You decided to move across the globe for your other half, or you received a job offer you can’t resist, or you have simply chosen a university outside your comfort zone, moving abroad is quite tricky whether it is for six weeks, five months or three years. Leaving your home country can be both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. No matter the reason, it is only natural that high expectations and excitement will grow as your departure date is approaching but you should know not everything will turn out as you expect because settling into another culture and lifestyle is not always easy and there is the possibility of feeling overwhelmed by everything. You will find yourself struggle with the simplest of things like asking for directions, get off at the wrong stop, or finding help for various situations. You will also feel lonely and disappointed, you will miss your family and friends, you will have a hard time understanding and accepting other people with different mentalities than yours, but know it is not impossible, and once you give in, things might turn out great. All of these are part of the experience of moving abroad and embracing a different lifestyle so here are some things you will need to know before moving abroad.
Routine errands will become a pain in the ass especially when you don’t know the local language. Sure, nowadays it is hard not to find a person who will speak English but that is not necessarily enough in any situation. You might need a pain reliever, a coffee maker, ink toner or batteries and you have no idea how or where to get it. Be resourceful and ask questions, be persuasive. You’ll get the hang of it eventually.
Cultural shock is a real thing and it manifests differently for each person and while you may not feel it immediately, it will eventually sink in. You need to learn to accept it, embrace it and move on. Take your time to reflect on things and you might be surprised that not everything is as bad as it seems.
Making new friends will take time. Step out of your comfort zone and go meet people. Don’t get stuck at work, go out, experience, join a sport group or a reading club and don’t rush in relationships. We’re not at the age where if someone gives you its toy you are already best friends. Take your time and really get to know people.
You will feel depressed and lonely but that is only natural. Frustration and exhaustion will build inside yourself which can lead to panic attacks triggered by trivial things. Don’t give up and ask for help!
The money you saved up will disappear before you know it. Necessities, riding the bus, late-night cab fares, bank fees and other things you didn’t consider will dry you bank account out. Try to save some money for unpredictable situations and control your shopping habits. You don’t really need all that stuff, do you?
Before arriving to your new ‘home’ or even after a few days you will find yourself excited by everything, and it’s normal, new country, new experiences. But not everything will be pink and peachy. Don’t forget, just because you moved to a new country doesn’t mean everything will be an adventure. Life goes on regardless of where you live. Understand, adapt and appreciate this place. It will eventually get more comfortable.