One of the most stressful decisions in a person’s life is moving to another country, especially when moving there by themselves.
However, the stress is multiplied when we’re talking about young people who are only setting their first step in their adult lives – moving out of the parent’s house is stressful enough, not to mention going away hundreds or even thousands of miles.
The good news is, that although there are many hurdles when moving to a foreign nation, the potential benefits usually far outweigh any negatives. In fact, in a survey by MoveHub, 88% of respondents said that it was beneficial for them to have lived in a foreign country, with 75% adding that it gave them a fresh perspective on life.
So, there’s good reason to be excited about the prospect of going abroad to study, work or volunteer, even if it can seem quite scary.
But what are the biggest hurdles that people moving to a new country are likely to face?
Well, as with any exciting and daring decision in life, certain challenges are inevitable, so here are three of the biggest fears that people have, along with solutions on how to best deal with them.
What if I Won’t Make It?
The fear of failure is one of the strongest inhibitors that people have – it’s what prevents many from ever pursuing their dreams and doing what they really want to.
And that’s completely understandable.
Since deciding to leave your country and study abroad is basically diving head-first into uncharted waters, there are no guarantees that you’ll succeed and achieve everything that you set out to do.
In fact, the transition will likely involve being exposed to unfamiliar situations and problems where you’ll be forced to rely on your own judgment and problem-solving skills, which is a scary thought if you haven’t had such a responsibility beforehand.
What’s even scarier is the prospect of disappointing the ones who love you and want you to reach your goals – these are the people who helped you move ahead in life, so returning home as a failure is something many people aren’t willing to risk.
Finally, for many young people, the need to overcome moving stress is a hurdle big enough to make them postpone or let go of the idea to move abroad – there are so many details that go into planning and executing a move to a new country that this alone can overwhelm almost anyone.
All of these concerns are valid and can’t be ignored – you need to acknowledge that they exist and prepare to face them if you’re going to have a chance to overcome them.
But luckily, there are ways that you can minimize these concerns and give yourself the best shot of success.
The number one way to combat the fear of failing is to adopt a positive attitude. Sure, that may sound cheesy, but the reason why you hear it so much is that it works – if you’re going to tackle everything that’s in your way during a move abroad, you will need to be able to stay positive and not get bogged down every time something doesn’t go your way.
And if you do adopt a positive outlook and remind yourself that it’s a new exciting chapter in your life, the best thing you could do is to connect with like-minded people who are going through the same process or have done it in the past.
By joining various local expat communities in the area, you will likely learn all you need to know about moving there and will receive answers to any questions that might arise. You should also read blogs and guides that outline some of the more important steps and roadblocks that you’re likely to face so that you’re better prepared once you’re faced with them.
Finally, you should make sure that you don’t fall into financial trouble once abroad – nobody wants to have to rely on their family to get out of a hole financially, so you need to plan your budget ahead of time and figure out how much the move is going to cost. Try to leave yourself a little wiggle room so that if something unexpected were to happen, you would have something to fall back on.
What if I Won’t Find a Place to Live?
Leaving your home is stressful enough, but if you’re moving to a new country, chances are you won’t know where you’ll live once you get there, which can cause a whole new level of anxiety.
If you’re moving to a big city for work or studies, it’s likely to have a competitive housing market that makes it hard to find a suitable place to stay. What’s more, even if you do find something you like, a lot of options may be out of your price range, so finding an optimal solution may seem all but impossible.
But although these challenges are real and there’s no guaranteed way to fix them, there is always a solution if you’re willing to put in the time to look for it and are open to compromises if they present themselves.
If you have no idea where to start and need to find something quickly, your best bet is to consult a local real estate agent. After all, he is a professional who knows the ins and outs of the local rental market and will be able to not only provide you with an overview of what you should expect but also recommend specific listings that might be a good fit, saving you a lot of time and effort.
If you’re willing to search on your own, you should utilize the potential of listing sites and Facebook groups – renting from people instead of agencies can help you save on fees and find more reasonably priced homes.
And if you’re coming to study, it’s likely that your university will be able to help you in one way or another. A lot of universities have some sort of housing option for their students, or at least have a process for helping newcomers to find a place to live.
Once you get a feel for what your options are, you should figure out if you can afford your own place or want to share an apartment with roommates. If you can rent something together with colleagues or classmates, that will not only make it more affordable but could be a great experience in of itself.
One thing to remember is to be very careful not to fall for scams – there are plenty of people trying to swindle young and inexperienced expats moving to a new city, so always double-check everything and don’t give money in advance without seeing the place and knowing exactly who you’re dealing with.
What if I’ll Get Lonely?
Moving to a new country is more than just about settling in and finding a place to live – the hardest part of the process is leaving the life that you’ve built at home and moving to a place where you don’t have family and a social circle to rely on and spend time with.
We spend our entire lives building our group of people that we like and share interests with, so it’s natural that discovering people you enjoy and connect with doesn’t happen overnight (at least not often).
And it can sometimes be hard to instantly find new friends to spend time with, especially if you move to a country that speaks a different language than where you’re from.
That can make it more challenging to fit in with the locals, so many people are afraid that they’ll end up being lonely and miserable, which is often the main reason why some people decide not to move at all.
But even though this concern is valid, there are ways to almost ensure that you won’t be lonely and will quickly grow your social circle, no matter where you move.
The most important step towards making that happen is to adopt a positive attitude and be proactive – instead of waiting for people to approach you, be the one who initiates the contact and makes an effort to get to know the people around you.
Whether it’s the neighbors of your new place, your roommates, your colleagues, or your classmates, you are likely to meet a lot of new people every day, and the only way to find out if they might be interesting to hang out with is to get to know them and see what they’re like.
You can also utilize the potential of social media and online sites – expat communities are usually very welcoming of people who want to meet up and are made up of many fascinating people from all over the world.
Another thing you should remember is that just because you’re away from home, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep a close bond with the people that are important to you. Technology makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with people even if they’re thousands of miles away, so the only thing that it takes is consistency and a commitment to plan your calls and video sessions.
Finally, even though there will be plenty of opportunities to meet new people, don’t be afraid to embrace being alone – many people who move to a new country cite the new environment and being alone as an amazing opportunity to learn more about themselves and grow as a person.