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The difficulties of moving abroad

Not everyone loves the idea of living overseas and even those that do will still experience a few difficulties from time to time. Moving abroad can be one of the best, yet hardest things you’ll ever do. More people than ever are seeking to turn their dream of a foreign life into a reality. With this in mind, we wanted to find out what people found most challenging when it came to moving to a new country.

Here at Santa Fe Relocation, we gave you the opportunity to win a GoPro by completing our short survey regarding the difficulties of moving abroad. Here’s what we found:

Expats found leaving behind friends and family most difficult

When we asked what was most difficult to leave behind when moving abroad, 71% of respondents said leaving their family and friends was the most challenging aspect of moving.

Tip

In the few weeks prior to your move abroad, you may feel more emotional about leaving your family and friends behind. To help ease your nerves, write a note to yourself to read when you feel sad about moving – you may find you don’t even need it! There will be times when you’ll want to quit, but don’t let your emotions affect your rationality.

Leaving the day-to-day job behind is easy

You will never fully understand what it’s really like to quit your job and move abroad until you do it yourself. Around 50% of respondents said that leaving their career behind was least difficult when moving abroad.

Tip

Although a new environment is good for the brain, it’s still a good idea to make the effort to learn about the culture of your new home before you leave to help you adjust. Your dream of moving to a beautiful new country isn’t going to go exactly how you expect it to, so be sure to have realistic expectations when it comes to moving into your new home.

More than 40% of family members were already aware of your intention to move abroad

If you decide to move abroad without your adult children, siblings, parents or family alongside you, it may be the most difficult thing you’ll ever have to discuss with them. Every family will have a different reaction, but you should expect them to be surprised or even shocked when you first imbed the possibility in their minds.

Tip

It’s in your favour to not delay telling your friends and family of the possibility you’ll be moving abroad. Under some circumstances, it isn’t always possible to tell your family members before you tell anyone else – but if you can, do! It’s better to hear the news directly from you than a friend.

44% of respondents said leaving their social life behind was difficult

Moving abroad entails a lot more than just changing your job or moving house; it can affect the people you see every day. From your family and friends to your work colleagues, moving abroad can disturb the lives of others around you.

Moving abroad can affect relationships and friendships in a number of ways. True friendships will stick, whilst others grow apart. Staying in regular contact with lifelong friends when you move abroad is by no means easy, but it is possible – with video calling being a popular option for expats to stay in touch with those they love back home.

The importance of making new friends

40% of our survey respondents said making new friends is their top concern.

Tip

No matter where you are in the world, you will always need some good friends to rely on. Many people who decide to leave their own country to get a taste of a new culture often feel a sense of disconnection and loneliness along the line.

People either decided to keep all their belongings or pass it on to friends or family

Whilst 13% of survey respondents said they sold most of their belongings before the move, a majority of expats kept what they had or gave it away to family members or friends.

Tip

Moving your belongings to a new country is by no means a straightforward process, but it also isn’t as hard as you may think. No matter whether you’re moving abroad for work, or to move closer to family or friends, you will most likely have a home full of ‘stuff’ you want to take with you.

People found moving abroad to only be slightly challenging

Based on a scale of 1 to 4, we asked expats to describe how difficult they rated moving abroad – 1 being very difficult, and 4 being easy. Whilst only 18% of respondents found moving abroad to be very difficult, half found it to only be slightly challenging and 28% of respondents found the move to not be bad at all!

Tip

With a company like Santa Fe Relocation by your side, moving abroad is easier than ever.

Finding a new home abroad concerned almost 80% of survey respondents the most

In an ideal world, the process of buying a property overseas would be simple – but the ramifications can be serious. Research has shown that finding a new home is one of the biggest worries for many expats when moving abroad. From choosing the best country to suit your needs, to finding the perfect area, town, street and property – the entire process can be very long-winded.

Buying a house abroad safely is an additional pressure. If you plan on moving abroad, ensure you never sign a contract that you do not fully understand. You should also seek expert advice from solicitors and surveyors as they know the specifics of buying a property there. This will help to ensure that all the necessary permissions and licenses have been obtained prior to purchase.

Adapting to a new lifestyle is the most challenging

45% of expats have found adapting to a new lifestyle most challenging.

Adapting to a new lifestyle is difficult, but it’s important to keep an open-mind. There are a number of strategies that can help you adjust to your new home, including thorough preparation before you go and learning basics of the language. It’s important to know and accept the impact a culture shock can have. It’s natural and all part of the learning process!

Most importantly, don’t give up. Some expats found that surrounding themselves with a familiar item from home, or something that reminds them of home, can help relieve the stress of being in a new environment.

Congratulations Chris Richardson, the winner of the GoPro in our survey prize draw! Thank you to everyone who participated and helped make this contest a success. In case you missed it, you can check out the contest here.

If you are thinking about moving abroad, make sure you contact us to find out how we can help you move with ease.

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