5 Things No One Tells You About Moving Abroad

1. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows

There is not a linear path to getting settled and acquainted when moving to a new country. Hollywood has glorified the often forgotten reality of the inevitable challenges that are associated with moving abroad. Getting visas sorted out, finding an apartment (in potentially a different language), learning the public transportation system, and simply understanding the cultural differences of a new country are all hurdles to be considered. Overcoming these obstacles is not for everyone so it is important to understand the challenges that will likely come with taking this step. That all being said, the “growing pains” of moving abroad truly make the experience all the more rewarding and memorable. They will not only help build character, but also allow you to expand your perspective and approach in the various situations of life.

2. Everything must go (mostly)

If you can pitch it, do it. Getting rid of unnecessary items is crucial to your initial move. A lighter load is one less thing to stress about and you can count on their being some stress involved in this transition. As obvious as this sounds, it’s easy to forget that you can buy clothes, accessories and toiletries in the country that you’re moving to. Shopping in your new city is a great way to get to know your surroundings anyway. Just pack the essentials and of course any memento that might comfort you for the changes that will ensue. A small photo album, picture frame or journal can be nice additions to the suitcase. Pitch the rest!

3. Embrace the challenges of learning a new language

If you move to an English speaking country, this won’t be a factor for you but if you don’t speak the language of the country that you’re moving to, listen carefully. Learning a new language is uncomfortable, awkward and nerve-wracking but if you put in the time and effort, it’ll be well worth it. In some instances, depending on where you move to, you won’t have a choice but to communicate in a given language. The best way to learn a new language is by taking ownership of the discomfort of pronouncing something incorrectly or saying a wrong word. The locals are there to help and in most cases, they appreciate the effort put into learning their native tongue. Stretch yourself by engaging with the locals and putting yourself in situations where you’ll need to practice. If it takes a beer or two to get you going, do it!

4. At times, you might feel some resentment with your adopted country

The challenges and frustrations of getting acclimated to your new home might cause some resentment, and that’s ok. You are allowed to experience a range of emotions with this transition. In fact, that’s normal. There might be some times where you don’t feel like you fit in or you might just feel lonely. Finding friends and your niche takes time and with the added component of the often-complicated logistics of moving abroad, it makes sense that you may have some bitterness associated with your new home. Finding your community of people who might be able to relate to this can help you overcome some of these feelings. And in turn, once the resentment subsides, you will likely be much more appreciative of your adopted country.

5. Travel changes you

Moving abroad not only allows you to discover new parts of the world, but also new parts of yourself. It stretches and challenges you in ways that you wouldn’t be able to replicate in your hometown. It allows you to see new perspectives and gain a greater appreciation for the people and world around you. Struggling to learn a new language, integrating yourself within a new culture and with new rules, and navigating the ups and downs of settling in a foreign place offer lessons that stay with you forever.