Have you ever wanted to move abroad, but haven’t tried because you’ve asked yourself, “What if I move abroad and I don’t like it?” Moving abroad is a thrilling journey filled with the promise of new horizons and personal growth. Yet, it’s entirely normal to have concerns about this significant change and the possibility of not liking your new environment. In this blog post, we explore the common fear of not enjoying life abroad and how to navigate the challenges that may arise.
You may have heard the phrase, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” While it’s essential to be grateful for what you have, it’s equally valid to want more or something different in your life. You can show gratitude for your current situation while still working toward the things you want in life. Life is about balance, and it’s entirely acceptable to desire change and growth.
Life is full of unexpected surprises. When you have a desire or a goal in mind, you may envision what it would be like once achieved. But the truth is, you won’t know until you try.
Your brain is trained to keep you safe. But if you never go after the things that you want, the things that are challenging and scary, then you won’t ever feel completely fulfilled in life.
With many things in life, you can think about what something could be like all you want, but you’re not actually going to know until you try it. And I honestly think you can settle into wherever you move to abroad. You can find people who are also looking for friends. You can probably find others who have also moved abroad, who are also far from family. Or even if they haven’t moved abroad or aren’t away from family experiencing the same things as you, I bet you can still find people that you connect with.
There are probably times when you ponder the possibilities in life and the what-ifs. What if you don’t like your new home abroad? What if it’s not what you imagined? While it’s natural to have these thoughts, the only way to truly find out is to take that leap. You might not have the same experience as someone else, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s your unique journey, and you’ll learn and grow from it, regardless of the outcome. But if you always just say “what if”, you’ll always… just be saying “what if”. You’ll never KNOW if you could really love it.
And I honestly think the odds of you really hating it are slim. I think the only way you will hate it is if you don’t meet other people you can connect with. And if you don’t find people you connect with, it’s not because there aren’t people TO connect with, it’s because you haven’t really put yourself out there. As long as you are putting in effort to meet people and engage with people, you’ll find people to connect with and you’ll feel a sense of belonging living where you are. Which I think is really the key to fulfillment where we’re living.
If you find yourself in a foreign land and not enjoying your new life, it’s essential to have a plan to navigate the challenges. Here are 5 ways to navigate dealing with the change of moving abroad:
Adapting to a new country takes time. Culture shock and homesickness are common initially, but these feelings often subside as you become more familiar with your surroundings. Patience is key. Just like a new apartment or new pair of shoes, you will settle in. 😉
Connect with local and expat communities to gain valuable insights on life there and to build companionship. Community can provide a support system to help you through the transition. But they can also provide friendship, which is essential to settling into your new home.
If you have been living abroad for a few weeks or months but are still feeling unhappy, try to identify the root of your unhappiness. Is it your job, location, culture, or something else? Understanding the source is critical for making informed decisions. It’s okay to feel your feels, but try to think logically about what’s working and what’s not. And don’t be afraid to do something different. You can’t keep doing the same thing expecting different results. If specific factors are causing your unhappiness, contemplate making adjustments. This may involve changing your job, living situation, or lifestyle to better suit your preferences.
No place is perfect, and every location has its pros and cons. Accept the imperfections and focus on the positives in your new environment. And accept that it won’t always feel like vacation. And thank goodness. That would be so exhausting. I remember my mom used to say, why don’t you just visit London on your two weeks of vacation a year? And I said “No. I want to live there. I don’t want to be a tourist. I want to be a local.” And you know what? I go on walks along the Thames river in London after work. I go to the pub to watch rugby on the weekends with friends. I go into the British Museum to look at the mummies and the Rosetta Stone whenever I want to. And I love that that can be my normal life.
If, after trying various approaches, you still find that living abroad isn’t for you, it’s perfectly okay to consider moving back home. Having an exit plan can provide peace of mind. I always told myself that I could move back at any time. Nobody is keeping me hostage. I can pack my bags and be on a flight home within a couple days if I wanted to. You can do the same.
In conclusion, moving abroad is a significant life change, and it’s okay to have doubts. The fear of not liking your new life abroad is normal, but it shouldn’t deter you from embracing change. And honestly, whether you choose to stay abroad or return home, your decision is a testament to your courage and resilience. But I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised of what you are capable of.
You know those times when you have this desire/goal in your mind and then when you achieve it, it’s just not as good as you thought it would be? London was not like that for me. When I finally moved here, it was actually so much better than I ever thought it could be. And I think it could be the same for you if you allow yourself to have the courage to try.