Moving to a new country is an exciting but frightening prospect. While experiencing a whole new world can spice up a dull life and introduce you to a plethora of new things, it can also be alienating, lonely, and confusing. If you are feeling apprehensive about your upcoming international move, these tips will help you ease your fears.
I don’t know anything about the country
The scariest part about moving abroad is facing the unfamiliar. When you arrive in your new country, you may not know the language, have any friends, or even know where to buy groceries. Feeling like an alien in unexplored territory is intimidating, but can be eased with just a little preparation and research. The more you know about your new country when you arrive, the more painless your transition will be.
- Learn the language. You may not be an expertly fluent speaker upon arrival, but even a working knowledge of your new home country’s native language will be useful and help you assimilate. Use language learning tools (such as Rosetta Stone) and read instructional text books in your free time in the months leading up to your international move. Even knowing just a few basic words will make you feel less like an outsider and facilitate everyday conversations at the grocery store, cafe, or when asking for much-needed directions from a passerby.
- Learn about the culture. Different countries have very unique expectations for acceptable behavior and standard etiquette. What is acceptable in your home country may be starkly inappropriate elsewhere. Find out more about the customs and cultural norms in the country—to avoid alienating or offending those with whom you come in contact.
- Visit: The best way to learn about your new home is to visit. No amount of research can provide you with the insight experiencing it firsthand will give you. Plan an advance trip if time and money allows to scope out your new neighborhood and find out where all points of interest are located. Knowing how to get to the nearest grocer, bank, or coffee shop will certainly lessen your confusion and ease stress once you move permanently.
There is so much to do
When planning your overseas move, there are seemingly endless tasks to complete. You may fear forgetting an important aspect of your preparation, resulting in a disastrous move. The best way to combat this anxiety is to plan far in advance, and make a checklist detailing everything that must be done before your relocation and the deadline.
Some important things to remember when planning your international move:
- Hiring a reputable international shipping company to help you: Trustworthy overseas movers can make your life much easier by providing you with helpful information and guiding you through each step of your move.
- Obtaining all of the necessary documents and paperwork to enter the country, establish residence and clear customs: including your visa and/or work permit, passport, and pet health certificates
- Contacting the embassy or consulate in your new country about the customs regulations: Customs can be a tricky process. Though your international movers can usually advise you and help you with the paperwork, it is always a good idea to do your own research as well.
I’m worried about money
Moving overseas can be costly. Travel arrangements, international moving company fees, customs duties, and paperwork can add up to a significant chunk of change. Before you begin planning your overseas relocation, make sure you have sufficient funds for the move and ideally secured employment in your new country.
If you are relocating abroad without a job, make sure to do thorough research on the cost of living in the region to ensure your nest egg will keep you afloat while you job hunt. You may also want to find out more about the employment market in the area, how easy it is to find jobs, and what fields have prosperous opportunities. If you are moving to s country with a struggling economy, it would be wise to ensure you secure employment prior to relocating.
I feel so overwhelmed
With all of the planning, packing, and chaos that comes with an international move, you may become easily agitated and increasingly apprehension over your major life-change. Besides planning the logistics, try to make time to relax and mentally prepare for your impending move. A strong support system of friends and family can also help you during this stressful period. Ask for help managing your moving tasks, or simply reach put and vent once in a while to alleviate frustration.
I’m afraid of leaving my loved ones
One of the scariest parts of moving overseas is leaving behind your cherished friends and family. Putting an ocean between you and your loved ones can be difficult to imagine, let alone make reality. If you have many close relationships at home, making the decision to move to a new country may have been a struggle. If you fear what life will be like without the comfort of friends and family nearby, it may cause you to have doubts about your move and your future in your new country.
While missing your loved ones will be an inevitable part of moving overseas, you can overcome your anxiety by spending ample quality time with them before your departure. Having them to lean on during the stressful planning period leading up to your move will be a comfort and a relief.
What if I can’t find work?
If you are planning to move to a new country for any reason other than work, you may not have secured employment prior to your relocation. Moving overseas without definite employment is a risky prospect, and should be avoided to ensure stability after you arrive.
Even if you are not moving abroad for a job, you should try to find at least a temporary position before your move. Research the job market, network with other expats using LinkedIn, and post your resume to CareerBuilder, Monster, and Overseas Jobs. Taking an advance trip to the country to scope out potential career opportunities is also a helpful way to land a job.
Remember, finding a job in another country isn’t always easy, so be flexible. You may have to take a job in a different field temporarily until you can find something more desirable. You are already moving to a whole new country—a little versatility when it comes to work should be no big deal!
What if I don’t make friends?
Loneliness can be a crippling fear when moving overseas—if you don’t know anyone in your new country, you may be nervous that you will never make friends or form meaningful relationships. Your first few weeks in your new home may consist mostly of settling in, learning the lay of the land, and adjusting to all of the drastic changes. Making friends will likely come naturally after your comfort has increased and you begin to feel at home.
The best thing to remember when making friends is you have nothing to lose. Strike up a conversation with a stranger—even if your knowledge of the language is poor, attempted dialogue will at least serve as practice. Ask for recommendations from locals for places to shop, dine, or visit. Refrain from comparing your old country to your new home, complaining about the culture, or dwelling on what you miss about home. This may only annoy the natives rather than establish camaraderie. You are more likely to bond by sharing your positive sentiments on your new home and the exciting experiences you are having.
Be patient when making friends—while it may feel urgent because you don’t know anyone, forming relationships takes time. Be brave, outgoing, and friendly, and you will feel at home in no time.