6 things nobody tells you when you move abroad

in life •  2 years ago

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Moving abroad is exciting, right? That’s what everybody thinks when you tell them that you’re going to leave the country. Most people think that moving to another country is like an adventure and that you are going to have so many new friends and live a happy life. Well, let me tell you something…that’s the dream but oftentimes not reality….

Before moving abroad you should know what everybody who has left their home for several years knows but doesn’t talk about. It’s like nobody wants to admit that they feel homesick and that living in another country, speaking another language and not being with family and friends, is super easy to cope with.

1. You win someone, you loose someone

One thing you realise fairly quickly is that you meet a lot of new people and make connections in your new home but that you left some people behind and that some of them might not be able to handle the distance. Even friends who have been in your life for years, might change and forget about you. It is not only their fault but when you move away they have to move on and live their normal life and that means that they will have to find new friends. You can not live in two places and just talking over Skype or Whatsapp doesn’t keep a good relationship alive. Some people just can’t deal with the distance and will never text you because they feel that you are so far away. It is hard to explain but it seems that you have disappeared.

On the other hand, you will find new friends. People who probably have the same problem as you because they also live away from home. People that have problems to speak the new language, to find an apartment or just find their favourite food. Your relationships will change and you will open up to new people more easily. You will help each other, go out with each other and discover new places.

2. You can not define home anymore

Once you live in a country for more than 2 years you will try to make it feel as much as home as you can. The problem is, at some stage home isn’t easily defined anymore and your heart is split between two places. Once in your home country you will start missing your foreign home and realise that living in two places isn’t possible. You will have to choose one home for the years to come. It won’t be easy and it will never feel right but home can now mean different things to you.

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3. You feel guilty to not be there

One of the worst parts of moving is that you can’t be there anymore. You can’t just visit somebody in the hospital; you can’t just come to say hi on a birthday. Relationships will change and people will realise that you are gone for good. Keeping up with the news at home will get harder because people won’t tell you about it and the call that you used to have with your mum or dad every week will no be once a month. Life for them moves on and so does your life. The distance will get bigger and you just can’t keep up with traveling over for special days or when somebody really needs you. A hug over Skype just doesn’t feel the same as a real hug. It will be hard to accept this change in your life but you made the move and therefore have to live with the consequences.

4. You will feel lonely

On some days you will be fine and on some other you will feel the loneliness. Of course you will find new friends and life will keep you busy but once life slows down, you realise that you’re in this country all alone. You can fill the weekends with activities, you can go to the gym to keep your head busy but once you take a step back, you will find yourself sitting in the kitchen eating dinner by yourself. You can try to push this feeling away for quite some time; even years but it will haunt you eventually. At home you have a family and your family loves you unconditionally. They will always be there for you but in a new country you won’t have that backing you up.

5. You won’t fit in anymore

Moving also means leaving old habits behind. Moving means to adopt to new trends, tv shows, food and culture. Do you know that feeling when some new tv show goes live and everybody starts talking about it. You ultimately have to watch it too and keep up with the news? This will change while you’re abroad because trends that are happening in your come town won’t be trends in the new place. You will have to develop your own taste and start being independent. Visiting home will also be different for you because you won’t fit in anymore. You start to develop other habits, try new things and take advantage of the new life around you. People back home won’t understand and will find it hard to talk to you. It will change you!

6. You can not just go back

At some point you will start wondering if going home is an option for you but then you try to meet friends again and try to fit in again. Going home is also not that easy. You will have lived in a different place for 6 years, your whole social network will have moved on with their life. People get married, people move around for a job or old relationships won’t be the same anymore. The times have changed and nobody has waited for you to come back. As sad as it is, it will be the truth. You can’t just go back to normal because there is no normal anymore. The longer you wait the more will change and the harder it will be to fit in.

These are the things nobody likes to talk about when it comes to moving abroad but these things happen to a lot of people. It will be on you to decide how you handle these situations and how strong your heart and soul is. Some people will move back after a year because they struggle so much, some people stay longer and others forever. All of these options will change you and your family.

All the best to everyone who is living far from home! We are the strong ones!

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The key to moving abroad is to keep moving!

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Good post about some the things we often might not think about when we fantasize about leaving everything behind to start over. I can see how after the initial thrill wears off you could find yourself in a funk. But you are right - the need for human connection is universal, luckily, and you will soon find yourself with the support you need. It may not be like you had where you came from, but if you give others a chance and understand the roots of your loneliness, it's easier to be embraced by your new community.