1 out of every 30 people is living outside of their birth country. That number is higher than we’ve ever seen in modern history.
Why are so many people migrating? For a variety of reasons, including job opportunities, adventure, and more.
If you’re considering moving abroad or already have decided to move and are now working on logistics, you’re either excited or overwhelmed (or maybe both).
If you’re excited, great! Just be aware that feelings of being overwhelmed will start to creep up by the time you land in your new destination if not sooner.
To help soften the blowback of some of the negative emotions that you’re bound to feel amidst an international move, our team has compiled a list of 8 practical tips that you can lean on that are bound to make your transition easier!
1. Don’t Freak Out
As we just mentioned, by the time that you land in your new country, you’re going to start feeling overwhelmed. Language differences will start to grate on you, feeling lost all the time will get frustrating, and you’ll ultimately find yourself longing for home.
When all of those feelings bubble to the surface, don’t freak out.
Feeling out of place in a new country is normal and fades over time. Most people that we’ve talked to have said that their transition period took 6 to 9 months. Give yourself that time before cursing your decision to move.
2. Stay Away From Home for a Year
When you move abroad, chances are that your loved ones will immediately make plans for you to come back home for a birthday or during the holidays. While it can be tempting to give in to those expectations, don’t.
Nothing undermines an international transition quite like flying home too soon.
If you want to give your future in a new place a real chance, stay away from home for a full year. Your loved ones can come to see you if you feel like a year apart is too long.
3. Make Efforts to Learn the Language Before You Depart
When you’re in a country that speaks a language that you don’t know, you can’t forge connections which could put you in a place of isolation and depression. That’s a big part of the reason why international moves can be so difficult.
To get your language learning efforts jump-started, make it a point to study the language of your destination as extensively as possible before heading over. There are a number of free applications like Duolingo and paid courses that you can take locally which can help facilitate your education.
4. Find Your Go-To Spots
The more safe spaces that you can establish in a new city, the better that you’re going to feel. Safe spaces are essentially go-to supermarkets, restaurants and other places that you feel comfortable navigating and know you’ll be treated well at despite the fact that you’re an expat.
We’re not advocating that you pick two or three places and never venture away from them. On the contrary, part of living abroad should be about expanding your horizons and gaining new experiences.
All we’re saying is that flagging areas that make you comfortable enough to keep your homesickness at-bay can go a very long way.
5. Accept, Don’t Compare
It’s not productive to look at what your new country does and lament on how your home country does things better.
News flash: People all over the world do things differently. The way that they do things works for them and they don’t need you imposing your cultural preferences on their practices.
You’re welcome to share how you do things with your new friends and neighbors but should also make efforts to learn and assimilate.
6. Start Building Your Social Circle
The sooner that you can make friends when moving abroad the better. New friends shouldn’t be too hard to find, especially if you speak a little bit of the local language.
You can forge relationships at work, participate in classes or partake in similar social functions that can put you in contact with new people.
In many countries, there are even organized meetups where expats from your home town might get together to forge a community. Just try not to get so comfortable hanging out with people from your home country that you forgo making relationships with locals.
7. Save Room in Your Budget to Explore
You may be able to afford a $2000.00/month apartment/house in your new country. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should though.
Remember, you’re in a new place! That means there will be ample opportunities to explore parts of the world that you know little to nothing about.
Downsize your budget where possible so you have money to get out more often than you stay in. If you’re “house poor” in a new place, you’re going to miss out on a lot of opportunities to expand your horizons.
8. Sometimes, Doing the Impractical Thing Is the Right Way to Go
In case you haven’t noticed yet, the aim of a lot of our tips is to keep you comfortable enough in your new environment so you don’t give up and go home. That’s why our final tip is to allow yourself the occasional splurge if it’s going to have a big impact on how you feel.
For example, instead of leaving your favorite chair at your mom’s house back home, consider hiring international movers to have it sent over.
Sometimes giving into seemingly impractical urges can have a big impact on the bigger picture.
Moving Abroad Takes Courage That We Know You Have
There’s no doubt that moving abroad takes courage. And you know what? You have every bit of the fierceness that’s required to make it happen!
Don’t let people discourage you from your international adventure, heed our tips and prepare to start a new chapter in your life’s journey.
For more tips and inspirational write-ups on the things that matter most to you, read more of the content on our blog!