Yes, it is a great opportunity, whether you go for set expat period or for a longer period of time. Living abroad as an expat will broaden your horizon. But it doesn’t come without it’s pitfalls. Nothing can really prepare your for the experience you will go through. As every experience is highly personal. If one isn’t aware of the signs, it can lead to depression and anxiety.
1: Maintaining relationships with friends and family back home.
Maintaining long-distance relationships and staying connected with your friends and family after you move abroad is not easy. Life gets so damn busy, time-zones are a pain to work around and—the sad reality—out of sight, out of mind.
It’s even more difficult at times when friends and family back home don’t understand the emotional roller coaster that emigrating can be. As a result, don’t be surprised if some of your friends do not take proactive steps to maintain the relationship with you. They actually still love you.
2: Missing friends and family (and all the big life events that happen without you).
It’s inevitable: expats struggle with missing all the things about their previous life, but most of all, the people who used to fill it. The thing is expressing that sadness and loss often leads to unsympathetic comments from loved ones about how ‘you chose this!‘
The thing is, actively choosing to be apart from loved ones does not change the fact that we are sad about missing this event, or seeing that person
3: Visiting Home—and then saying Goodbye, again.
Visits home are always chaotic. With the need to max out quality time with everyone that you can, you end up juggling a lunch with the parents, coffee with a friend, a quick stop by so-and-so’ house to get some last minute time in with them and then, of course, a dinner with another friend after work (because they’ve still got to work). While it’s necessary to reconnect in person, it’s so hard to be in vacation-mode when everyone else isn’t. Your annual vacation becomes a tour of visits to all your loved ones which can become exhausting.
Then the cherry on top of a chaotic vacation: the realization that you have to say goodbye to your loved ones. It’s something you have to do so many times but it doesn’t get easier. It feels a lot like breaking their hearts and your heart every time you leave them—and you can’t fix it.
4: Some routines can become more challenging
When you’ve just arrived in a new country, doing your grocery shopping is not anymore the easy thing you could do in your spare 15 minutes – not only can you be confused about where to go, but you may find yourself not knowing what you should buy. And once you’ve done it, you may realize you don’t actually know how to cook what you bought.
Every decision comes at a price. Staying and letting the opportunity of moving abroad pass you by, is missing out on a great adventure. Choosing to go, means missing out on other experiences back home and losing the sense of belonging. Are you willing to pay that price, or are you paying that price already?
What ever you decide, make sure it is a decision that when you look back at 80 years old, you will not regret. Need help to come to a decision? Send a an email to Cat
And soon you will be walking with Cat and putting things into perspective, so you can come to a well balanced decision. Or download the E-Book for tips in the meanwhile