If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, then please take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. The whole Internet is asking!
I did some research to see what the world is asking about moving abroad and I’ve answered the ten most popular questions.
Is moving abroad even for me?
First and foremost, you need to ask yourself this question. Do some real research, read blogs/watch vlogs or people’s real-life abroad.
While it was fun and an experience, I don’t recommend doing what I did, which was to say yes to moving abroad with no clue about how to do it and then give yourself a 6-week time frame to do everything. 🙃
Fair warning – it’s tough. It can be really shit sometimes, especially moving to a country where you don’t speak the language. No matter how confident or independent you might think yourself to be (hi me), it is still a rough ride.
I say this not to freak you out, but to prepare you. Of course, the journey is also incredible and amazing. And it does get easier once you learn the language and start to integrate a bit more. But it can be difficult to start with, and you must bear that in mind.
I’m moving abroad. Tell me everything.
So you decided to move abroad, yay! Congrats! Now, let’s take a look at some of the Internet’s most asked questions about moving abroad.
A short note before starting: unfortunately, most of the true answers to these questions are completely subjective and personal to YOU. I’m just throwing my two cents in for anyone that wants to read it 😊
1. HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED TO MOVE ABROAD?
Okay, that’s not true. But, you don’t need to be rich. You don’t need to have tons of savings. And you don’t need to have a super-duper high paying job in Finance or IT to move abroad.
All of those things help, I’m sure. But you don’t NEED them.
How do I know? Because I did it. I moved abroad with no riches, very little in the way of savings and no job to go to (plus, my professional background is in customer service and has historically never paid well enough).
But I also speak from a privileged position as someone who moved from one EU country to another, sans visa. If you’re coming from a “third-country” (that now includes the UK) then you’ll need some money behind you to support yourself during the first few months of your move.
If you’re worried about moving abroad with cash in your pocket, allow me to recommend an international bank account and debit card, such as Wise. Wise allows you to convert and hold money in 54 different currencies and (and this is the best bit for me) send money internationally at the current exchange rate with no hidden fees!
2. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO ADJUST TO LIVING ABROAD?
How long is a piece of string? (*shudders* I used to hate when my mum said that)
But for real, it can take three months or it could take two years. For me, it was about 8 months to 1 year to really adjust. I think the pandemic helped with this because I physically couldn’t go back home.
3. DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS ABOUT MOVING ABROAD?
Nope. I don’t think you should.
We moved here with no long term plans to stay. Neither my boyfriend nor I had lived abroad before so we saw it as an experiment. If it didn’t work out, then we’d call it an experience. If it did work out, then good for us!
I regret the way we handled some of the moving processes. But with little money and no previous experience, I think we did the best we could with the tools we had.
4. DOES MOVING ABROAD CHANGE YOU?
Yes. If it doesn’t then you’re doing it wrong.
The problem I am fighting with at the moment is whether it is living abroad that is changing me or whether it is getting older.
As you move into your late twenties, your brain goes through some massive changes. Even more so as you move into your thirties, which are right around the corner for me (waves at 2022). So now I’m constantly asking myself:
“Am I looking at this through my “deutsche Brille” or am I looking at this through the eyes of someone who’s growing up and maturing?”
It’s a whole internal battle. I’m loving it. Really.
The point is that YES moving abroad will absolutely change you. It’s okay to be a little scared by that but remember that change will come whether you stay in one place or not. So why not make change more exciting by moving somewhere new?
5. WILL MOVING ABROAD MAKE ME HAPPY?
Probably not. I thought it would cure me. A new place, new experiences, new people.
Turns out it made me SO MUCH WORSE LOL.
It does get better, but the process of integrating and settling into a new country is also really tough. If you already struggle to feel happy and content in yourself, or perhaps if you have a lot of anxiety over moving abroad and making a new start, then I highly recommend hiring an expat coach to make the whole process easier on yourself.
Here are four amazing expat coaches to help alleviate the stress and anxiety you might be experiencing:
Wiebke from Chameleon Coaching definitely has experience in the expat life! She’s spent a total of 22 years living abroad and working in different industries. Wiebke offers both Intercultural Training and Expat Coaching to companies and individuals. She also has some great resources on her website and speaks German, English and Spanish.
Share the Love
Kate from SharetheLove also has the expat credits to back up her work. Like Wiebke, she’s also a native German who has lived in Spain, the UK, Taiwan and the USA. Kate focuses on expat women and mothers and honestly, I WISH I had found her e-book for expat partners when I first moved to Germany. Maybe then I wouldn’t have spent 6 months feeling hopeless and lonely…
Sarah Expat Coach
Another native German (are you spotting a pattern here? 😉), Sarah moved from Hamburg to the UK a few years ago. Like me, she found herself feeling super lonely after the honeymoon phase died down. So if you’re an expat struggling with friendship and loneliness, take a look at Sarah’s 90 Day Friendsformation! If you know me, you know I value my pals SO MUCH but I really struggled to make new friends when I moved here. This is such a good way to help build back your confidence and find a friend!
Little Nomads Coaching
Jessica from Little Nomads Coaching specialises in Third Culture Kids and Expat families and offers coaching to mums to help them feel empowered and increase their wellbeing. She can provide sessions in both German and English and, if you’re an expat living in sunny Dubai, then you can book an in-person session or perhaps a Walk & Talk beach session with her.
6. DOES MOVING ABROAD CAUSE DEPRESSION?
Personally, moving abroad heightened my depression. I always thought of myself as an independent person. But moving abroad showed me just how much I depended on my family and friends back home. I was very lonely for a long time.
Moving abroad wasn’t something I’d ever thought about or researched before coming here, so I didn’t know where to look to make friends. Luckily, I had my boyfriend for support and my family and friends were only a phone or video call away. Slowly and surely, I found a way out of the deep pit I’d put myself into.
Of course, we’ve also had a pandemic sandwiched into this which made socialising 100% harder. But I am starting to make friends now and go to social events and meetups. It takes time, be gentle with yourself.
7. WHAT AGE IS BEST TO MOVE ABROAD?
It depends on what you want out of the experience, I guess. I have online expat/immigrant friends who have made the leap in their 40s and 50s. Others moved abroad when they were just 18.
At a guess, I would say most people actively choose to do it in their 20s. A period of time when “real-life” commitments have likely not caught up to you yet and you have a bit more freedom with where you move to.
However, as we all know, age is but a number. People choose different paths in life. So really, there is no age that is best to move abroad. Are you about to turn 18 and are desperate to get out and see the world? DO IT! Or have you got the sudden urge to experience life abroad at the age of 60? DO ITTTTT! Don’t hold back, you might regret it.
8. WILL BREXIT AFFECT MOVING ABROAD?
That depends on who you ask and when they moved. Back in the year 2019, Brexit hadn’t officially been signed off, thanks to the British government and their complete inability to organise anything.
That means that we were able to move by simply driving across the continent and plonking ourselves in Germany with little to no trouble.
Naturally, there were some important things we had to do:
- Registering our address
- Signing up for health insurance
- Getting a German bank account
- Applying to 200 jobs and getting rejected/ghosted for all but 3
But the process looks different now. If you’re moving from the UK to Germany in 2021, there are extra steps you need to take.
9. HOW CAN I GET A JOB ABROAD?
If you are a specialist in something, then the job market is going to be far more lucrative for you. I’m not saying it will be easier. The world of engineering and finance in Germany is known for being pretty tough to enter. There will simply be more options available.
Likewise, knowing the local language is also going to make you stand out in the job market and give you a serious helping hand. Most companies look for B1 level (intermediate) but depending on the job and company, you might be able to get away with A2.
To help aid your search for a job abroad, allow me to throw some more coach suggestions at you. This time, expat job and business coaches.
Lisa Janz Job Coach
Lisa works specifically with expats moving to and living in Germany. She offers an excellent 12-week coaching program that fully prepares you for a new job in Germany, including writing your CV to Germany standards (believe me, that’s something you’re going to want help with!).
Mundey is an American based in France who helps expat freelancers live the life they want, no matter where they are in the world! Her services include 1:1 coaching and a course (coming soon!).
10. IS MOVING ABROAD WORTH IT?
All the stress, the tears, the heartbreak, the missed moments from home. They are all worth it when you realise the skills you’ve acquired, the experiences you’ve had and the people you’ve met far outweigh any setbacks or challenges you might have faced along the way.
Even if it’s not forever, moving abroad will provide you with stories and experiences that you can fill a book with.
I’m only mad at myself that living abroad was something I literally never thought about before we got the opportunity to do it.