Relocating Overseas: The Emotional SideiStockphoto
Don't underestimate the emotional impact of moving abroad.
Set a Date
By now, you should have decided whether you will indeed be relocating overseas. How can you turn the idea of relocating overseas into an actual plan?
Try to get started by setting a date for relocating overseas. No matter whether you are dealing with packing your suitcases, or with the emotional pressure this may bring, it is easier to prepare for a drastic change if you have a fixed date you work towards.
Prepare for Mixed Feelings
“We had prepared everything for relocating overseas. Visas, an apartment in Seoul, an international kindergarten for the kids, we were all set. We did not, however, expect this emotional upheaval,” Elisabeth (41), an Austrian diplomat’s wife now living in South Korea, tells us.
As the date for relocating overseas creeps up closer, mixed emotions are completely normal, and anticipation and anxiety may follow each other in quick succession. Elizabeth remembers:
We tried to relax and remember all the reasons why we made this huge decision. The career boost for my husband, my dream of living in Asia for a couple of years, and our children’s excitement. Suddenly, we were looking forward to everything that we could get out of such an amazing experience.
When relocating overseas, now is the perfect moment to make new contacts in the city where you’re going to live. They may be able to advise you in practical matters as well as the psychological aspects of the expat lifestyle.
For example, have a look at the InterNations expat community. Our members had the same mixed feelings and overwhelming emotions about relocating overseas, which you are experiencing right now.
Rewarding yourself has a very soothing effect in times of stress, especially when relocating overseas. While in the process of relocating overseas, your day probably revolves around stuffing your belongings into boxes or alternatively, the trash can, negotiating with insurance providers, and contacting international real-estate agents.
Treating yourself to a hot shower, a savory dinner, or a movie night will help you unwind and forget about the troubles of relocating overseas for a while. Think of it as a way to recharge your batteries: You should never neglect yourself, whether abroad or at home.
Do Some Research
To most people, the thought of relocating overseas can seem frightening. After all, you have to start from scratch, and finding new friends becomes just as huge a problem as simply figuring out how to get to the grocery store. Before you finalize the process of relocating overseas, do some research on your new home.
“I researched just about everything, the climate, the public transportation system, various neighborhoods,” Neema (32) explains. When she moved from the Middle East to a mid-sized town in Oregon, USA, it helped her to know all about the new place before relocating overseas.
It was not as confusing as I feared it would be. Of course, the situation is still pretty new, and it’s taken me a while to adjust. But it was good to know stuff like that I’d be going to a laidback university town with a diverse population, or that I could ride a bike to get to the office.
A recommended source for finding out about expat communities, expat-related events, and the challenges and rewards of expat life around the world is expatsvillage. With its global focus and user-contributed content, it may be just the place to find out about the specifics of what to expect of your expat life abroad, no matter if you are going to live in the UK, Hong Kong, South Africa, or anywhere else around the globe.
Goodbyes are often a heart-wrenching matter. But there will be cake! If you are relocating overseas, you will not get to see your friends and family for some time. Take this opportunity to celebrate with them, take pictures, and have a few drinks.
Remember that your kids deserve a party as well! Involve them in the process of relocating overseas by helping them organize their own party to say goodbye to their friends.
Savor the Moment
Relocating overseas is an important moment in your life, so savor it. Even if you are one of those adventurers who move from one country to another until they have almost forgotten where they originally came from, every move is special.
Sometimes you will leave gladly. Sometimes you will board the plane, wishing you could have stayed just a few more weeks, months or even years. But relocating overseas is a unique turning point in your life, and you should see it as such.