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23 November, 2015
The results from a recent survey have shown that there are a number of large problems that can make living overseas difficult. Below are the biggest problems they face after making the decision to move abroad.
1. Moving away can make it difficult to maintain friendships and keep in touch with family, especially as you are the one who should be making the effort to communicate with them.
Social networks now make it possible to stay in touch but this should not replace the one-to-one meetings. Therefore, take time out to meet those who matter to you, using servers such as Skype and Whatsapp should help to make it easier.
2. Future finances are a worry for many but for those who move abroad, it can be harder because even if you only plan to move abroad for a few years, there is still the need to think about your finances. Speak to a financial planner before making your decision to ensure that it’s a feasible idea.
3. It can be difficult to be single and live abroad mainly because it’s working families that make the switch. There are some single women who are there to further their career but very few men. Therefore, understanding whether the area is single friendly and finding out whether there are activities for singles will make the decision slight easier.
4. Understanding a new business culture can be tricky but once you get into it, it can be very rewarding. However, do not expect the locals to adjust their ways for you, so learn what works by speaking with other expats and colleagues. Using online contact through LinkedIn and Facebook can help, by asking for introductions to help identify yourself and will make things a lot easier.
5. Moving abroad means making new friends and this is not always easy for everyone. Expats usually live in an expat community which means that people come and go and many decide they don't want to make new friends when they leave because they know that they too, will also leave. If you are feeling lonely then find something that you enjoy doing that involves others because this is a great way to build friendships.
6. Learning the language is vital and making use of the free or low-cost language learning tools can help you get started before you move. A language tutor can help you to expand your vocabulary because once you make the move there will not be much time for learning. Do not be afraid to try out what you have learnt because making mistakes is better than not using it.
7. Expect a culture shock because, remember that it is temporary and it will all very quickly become part of normal life.
8. Moving abroad is not easy for everyone and sometimes the partner and family can suffer. It is likely that a partner will have to rebuild their life again and this takes time. Encourage your partner to take language lessons and look for support groups for expat partners- they are more common that you think!
9. There is a lot of stress that comes with moving abroad. The move itself can be stressful but if the move is for work purposes then it can be even harder. If feelings of depression and anxiety persist then consult a professional for help. Your embassy will be able to provide a list of professionals.
10. The time to go back home can hit expats at any time and this feeling can be brought on by a number of things. When you have the urge to move back home because you want that stability then do not fight it, embrace it and look forward to the next chapter.
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