I recently moved abroad for work. Packed my suitcase, made all the arrangements and away I went to Hong Kong. It’s the second time in my life that I made the move due to my career. But compared to my first move and this one, challenges still remain. Of course, the good you derive from it definitely outweighs the bad.
Life in a new country can be quite challenging, especially if you are on your own. Honestly, ever since I was a child, I always wanted to live and work in a different country. Although I didn’t get to study in a new country, I did achieve my dream of living abroad. I wanted to pen own my biggest fears. Though situations are very different for different people, but the feelings are more or less the same.
1. You Feel Like An Outsider
This has to be one of the challenges of moving abroad that really made me quite depressed. No matter how comfortable people make you feel around them, you still get a feeling of not belonging there. The feeling that nothing – the people, places, things – is yours makes the sense of ‘feeling-like-an-outsider’ even worse.
However the good thing about it (which I realized quite late in life) is that it ends up making you more self reliant. It’s all about time and getting used to the new life.
2. You’ll Go Through An Intense Roller Coaster
Another one of the challenges of moving abroad is that you go through a roller coaster of emotions and moods. At times, you feel like you want to embrace this new life and new opportunities and you take every moment positively. And you are actually a child again. You have to learn new things and adapt. The last word is key. Be flexible and understand the culture and environment. It will serve you better in terms of acclimatization.
Other times you feel completely broken, with none of your loved ones around you to comfort you and everything seems so, so negative. But trust me on this, time plays a major role in getting you on track and making you realise that this new life is all worth it!
3. You Will Feel Home Sick. A Lot.
Needless to say, for those who have seldom been away from their families (like me), the feeling of home-sickness is only common, very common. I remember calling my parents twice a day for the first few weeks I was in Seoul.
But it was all about getting out of my comfort zone. Not only that, some of my friends who have been living abroad for years still get home-sick. So when you’re abroad, at times there will be a very sinking feeling deep inside you to be surrounded by people you love and care about.
In this case it is very important to get out and socialise. Even if you’re an introvert and really don’t feel like it at the time, it will be worth it in the end! This is how I met Dan and so many other friends around the world. If I hadn’t stepped out of my comfort zone, I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today!
4. You Have to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Now this is one of the good things about moving abroad. Although a challenge in itself, you do end up stepping out of your comfort zone. We all have set routines and breaking them is one of the hardest things to do.
But when you move abroad, you’re forced to break all your old routines and start fresh. This is what gets you out of your comfort zone. Everything is new – from the streets you walk on to the way you purchase your groceries – there are so many opportunities to step you out of your comfort zone in every day life. It only ends up making you stronger, more confident and a little more adventurous. Be a little explorer. You’ll find things that locals never knew existed.
5. You Achieve Much More Than You Thought You Could
When you move abroad and are building a completely new life you want to ensure that you make the most of it. With so many opportunities flowing your way, you become a completely different person and take advantage of most of those opportunities. Some of which you never though you’d take up if you were back home.
Most of the people I know who have moved abroad for one reason or the other, became very successful. In their words, “we never thought we could achieve all this” and “if it weren’t for this experience we got in a new country, we may have never gotten this far in life”. And that’s the reason you probably took the job and did the move in the first place.
If you did a big move for work or study, do share your thoughts. What challenges did you face? What good came out of it? Love to hear your experience.
Check out my related post: Should we all go back to thinking like children?