More moolah. A lover. A new outlook on life. Whatever the reason, moving abroad is a titillating thought for many of us. Other countries are mysterious, fascinating and f-ing terrifying all at the same time. It’s almost the new year! Here’s 6 things for you to keep in mind before hopping a border for good in 2016.
Do I like learning? When you move abroad, you start from scratch. There are a lot of things you have to deal with that aren’t so obvious until you move. You have to learn where everything is, where you can buy decent meat, where to get your teeth cleaned, where to buy sriracha for god’s sake. Many of the stores or brands which you prefer might not even exist in your new country. Then what? (How do you live without Victoria’s Secret, I beg?) You have to learn the culture. What’s appropriate and what’s just creepy. Like, in Poland, you shouldn’t smile at strangers (but I still do it and I don’t give a shit!)
Other than that, you’ll be learning the language. Of course you can live without it, but not at a high level. It’s worth the struggle. It opens so many doors and makes it possible not to feel a fool each time you leave the house.
Am I able to live outside my comfort zone? If you’re an introvert, it’s gonna be double hard for you. Welcome to my hell. But the real question is whether or not you deal with change well. Do you enjoy it? Do you like the idea of changing jobs or meeting all new friends? Can you handle feeling silly (over and over again) because you don’t understand something? Having to be the only non-native speaker of a language? Often being the center of attention? Taking part in traditions that aren’t your own? Not knowing what to do or say in many circumstances? Being the only different one? These are the realities of being a foreigner.
Am I willing to feel constant guilt? Even if you don’t have close relationships, the people in your life will always ask you when you’re moving home. I don’t know if that ever stops or the guilt goes away. Your family and friends want to see you and they don’t understand why you moved away. What can you do? Feel guilty.
Do I have someone to help me if I need it? This is very important in terms of support and it’s essential if you don’t speak the language where you live. Imagine that you need your sink to be fixed. Firstly, you have to find someone. In your own country, you’d just ask your parents or one of your friends. For sure they have a guy. And when the guy comes you can easily explain to him in your language. WTF is “my sink is clogged” in Polish? Yikes. Google is your best friend.
I know a few foreigners in Poland who don’t have significant others who speak Polish and they also don’t speak Polish. They just moved to Poland for the hell of it. They had a friend here or someone who said Poland was cool. They’re hardcore. Honestly sometimes I don’t understand how they manage. I’d never make it here without a Polish speaking person to help me. I haven’t graduated to that level of badass, but it’s important to have aspirations.
Will my relationships keep me from being happy abroad? If you’re the kind of person whose family is extremely close or you have friends who you can’t live without seeing often, moving abroad might not be for you. Shitty news: your relationships with your family members and friends will inevitably change. People who you were best friends may stop talking to you. You may only talk to the ones you manage to keep once a month or less. Each time you’ll only be catching up. Even your family members may stop talking to you, or worse, assume you don’t care about them or want space because you moved away.
I’ve yet to figure this one out. I lost two really close friends just because I moved. No other reason. Nothing else happened. No arguments, nothing. They just stopped talking to me or we drifted apart. That’s hard to get over.
Trust me when I say it, this is the hole inside you that will deepen over time. If it’s for 1-2 years and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, ok, but if it’s long-term and you’re very close with those people, you may want to think twice. Money isn’t everything. Adventure loses it’s luster.
Is it really worth it? Your life will be entirely different. If you have someone to spend it with or a fantastic career which satisfies you, it’s totally worth it. Plus, when you tell people where you live and they’re like “WHAT” you’ll be like “Oh, no big deal. I’m just kind of a badass.” That’s pretty satisfying.
Many things get better with time. It always takes me about 3 years to get used to a place. You, hopefully, adjust more easily than I do! I don’t want to discourage anyone from moving away, but I know what it’s like from the other side. I don’t think anyone’s advice would have stopped me and I don’t think mine should stop anyone either. You have to figure those things out for yourself, whether the result be good or bad.
Happy New Year everyone! Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku! See you next year! Do siego roku!