Moving abroad is a big decision – it literally can be a life changing event and it can be difficult to leave behind your friends and family, not to mention the food, the currency, the culture (probably not the weather). With what can be a dramatic shift it is not surprising there can be some bumps along the way.
Some people settle quicker than others and loneliness is a very common expat problem, and can be one of the toughest issues to conquer. Leaving family and friends behind can be difficult and even if you quickly develop a network of friends in your new country, it is easy to still feel lonely from time to time, especially when you are not used to the language, it can be difficult to settle in.
Leaving behind your established support network can be daunting, and that separation from friends and family is a reason that many don’t take the leap and move abroad. However, along with tens of millions of other expats globally you have started the adventure.
There is no quick fix, but it does get easier with time. As you make new friends, find groups of interest and join communities the sense of lack of support will fade as a new support network forms. Don’t forget that all your friends and family are still there for you and are just a Skype or FaceTime away.
One of the toughest things to do when you move overseas is learn the language - a common expat problem. Learning a language can be a considerable commitment, and there are no quick fixes, it simply requires study.
Making new friends as an adult is not easy especially in an unfamiliar environment. This issue can be compounded by a language barrier and the different culture, however it’s not uncommon, so give it time.
Creating a social life or building a circle of friends is a common expat problem. If you have made the move abroad with your partner or family this may be less apparent, but for those expats who are living overseas by themselves it can be lonely to start with but you are not alone, there are likely to be people in the same boat – other expats who live in the area.
A move to a different country can be hard for trailing spouses or families, and one of the biggest worries for expats can be making sure their partner or children are happy. Making the move with children can throw up a number of concerns;, find a good school, their ability to make new friends and the language.
A key factor to making the move abroad with your family a success is making sure that all parties want to move as much as the others. It is well reported that a move overseas can put significant strain on relationships, and it is not uncommon for relationships to break down where one person wants the move more than another.
Healthcare is a vital issue which must be addressed ahead of your move. At some point, everyone needs medical assistance, and this can be a concern for expats who are new to their country. Healthcare is different all over the World so it is worth doing your research before you go and make sure you have appropriate cover in place to avoid any problems.
Above I have offered insights into just a few difficulties that expats commonly experience when moving abroad, along with some things you can do to alleviate these issues. These subjects are well documented and although this list is not exhaustive I hope it has helped answer some of the big questions regarding a move overseas. I would suggest researching common problems experienced in the country you are moving to, and reaching out to those who have already made the move as there may be specific issues which you would benefits from knowing about upfront.
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By Jessica Roberts
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