Moving house is stressful enough when setting up home in your own country, and this is amplified when moving abroad. While the idea is a wonderful one, especially if you have found ways to get the most out of your travel adventures previously, but you do need to be sure you’re making the right decision. After all, you wouldn’t want to uproot yourself and possibly your family, move thousands of miles, and then discover you had made a mistake of monumental proportions.
With the above in mind, we have some questions to ask you before you pack your bags and move. Consider them carefully, and ensure you make the right decision, whatever route you decide to take.
Why do you want to move abroad?
There are sensible reasons, and there are impulsive reasons. For example, you may be moving abroad to be closer to expat family members or to further your career. If so, that’s perfectly acceptable and falls within the realms of common sense. On the other hand, you may want to move as an escape from a particular situation at home, or because you are bored in your current surroundings. If any of those things are true, you may want to rethink your plans. While the move may be good for you, consider whether the answer to your problems lies closer to home than thousands of miles away.
Can you afford the move?
We all know moving is expensive, and this is amplified when heading overseas. The exchange rate may be different for a start, and you need to be savvy when it comes to understanding currency in the place you are intending to move to. Research into the country is key, so reading an article on how to buy a house in Malaysia, for example, is necessary if you want to understand the price of property in that particular region. Aside from property prices, there are all the other things to research. Will you be able to afford the cost of living in your chosen country? What will you do for a job? Will you have to pay for healthcare? Then there are all the costs before you leave, such as the flight expenses for you and your cargo. Can you afford it? Give yourself a financial checkup to make sure.
Is it right for your family?
Moving abroad has to be a joint decision if you are living with a family. While you may be keen to hop on a plane and jet overseas for a new life, there may be overriding reasons why you should wait. For example, consider your kids. While very young children have few commitments to hold them back, you may need to think carefully if your kids are of school age. What will moving abroad mean to them? Will they find it easy to adjust to the cultural changes in a new school? Will the move be too disruptive to their current schooling? Particularly if you have teenagers who are heading into exam season, the move may be detrimental to their education. That’s not forgetting all the friendships they will be leaving behind. So talk to your kids, as well as your partner, and make sure the move is something everybody is agreeable to. Of course, you may need to enforce the decision to move if there are overriding reasons to do so, but at least prepare your family in advance to make the move less stressful.
What are you leaving behind?
This is a major life decision and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. When you have gone, you will be leaving all kinds of people and situations behind. Think about your extended family, such as parents, grandparents, etc. Are you ready to say au revoir to them? While you can still use modern technology to stay in touch – Facebook, Skype, etc. – it still isn’t the same as having the opportunity to pop around to see them when you or they need support. The same applies to your friendship group. Saying goodbye is tough, so are you ready to leave the people you love so easily? There are other things to consider, as well. Your quality of living may be high at home, and the conditions may not be so easy in the place you are moving to. Are you ready to give up the lifestyle you have become accustomed to? Then there is your job. If you aren’t moving for career purposes, you may have to start at the bottom of the career ladder in the new country. To avoid regrets after the move, consider each and every facet of what you are leaving behind before you go.
Can you adapt to the new country?
As hinted at above, you are going to leave behind some of your home comforts. There may be all kinds of challenges in the country you are moving too, and you will have to meet them head on and adapt to your new surroundings. This includes learning the culture, as you don’t want to be responsible for making any political or religious faux pas in the place you are living in. While you don’t have to ‘be like the people’ there, you still need to respect them. Then there is the language. Some countries are English-speaking, but it’s always polite to learn the lingo, especially if you are looking to fit in. There will be rules and regulations that you are not familiar with, but you will need to abide by them if you are to stay out of trouble with the law. Admittedly, there will be some countries that are easy to adapt too, and which won’t be much different from your own. But then again, there will be those places with substantial differences, so you have to be prepared before setting foot on what will be very unfamiliar ground.
Have you/we considered the positives?
In our previous questions, we bordered on the negatives. Sorry about that. We just wanted to make sure you didn’t make any hasty decisions. Well, as hasty as selling your home, buying a new one, and saying goodbye to every aspect of your present life can be called hasty! You may have already considered the negatives yourself, but let’s focus on the positives. These include the opportunities to grow as a person. You probably already know that travel broadens the mind, and living abroad longer term may completely change your life perspective for the better. You will learn a lot about yourself, other people, and the world in general. You will make new friends, find new career opportunities, and have the capacity to explore more of that region of the world than you’re used to. After moving abroad, you may never look back. In short, it could be the greatest decision of your life. You won’t know until you do it, so while we have given you food for thought, you may be able to outweigh any possible negatives with all the positives that come with the move.
So, what do you think? Is moving abroad the right thing for you to do? There will be challenges, you will have to adapt to new situations, and the cost of moving may be steep (depending on where you move to). Despite the obstacles, the move overseas may be just what you need in your life right now. On the other hand, it may pay to wait. If you are still unsure, don’t have the finances, and have sufficient reasons to stay rooted, perhaps make the move abroad sometime in the future. Good luck, in whatever you decide to do.