Most Common Fears People Experience
When Moving Abroad
By Zoe Mitchell
Taking big, life-altering steps is never easy. Packing your bags and moving to a foreign country is a huge step. You are so full of doubts and fears that you’re unable to see the upsides. You may have been putting off this humongous task for a long time. Now’s the time to face your fear and turn it into power. Moving abroad is like any other challenge - the more you do it, the easier it gets. The first time is the worst. That is why I’ve decided to break down some common fears people experience when moving abroad and help you get over them.
6 common fears people experience when moving abroad
1. Fear of the unknown
Moving abroad is one of the best examples of leaving one’s comfort zone. Since every country is different, the fear of the unknown is always present. If your fear prevails, you may get the urge to forget about the whole thing and stay where you are. It is okay to be scared, but it’s not like you’re moving to another planet. When you get that urge, remember that millions of people have done it and survived.
Nowadays, everyone speaks English. Even if there are few English speakers in your new country, don’t let the language barrier stop you. Give yourself enough time before the move to learn the basics of the new language. You don’t have to be fluent right away, but you should be able to shop for groceries, order in restaurants, and ask people for directions. Once you’re exposed to the language on a daily basis, you’ll be expanding your vocabulary and improving your grammar much faster, without even noticing.
Additionally, do some research on the country’s culture. Some of the behaviors that are completely acceptable in one country may be considered offensive in another country. Look up local customs and social norms in the months leading to your relocation. This way, you’ll adjust to the new culture faster and avoid being misunderstood.
2. Moving problems
Moving your possessions overseas is much more complicated than moving locally. There are many things to take into consideration, such as moving insurance, customs clearance, packing and unpacking. Moving your belongings overseas isn’t cheap. Also, every country has a list of prohibited items. So, you have to carefully select the items you’re taking and make sure they are properly protected. The best way to take care of this is hiring a relocation company with years of experience, such as Four Winds SA. Most importantly, ensure your documents (visa, passport, medical records) are in order.
3. Safety concerns
Even if your new country is safer than your old country, you can’t help but feel unsafe in an unfamiliar place. The fact is that no place on the planet is perfectly safe. One way to lower your anxiety level is to learn as much as you can about the region you’re moving to and take precautions. Prepare for the worst case scenario by learning emergency phone numbers and studying any country-specific health alerts or natural disasters. Panicking won’t help you at all - knowledge will.
4. Financial problems
Some of the most common fears people experience when moving abroad have to do with financial stress. You’ll need money to support yourself or your entire family during this costly transition. Don’t move before doing extensive research on the cost of living in your new country and making an extensive financial plan. Start saving money on time – you’ll need that safety net. Moreover, finding a second job you can do part-time and creating a budget to follow during the transitional period will help you feel more comfortable.
5. Missing home
Most people moving abroad are afraid of homesickness. It may fade or grow stronger with time. For some of us, it’s harder in the beginning, for others, it’s the other way around. You may miss your old house, your street, your old neighbors, even if you never knew their names. Let’s face it – the physical distance will affect your relationships. On the plus side, technology has made keeping in touch with your loved ones easier than ever. Technology is also helping us meet new people. Becoming friends with the locals may be hard due to the language barrier, at least in the beginning. So, if you feel lonely, take advantage of expat groups and social media channels. Start making contacts even before moving.
6. Fear of failure
The last one on our list of common fears people experience when moving abroad is the fear of failure. Even if your job and accommodation are secured, even if you’re not moving alone, global relocation is full of uncertainties. The mere fact that things will be different brings numerous concerns. Stepping out of your comfort zone is all about taking risks.
Whenever we take a risk, we need to accept the possibility of failure. What you need to do is acknowledge that failure and disappointment are a part of life. You can’t succeed anyway unless you try. Be brave and forget about the what-ifs. Do not let your fears overwhelm you and deprive you of the chance to grow both professionally and personally. Global relocation is a valuable learning experience that will make your life richer, even if things don’t turn out as you had hoped. If it doesn’t work out and you decide to move back home, so what? You should be proud of yourself. You still managed to conquer the fear of moving abroad, which is something many people could never do.
Zoe Mitchell is a freelance writer born and raised in New York City. Due to her husband’s job, she has moved several times and lived in four countries over the past eight years. She loves sharing her experiences and helping people with a similar lifestyle, which is why collaborating with relocation companies was a logical choice.