Moving Checklist April 13, 2020

Moving Abroad Alone – How to Survive and Thrive in a New Country

Kate Holland

A true grunge and rock music fan born in Seattle, Kate has moved across the country and started writing about her experience.

If anyone ever told you that moving could be hard, there is no scenario that supports this claim better than the one where you are moving abroad alone. Depending on where you want or need to move, you may be in for a huge cultural shock, and everyday life can be very far from what you are used to so far. And maybe the toughest part of it – you’ll be going through it on your own.

However, international moving, whether to another country, continent, or the other side of the world, is bound to give new meaning to your life. There is no better way to get to know other people, cultures, and yourself than by relocating to another country on your own and starting from scratch as an expat.

Stepping out of Your Comfort Zone: What to Do Before Moving Abroad Alone

There is no shame in being a little nervous when you think about your future expat life somewhere far away from home and your loved ones. You’re in for a huge adventure that requires building everything from the ground up. Let’s take a look at the things you should consider before making up your mind.

What Do You Need to Know Before Moving Abroad?

If you decide to move to a foreign country, there will be some legal conditions you have to meet, like getting all the essential documents needed to travel abroad. If you are not absolutely sure that you want to live there permanently, there are many visa-free countries for US passport holders where you can legally stay for up to 90 days without a visa, but won’t be able to find a job without a work permit. You can visit your destination for a month or so, and see how well it suits you. Consider it a trial period.

While you’re there, try to find out as much as you can about everything that will impact your daily routine. Is it possible to live there without learning the language of the locals? What are the social dynamics and social life like? What is the living standard like? Is the climate something you could get used to? Can you find a job there and support yourself? How hard is it to meet people? And so on.

Would You Choose to Live and Work Abroad?

Once you get the answer to all these questions, here is the most important one: Would you choose to live and work there with all the information you have? Is it so different that you couldn’t possibly adapt, or do you find the differences refreshing? What if you had to stay there long-term? Would all of that still be acceptable to you? There is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions, but it is vital to be honest with yourself because turning a blind eye can cause you a world of problems down the road.

busy street
Depending on the part of the world you choose as your new home, you may be in for quite a bit of a change.

Prepare for a Different Life Than What You Are Used To

Even if you are not relocating to another part of the world, you should know that many things will be different. Your friends and family won’t be there, your favorite bar, park, club, walkway, coffee shop, and restaurant won’t be there. But that is good news, too. You can find so many new favorite places, fall in love with exotic food, landscapes, and surroundings, and even meet some cool people.

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It Is OK to Miss Your Old Life

Don’t expect that everything will be all fun and games after the initial hype. You’ll probably find yourself missing all those things that you took for granted over the years, but that is OK. This will be a regular thing in your process of adapting to the unfamiliar circumstances, but remember that you can always go visit your hometown and friends and family, or they could visit you. What might be a good idea, though, is not to do it in the first couple of months; you should still be building your life abroad without reminiscing over something that you can always return to.

How Do You Cope With Moving to Another Country?

The first thing you should do is to be absolutely sure that you want to move or at least try living in another place. If you’ve been scared by this idea from the very beginning, maybe you are not quite ready to move abroad yet. Even if you are – take it day by day and don’t force anything. You don’t have to explore everything in the first few weeks if you don’t feel like it. Keep in touch with your friends and family back home, and through sharing all your good experiences, you may start to feel better about it yourself.

cultural food
The best way to cope with it all is to embrace the differences.

The Best Way to Adapt is Being Open-Minded and Curious

Once the initial shock is over, it is time to adapt to the new way of life. The more you are curious to learn about your new country, the easier the transition will be for you. By discovering more and more about the place you moved to, you’ll find more reasons to fall in love with it and stand by your decision. The difference between your hometown and your new place is that you already know just about everything about your hometown, and there is so much to explore in the city and country you moved to, so enjoy it.

Learn the Language

What will make your day-to-day existence a lot easier is already knowing or learning the language of the country you are relocating to. If you are searching for the best cities to live in Europe, know that English is not the official language everywhere, but many people know at least a bit of it. If you plan to move to the Far East, it may require a bit more effort, but it is absolutely necessary. Many people won’t speak English, and you may run into problems when trying to do even the basic things like buying groceries.

It is also very important to get to know the customs, social norms, and culture of the area you are relocating to. It will help you adapt better and not get into any unwanted situations out of sheer ignorance.

street ride
With so many places to see and discover, you can find your corner anywhere.

New Beginnings Are Hard – It’s Normal to Feel This Way

When you are moving with your family or a partner, you already have a support system in place for any hard times that may come. When relocating alone, however, you have to overcome the first thing you brought with yourself on this long journey – loneliness. The key is not to stay isolated. Get in touch with the people around you and the expat community, but keep in touch with the people you left behind, as well.

Things Will Get Easier Once You Make It Your Home

Perhaps the hardest thing for you will be to make your home elsewhere, even if you are relocating to one of the ultimate best places to live abroad. That is why it would be nice to bring with you a few trinkets that will remind you of your previous home, but don’t dwell on the past too much. It is your unique opportunity to make things even better than what they were before.

Making New Friends Is a Right Step Toward Building Your New Life

Meeting people in the country you move to can be scary in the beginning, and you should tread carefully. It would be best to connect with people from your home country and build your social circle from there. Don’t be afraid to open yourself up to new people because they can help you adjust when you are alone in a foreign land.

Why Is Moving Abroad Good?

You can expect a big adventure ahead of you, no matter the circumstances. You will learn a lot about different cultures and lifestyles, and what might be even more important, you will learn a lot about yourself along the way.

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