Moving abroad, for those privileged enough to do so, can be just another big adventure to add to your roster of anecdotes and life stories.
It’s exciting and nerve-wracking all in one go and while many people dream of a life overseas, is everyone really cut out for expat life? Short answer: no, probably not.
So, keep reading to find out whether you and your temperament can handle the stress of an intercontinental move or the possible confusion of a language barrier, amongst many other potential problems!
And don’t go booking flights until you reach the end…
Are you more minimalist or super sentimental?
If you answered minimalist, then you could be well suited for a nomadic life on the road, in particular! That’s because, if you’re a minimalist, the chances are you only keep what you both really need and really love, which might make the move in and of itself much faster and smoother. Although, god help you if anything goes missing en route, because we bet you don’t have a spare!
However, even the sappy sentimentalists amongst us can also be good to go when it comes to moving abroad…as long as they can combine their tendency to cling onto things with a bit of forward planning and an ability to cut down on some belongings first. (Do you really need to take birthday cards from five years ago?)
Once you’ve decided what to take, don’t bother trying to cram it into a million suitcases either. Instead, compare international removals over at sites like Buzzmove to get a great deal on transporting your treasured possessions across the ocean.
Do you adapt well to change or is routine your lifeblood?
If you’re stuck in a routine then moving abroad might not be for you…especially at first. What with all the upheaval of getting to your new home to start with, combined with the potential time zone differences, cultural norms when it comes to mealtimes and the probable addition of a new job thrown in for good measure, it’s safe to say your routine will be non-existent for a while.
However, if you think you’re capable of getting through the first few months, it’ll be plain, routine-filled sailing after that!
You’ve certainly got an early upper hand if you adapt well to change though, because moving abroad is certainly nothing if not a big change. Your flexibility and willingness to adapt will certainly help you get through the upheaval unscathed!
Are you a sociable person or do you prefer your own company?
Being sociable is a huge asset if you want to move abroad, particularly to a place where you might not know anybody. You’ll have to network quickly, make contacts and get yourself invited to all the parties if you want to establish a friendship group in your new home. Being sociable will help you do just that!
Preferring your own company isn’t all bad, generally speaking, but it means you’ll have to push yourself out of your comfort zone in a new country to make friends. However, as long as you don’t hole up and refuse to leave the house, you’ll get there eventually.
Hot tip: A great way for not-that-sociable people to make friends abroad is by taking classes and courses where you’ll basically be forced to spend time with people who share your interests!
Do you speak another language or are you monolingual?
This one’s pretty straightforward: if you speak another language you’re going to find it easier when moving abroad, if they also speak one of your languages in that country. Even if they don’t, you’ll still be primed for faster language learning.
Monolinguals may find that communicating and adapting to the culture is much harder. They’ll need to (and should!) take language classes before leaving and upon arrival to ease the transition. Having said that, there are probably plenty of monolingual expat communities they can integrate into, but if that’s the plan, why even bother moving abroad in the first place?
Is organisation a strong point or are you more laidback?
This ties in with earlier questions, but by far and away the more organised amongst you will excel when it comes to moving abroad. After all, there’s so much planning and paperwork to be kept under control at each step, not to mention the possibility of having to file multiple tax returns, keep on top of visas and deal with foreign (and homeland) bureaucracy in the process.
On the flip side, laidback people might find themselves all at sea with the organisational aspects needed for an international move and struggle to get things done. However, they’re also less likely to get incredibly stressed about that, instead going with the flow…even if things do take a lot longer.
Are you patient to a T or do you need things done now?
Finally, if you’re a patient person then you might have found your calling in moving abroad, because even if you’re super organised, other people may not be, and you need patience to deal with longer-than-stated waits and other hiccoughs that might crop up too.
If you’re too anal and need everything done now then prepare for a harsh life lesson, because you chances are government officials won’t always agree with you about your absolute Pressing Matter. Basically, you’ll have to relax and loosen up if you don’t want a move abroad to triple your blood pressure!
So, the ideal expat would be flexible, adaptable and willing to learn, especially when it comes to new languages and cultural cues. They’re organised and patient, happy to lead a (slightly) more minimalist lifestyle. They’re also more than likely a fantasy.
But really, when it comes to living abroad, as with everything else in life, where there’s a will, there’s a way! So long as you know what you’re getting yourself into, the chances are you’ll do just fine.