of several reasons. I started dating my partner when he was still living in Chicago and before I moved there, we had to do a long-distance relationship for a while. I also really wanted to get a better job and experience living in a big city like Chicago.
2. What are the challenges that I will have to face living as an expat?
Moving overseas comes with its advantages and disadvantages. You have to be aware of the fact that expats face a lot of challenges, especially in the beginning. Are you ready to deal with them? First things first, you need to consider how are you going to support yourself financially. Thinking about income is one of the most important aspects when it comes to moving abroad. You will need to take care of visa application (not applicable for every country), rent an apartment, move your belongings, save enough money to cover the expenses for the at least first 2 months, open a bank account, learn a new language (if you’re moving to Germany, I would highly recommend you to learn at least few basic words before coming here)...
Once you’re relocated it’s possible that you will experience a cultural shock, especially if you never traveled to that country before and you didn’t know anything about their culture beforehand. A lot of the time expats also have to deal with homesickness and loneliness. What is probably one of the biggest challenges and also the scariest one is, that you will basically have to build a life from scratch and it’s up to you how you are going to handle this.
Now you’re probably thinking...then why do people say that living abroad is such an amazing thing?
All of the hard work pays off in the end and if you like your new home away from home then you will have a great time there and experience things that will totally transform the way you think and live.
3. Will I be okay without my family and friends?
Moving abroad also means moving away from your support system and that can be hard if you’re really attached to your family and friends. So you need to ask yourself if you’re going to be okay without them living closeby. Sometimes you will feel lonely and homesick, but with the time you will learn how to deal with it. If you want to know how then feel free to check out my tips on how to win a battle with homesickness and feel better. You need to think of the ways you are going to stay in touch with them and how often you will visit them.
I’m very close to my family and friends and that’s why I have to deal with homesickness a lot. It’s important that you keep yourself busy, network, and remember that you’re doing this for you. I’m lucky that my family was always really supportive of my decision and all they want is for me to be happy.
If you have a family on your own, then you should also consider how will this impact your children or your partner? How will this impact your child’s education? You will also need to talk with your partner and ask them if they are on board, especially if only one of you has the job offer and other will have to give up his/her job. Moving overseas is a big change for everyone and that’s why communication is key. Make sure to check what are the local laws on moving in with your children and partners and if you need any special type of visa for them.
4. How will this move impact my career?
When it comes to your career, you will have to consider both the short and long term effects of moving abroad. Do you want to create a whole new career for yourself or you want to search for a position in your field? Maybe you’re being transferred by your employer or perhaps you would like to find a part-time job and use the rest of your time for travelling. It’s always good to think about what you want your career to look like in the coming 5 years. You have a lot of possibilities, however, you have to be aware of the fact that looking for a job abroad can get quite challenging and it’s not always going to be easy. Before you start looking for new opportunities, make sure to check if you need a work visa or any other related documentation so you can start the application process as soon as possible.
One of the reasons why I moved abroad is because I wanted to pursue a better job opportunity in marketing and I also was curious about different work dynamics in other parts of the world. I’ve definitely learned a lot about the marketing industry in the past 2 years since I relocated and met some great people along the way that helped me grow as a marketing specialist.
5. Can I afford to move abroad?
Relocating to another country can get pretty expensive, so you will need to ask yourself if you have enough money saved for the move. You will have to buy plane tickets, cover visa fees, and book an Airbnb or a hotel for your first month or two. Once you’re there, you will have to get yourself a cell phone plan, buy food, and public transportation tickets (if you’re not planning to buy or lease a car). I would recommend you to prepare a budget for all these expenses before you leave and put aside some money for an extra month just in case something goes wrong.
Should I move abroad?
Deciding if moving abroad is the right thing for you is definitely not easy and hopefully, after answering these 5 questions you will have a more clear picture in your head about what it really means to relocate to another country. It is a big step and you have to be sure about it. At the end of the day it really only matters what you want to do with your life and what is going to make you feel happy. Living abroad is one crazy ride and you will encounter some bumps on the road but overall it should be a great experience. If you’re ready for it then I say: just do it!
Remember, I’m always here if you need any extra tip or advice.