So, your big move is gradually getting nearer and nearer and the nerves are kicking in. The good news is that feeling a little bit scared is a totally natural part of the exciting process of starting a new life – so we’ve put together this post to help you clear some of the typical worries that future expats feel before moving, and better understand how to overcome any anxiety you might have about making the leap:
‘I can’t speak the local language…’
Worrying about not knowing the first language of your new host country is normally the first thing potential expats will think of. But we are certain that you will surprise yourself! Current expats recommend doing a little preparation before moving in order to familiarise yourself with the mother tongue, then once you arrive and are surrounded by people that speak the language you’ll find that you quickly start picking it up. Try starting small, by going to your local convenience store and speaking to the cashier in their language. Immersing yourself in the language and jumping straight in will mean that common conversation will start to come naturally to you and after a few months of practice, you’ll wonder what you were ever worried about.
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‘It will be tough to make new friends…’
Another big step you have to take when moving abroad is leaving friends and family behind – it’ll be emotional, for sure, but the process of making friends in a new exhilarating environment is one of the best parts of being an expat. Whether you mix with fellow expats from around the world or dive into local circles, you’ll meet some amazing people who can share their learnings, experiences and cultures with you. Just be confident and don’t hold back, the friends you make will have a positive impact on your overall experience abroad – so make the most of these new friendships to learn new things about the world as well as a few things about yourself!
‘How will my family adjust to life in a different country? ’
Moving abroad with children, or even with the intention of having children later down the line, could mean that you’re moving abroad with an entirely different set of reservations; education, childcare, social life, whether they’ll speak the language or not… There’s a lot of ground to cover. But a huge number of parents around the world can vouch for the fantastic quality of life their new host country offers their children and, depending on where you are, you may find that the costs of bringing up a child are actually cheaper. Similarly, you’ll be surprised how quickly your children will pick up the language too – if they’re still quite young when you move it’s likely they’ll actually pick it up quicker than you do!
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‘Our cultures are so different…’
Culture clashes are an inevitable feature of becoming an expat. In order to avoid isolation and to submerge yourself into the local way of life – it’ll take a bit of effort on your behalf. You’ll have to embark on your new journey with an open mind and be prepared to adjust to the people around you. Current expats would advise you to be flexible and open to fit your new culture, don’t expect it to accommodate you! By accepting your new culture with open arms, you might learn to love and appreciate what the rest of the world has to offer.
‘It’s going to be expensive…’
Being prepared goes a long way! Many current expats have emphasised the importance of doing your research beforehand, make sure you know exactly how much things will cost in the foreign currency. The key is to make sure there are no surprises – if you know exactly how much you are likely to earn and have a good understanding of how much you’re likely to spend on living then there should be no cause for worrying at all!
What was your biggest fear before making the move abroad and how did you get over it? Share your tips with other expats by adding them to our Expat Hints & Tips tool.