Living abroad can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can be an incredible thrill to experience a different lifestyle or culture, a real adventure away from routine. On the other hand, you may also miss the familiarity of home and the comfort of those that you love. So, how can you be sure you’re making the right decision if you are thinking of living abroad? Start by asking yourself the following questions.
What are your motivations?
Hopefully, you have overwhelmingly positive motivations for living abroad and will want to embrace any number of opportunities that come your way. Whether you are hoping to make money or just experience something different, having a positive reason for moving is ideal. That isn’t to say that there can’t also be valid negative reasons for your decision. If you’ve had a tough time lately and need a change, then that is also a very reasonable reason to move abroad. However, it is preferable if you’re not solely motivated by wanting to escape a difficult relationship, an emotional crisis or personal issues. You will likely find yourself dwelling on them just as much as you would have done at home.
Do you have realistic aims?
People move abroad with all kinds of ambitions. Some want to make money, others want to learn a new language or gain a qualification. Some people simply want the life experience of living somewhere else. All are good reasons to make the big move, but it is important to be realistic about what you want to achieve. Are you really going to make your fortune? Can you become a yoga master in just a few short months? And is the time you have actually enough to become fluent in Swahili?
Do you know where you’ll live and what you’ll do?
Yes, you also need to have the boring practicalities in place if you want to get the most out of your move abroad. If you don’t have a job secured before you leave, at least make sure that you have diligently researched the job market. If you don’t know where you will live, at least know where you will sleep when you arrive. It is also important to ensure that you have taken care of health coverage and other practical issues. After all, you’re not going on holiday, you’re going to live there.
Do you have the money?
This is perhaps the ultimate practical question. You must get a good idea of the cost of living before your departure and work out if you can make things work financially. Even if you have a job lined up, make sure that you have enough money to keep you going until you have at least opened a bank account.
Do you mind standing out?
The bottom line is that however long you live abroad and however fluent you become in the local language, you are going to be an outsider to one degree or another. You will need to get used to always being a foreigner. Depending on where you end up, you might find that locals constantly laugh at your accent or even stare and point. Make sure that you can embrace this sort of attention, it may not go away!
Thanks to Freepik for the unedited version of the featured image.