Have you ever been abroad and wished you could stay in that country for longer? Chances are, if you have visited a place that is your ‘dream’ destination, the answer is possibly yes. Sadly, however, reality hits very quickly. You have a life back home – work, family, friends, and a hundred other commitments. It can be crushing when you step off the plane back into your home country, with only the memories and holiday snaps remaining to remind you of the wonderful time you had on vacation. If only you could have had a longer time away. If only you could have lived there forever…. And perhaps you can. Many people take up the expat lifestyle and moving abroad becomes a reality. Could that be something you could do? Is moving abroad something you have already thought about? If so, ask yourself the following questions.
Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Moving Abroad
Why do you want to leave your home country?
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence… or in this case the globe! But if you have valid reasons for leaving your home country behind, then perhaps you could pack your bags and leave. But, the grass probably isn’t greener (unless you intend to live in the Amazon), so don’t expect perfection. A holiday destination is great for a vacation, but you will still be bringing your baggage (literally and metaphorically) with you. Why do you want to leave? Weigh up the pros and cons of a life away from your home country before you book your flight.
When is the right time?
You should never do anything on a whim, especially if you have a family to consider. You need to plan the move when the time is right for everybody. You need to commit to research too. There is much to consider when moving abroad, and as our next point will cover, there are the expenses that need to be covered. While the exchange rate may be in your favor, you still need to be in a decent financial position before moving. Patience is a virtue, so withhold the temptation to move until you are practically able to do so.
Can you afford it?
The cost of living may be lower in the designated country, but there are expenses that need to be met before you pack your bags. There is the cost of shipping your belongings for a start, so factor in the expense of chartering a cargo plane, (we recommend the convair 580). You will also need to rent storage space before you arrive, unless you have managed to acquire somewhere to live before closing the doors on your current home. Employment is also an issue – if you don’t have a job lined up, you will need some income to live on before you do. Travel insurance is also a must (for you and your belongings), as is health insurance (and other insurance costs) in your new home. If the cost of living is higher, you will need to adjust your budget to accommodate this fact and make savings where appropriate.
What will you do for work?
Unless you are retiring abroad, you will need to work. We have already listed a number of options on this site, so have a look at this article. Some jobs can be carried over from one country to another, so if you are already self-employed, you may be able to migrate your skills. If you work for a particular company, they may also have offices in the country you are moving to, so you may not have to scour the job pages in your new location. However, if none of those apply to you, then you should think about your options carefully. If you are moving to a place where you don’t know the language, you will need to learn the lingo to help you communicate at job interviews (assuming it’s a non-English speaking country) and you should also research the job market to find out what jobs apply to you and your skills.
What are you leaving behind?
Moving abroad is a major life decision, so you do need to be prepared for the physical and emotional costs in the process. For starters, you are saying goodbye to family and friends, and this can be incredibly heart-wrenching. While you are able to communicate using Skype, social media, etc., it still isn’t the same as being able to pop round to somebody’s house for a cup of tea and a shoulder of support. You are also leaving behind a lifestyle you have become accustomed too. Depending on where you want to move, you may have to live in a way that you are not currently used to. Moving abroad can be a wonderful and exciting experience, but you will feel like a stranger in a strange land, with feelings of loss and loneliness, no matter who you have brought with you on the move.
We fear our questions have bordered on the negative aspects of moving. With warnings about finances and loneliness, we probably haven’t set your heart alight with positive feelings. So, let’s redress the balance a little. Moving abroad can be exciting and wonderful, provided you have thought ahead. You will experience new cultures, new ways of living, and find a new perspective on your life. You might get to your new home and never look back. You have taken a massive step in your life, and you could have an incredible adventure. You may even wonder why you hadn’t done it sooner. But remember: you don’t have to live there forever. If things don’t work out as well as you had imagined or your enthusiasm eventually wanes, there’s no reason why you can’t return home at some point in your life. So one final question: is moving abroad right for you? You probably already know the answer.