When travelling, I often consider if I would ever want to live in the place I’m holidaying in, and it got me thinking about what makes me answer with either ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
I already had a personal connection to Germany before moving here from the UK, but if I wanted to relocate again, then I wouldn’t have that same connection with any other country in the world.
So what is it that makes us say ‘yes’ to a new country?
Love or money
A lot of people move abroad for a partner or a new job. This is pretty standard, but it does of course always come with a risk, and I would say that risk is quite high. I often read about lonely spouses who feel they lost a sense of purpose when following their partners’ career all over the world. Or there are those people who get sold a dream job, but when reality hits, it’s not what they had imagined at all. Based on this, I would suggest having a plan of action that will allow you to build your own life independently of your partner or outside of your 9-5.
Language and culture
Some of us just want a new challenge and to be pushed out of our comfort zone: To meet new people, learn a new language and experience a new culture. For me, this is the most enriching aspect of living abroad, but if I’m honest, it’s not all luxury. Being on holiday or going travelling is not the same as relocating, and culture shock is very real.
But once we’ve considered why we want to move, how do we select the ideal location?
Standard of living
This is one of the first things I checked before relocating. I looked at cost comparison sites and read blogs to try to get a realistic idea of what to expect. I did some budgeting before my arrival and tried to estimate the amount that I would have to spend on taxes, savings, socialising, travelling etc. I didn’t see the point of moving abroad if I wasn’t going to be able to fund enjoying it.
Will you be sponsored by your company or are you on your partner’s visa? How long are you allowed to live in the country without working? What would happen if you lose your job? Visas can be a pain in the backside when it comes to the freedom of living where you want, when you want, but I can’t stress how important it is to be in the know before moving abroad, just in case things don’t go to plan.
How long will your daily commute to work be, how close is the nearest school, where’s the nearest airport and what happens if you need to go home? Your daily commute can highly contribute to the amount of time, or lack thereof, that you have for leisure activities. So make sure you bear this in mind when choosing a place to live. It may be that you didn’t ever need to or want to go home to where you relocated from, but it’s a good idea to have realistic expectations before moving abroad. If, for example, you are moving from Europe to Australia, it may be that you can’t even visit home on a yearly basis, which also means that people are unlikely to be able to visit you. Would you be comfortable with this?
Where to live
I turned up to a new country with temporary accommodation for only three months. It gave me a chance to explore my new city and work out where I wanted to live on a long-term basis. Saying that, if you’re moving to a major city then you really do have to commit to the flat hunt, especially if you’re picky, like me. 🙂 You should also find out what the renting contracts will be like and if you’ll need to buy furniture or not. I literally had to buy a kitchen when I got a new apartment.
I know of a few people who have moved to Germany or the UK from hot countries such a Mexico or Cyprus. They have genuinely feel down during the long winter months. The grey cloud and rainy days tend to have a negative effective on people who aren’t used to the weather. Be prepared for this potential shock.
As a vegetarian living in Germany, I rarely eat typical German food as there’s just so much meat. This doesn’t bother me at all as Frankfurt has a lot to offer but from my personal experience, if you wanted to move to Goa, India but aren’t keen on curry, then it may not be the place for you.
Cultural diversity is extremely important to me. Yes, I moved to Germany to immerse myself into the culture but I also thoroughly enjoy having friends from all over the world. Frankfurt is Germany’s most international city and I have been able to meet people from a lot of different of different countries, but London is definitely more diverse. Consider the pros and cons of how multicultural your new location is, preferably before you arrive.
I think that’s it for now, but do let me know if there’s anything else that helped you decide where to relocate to. And whatever country it is that you say ‘yes’ to, make the most of living abroad!