Moving abroad isn’t easy. In fact, it might be one of the most difficult things you do in your life. The amount of administration and organization is immense and no one can plan for the unexpected challenges that will pop up.
Yet, moving abroad can also be the best decision you’ve ever made. Once you made it, there is no turning back, as you can’t go about this half-heartedly. If you’re in, then you have to be all in.
Here are five questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge and to make doubly sure that this is your final decision.
1) Where are you going to live?
Finding the perfect place to stay will take a while. Do you have friends or family abroad where you can stay until you find the right home? Or are you willing to live in a not-so-great apartment for a while until you find the perfect place to make your permanent home? The United States is particularly strict with renting apartments to recently arrived foreigners and they run credit checks that can take a few days.
2) Can you survive without my family and friends?
Some people are much more attached to family than others. Even if you’re not very close to your family, you will still miss them and the familiarity that you have with them. If you’re a very social person, or you rely heavily on your close network of friends, you will have to have a serious think about whether or not you can live without them. Off course there are ways of staying in touch, but chances of seeing them face-to-face more than once a year are slim.
3) Is your paperwork in order?
It is vital that you sort out your paperwork before you book that one-way ticket. Stories of people managing to arrive on a visitor’s visa and switching over to a permanent visa exist, but it is not recommended. If you get caught you might never be able to move to the country in question again. Therefore, make sure you fill out all the forms and apply for your visa at your local embassy for the country to which you are moving. Put time aside just for this. It is not something you can quickly finish off in your lunch break.
4) Can you afford to move?
You might have been offered a better salary in your new country, or the wages may be higher, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to be rich the moment you arrive. There are many expenses to pay before you even start working. Deposits of apartments or hotel bills while searching for an apartment, visa fees, airfare and costs of settling in add up. If you’re moving for work, ask your employer for a relocation fee to cover these costs.
5) Are you leaving for the right reasons?
Many people who have faced personal hardships in their home country decide to move abroad in order to get away from their problems. This is not a good reason to move, as personal welfare will follow you where you go. If you’re unhappy because of factors unrelated to your physical environment or your job, then a new job in a new country probably won’t change this. If, however, you are moving abroad because of a fantastic job opportunity, better weather or good schools and universities, then get planning!
6) Have you tied up all loose ends?
You aren’t fleeing the country, so make sure you have cancelled or your accounts and subscriptions. Think of all the bills that you receive, even ones you only receive once or twice a year, and make sure that you cancel your address and account. Luckily, with easy international money transfers now available, you are able to pay any outstanding bills from abroad of need be.
7) How willing are you to distance yourself from your language and culture?
If you’re originally from a non-English speaking country, you will probably speak much less of your mother tongue once you move to a new country. Are you willing to do this? You don’t realize how much you love your own language until you have no one to speak it to. Off course, you will come across people in your new country with whom to speak your own language, but speaking the local language and learning the local customs are paramount to fitting in and growing familiar with your new life.