I want to move abroad, where do I start?
Last updated on November 15th, 2020
Are you wondering how life is on another side of the planet? Or are you just curious how people live in a neighboring country? Are you telling yourself: “I want to move abroad” but don’t know where to start?
I get you because this is how I felt when thought to move to another country for the first time. And for the second. I even feel this way sometimes until this day, albeit moved around a dozen times.
You may be a traveler who has visited half of the world, or you may be a dreamer who hasn’t been outside of your own country yet.
It makes no difference how many countries you went to. If you haven’t lived anywhere else than your own region, you did not get a feel of other places in full. You can not apprehend life somewhere else based on a book you read. And you can not understand it after two weeks of vacation. To be able to feel it, to perceive it, and to know it, you should move abroad and become local yourself.
Moving abroad is always exciting and intimidating at the same time. There are so many things to consider and decide on before the move. Even though some of them may work differently for different people, a few still stay the same. If you are ready to bring your travels to the next level and move abroad, answer the following questions first. Be honest with yourself.
So… let’s go.
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WHY move abroad?
Before even starting to make a plan on how to move to another country you should think of what your true motives are.
What is the reason behind your move?
Are you wanting to move because you are unhappy in your current place? Do you want to move to study abroad, get international working experience, travel and see the world? Would you like to learn a foreign language and immerse yourself in a new culture?
All of these reasons are great, and no doubt, living abroad will help you accomplish all of that. But when thinking to move abroad try to put emotions aside and look deeper into your heart.
Chasing your dream to see new horizons and enrich your life with experiences is one thing. But trying to run away from your problems is totally different.
Sometimes people believe that moving from one place to another magically will help them become happier and more content. In some cases it’s true. An act of traveling opens up new perspectives and fills your heart with energy and joy. But many other times travel and life abroad can exhaust and make you empty. As anything else in life.
Overall, if you are a grumpy, pessimistic person, trust us, move to another country will not change that. Running away from debt is not a good idea too. It will simply catch you in life later, creating lots of consequences. Any of the unsolved problems will move with you to the next destination, no matter how far you’ll fly.
None of the problems will automatically go away. Vise versa, moving abroad can create extra problems you’ll need to solve. Finding a home, renting a car or motorbike, securing a job, meeting new people, learning a new language, getting accustomed to new culture.. all of these can become a source of stress when moving abroad.
Adjusting to a new meal plan, water, and even air is a bit of stress too. You may not agree with it, but this is true. Your body stresses out every single time when changes a time zone, climate, and food it is used to. And in turn, all of it can create difficulty to remain positive.
Think about it. Be rational, not emotional. Moving abroad and living in another country is a fantastic experience one can get. But be honest with yourself. In order to be happy with a move, you should know what motivates you to do so. And, are you willing to face new challenges?
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WHERE to move?
This is a very important question you should not overlook. Wanting to move to one place does not necessarily mean this move can happen with ease, and that it will make you happy.
Sometimes we can get really excited about a new destination just after looking at beautifully edited pictures, watching a well-crafted video or even traveling to that destination on our vacation. From our own experience, we would like to emphasize that evaluating a place for a move from a touristy perspective is not a smart thing to do at all.
Trying to base your decision on the emotions after scrolling through tons of pictures and listening to someone’s opinion can turn into disappointment after your move happens.
Additionally, our possibilities not always align with our desires. Visa restrictions, job opportunities, cost of living, climate and even vibe of a place matter.
Your task is to put some effort into learning as much as you can on your preferred destination.
How much does it cost to live there? Will you be ready to learn a new language if needed? What type of climate is there? What type of climate do you feel comfortable living in and what type of weather do you sincerely enjoy?
If you have been living in a place with four seasons, moving to a country where humid summer exists year-round may be exotic in the beginning. In the long run, it can be depressing. Or maybe not. You are the only one who knows it. But again, don’t listen to your emotions, be logical.
I have a friend who was born and raised in Florida, but moved to Alaska and absolutely loved it. She doesn’t even want to think about the possibility to go back to Florida’s heat. My other friend moved from Los Angeles to Doha, Qatar, and couldn’t adjust to the weather there. It was better to go and visit, but living there spoiled the entire experience.
Another important aspect when moving abroad is about local culture and religion. Some people may think it’s not a big deal, but in reality it is.
If you are used to a certain lifestyle which is not appropriate or accepted by other cultures (or religion) you won’t be able to enjoy yourself in a new country. Are you ready to step over some of your stereotypes, believes or habits so you could understand a new culture and enjoy your life abroad? If not, your entire experience can become disappointing.
Needless to say that visa requirements and job opportunities play a big role too. Unless you have a secured job, you should look into the visa and job market restrictions. Study up on travel tips for that continent and country where you plan to move.
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WHEN to move?
Does it matter when to move abroad? From our experience it does.
If you signed a contract and there is not much of a choice when to move then skip this section. Otherwise, hold your horses and choose the best timing for your move.
The ‘best timing’ is not only the season (which also matters in some cases) but how much is going on in a country/city/region where you are moving to.
When we were moving to Vietnam we arrived in a country two weeks before Tet holiday (Vietnamese New Year,) which was a mistake. Almost everyone was prepping to celebrate and leave for a holiday. A few weeks of preparation and then two weeks of celebration made it difficult for us to find a decent apartment and settle in. Prices were very high and almost everything was closed. We had to arrive either month before the holiday or right after it. Because of the holiday, we spent more money than planned, rented one average apartment which was available at that time, and were not able to do much outside our home.
So, when to move does matter.
Also, we are familiar with the feeling of frustration when being stuck in the airport due to weather conditions. Moving to a new place when the weather is rough can add a bit more stress.
We know it’s not always possible to predict everything. Sometimes things can become iffy. But some planning and inner work will definitely help you feel more confident and relaxed.
Have you ever lived abroad? If yes, where? We’ve been living in the U.S., Ukraine, Russia, Vietnam, and now Montenegro. We are excited about our next destinations, actually having quite a few on our minds!