Expatriation, Travel

7 questions to ask yourself before moving abroad

If you weren’t aware, moving abroad is not a spur-of-the-moment decision. Certainly, in certain circumstances like professional expatriation, it can be made quickly. However, generally speaking, you have questions to ask and choices to make that are crucial for the success of your departure and your life abroad. Here, I present 7 essential questions to ask yourself before moving abroad to help you navigate your project successfully.

Moving Abroad: 7 Questions Before Departure

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1. Why Do You Want to Leave?

Understanding your motivations is crucial. Are you seeking better job prospects, a different lifestyle, or personal growth? Clarifying your reasons will help set realistic expectations for your emigration journey. In my opinion, it’s not advisable to leave while seeing your future country as an El Dorado and your home country as a place to flee (unless your life is in danger, of course!). But in the case of comfortable immigration, because you desire something else, be realistic. Another country will likely better meet your needs, but it will also have its drawbacks. No system is perfect, and it’s important to acknowledge that.

2. How Long Do You Want to Stay?

The answer to this question will guide your visa or work permit process. Generally, the longer the visa/permit duration, the more costly it is. This needs to be anticipated. What’s the point of spending thousands if it’s just for a three-month stay?

3. What Kind of Lifestyle Do You Want?

When choosing your destination, consider the type of lifestyle you want. Are you seeking a complete change? Or a similar lifestyle in a different country? Urban or rural? Near the sea or in the mountains? Do you want to be able to walk everywhere? Do you want easy access to your home country? To be within x hours of flying to your home country? These questions are crucial when choosing your destination and even when deciding where to settle within a particular country. For instance, Canada is vast, and life in Toronto is very different from life in Yellowknife. Climates, cultures, access to services, and proximity to nature all differ. Consider your daily life needs. It might not necessarily be what you’re used to now, as your current life might not suit you. But these are important questions to ask to avoid disappointment.

4. Are You Ready for Cultural Differences?

Cultural adjustments can be tough. Research the customs, language, and social norms of your chosen destination. Being culturally sensitive and adaptable will ease your transition. If you can, test the country out during a vacation before moving. However, don’t believe that your 1- or 2-week experience will reflect your future life. Vacation life is different – calmer, all about discovery. I also encourage you to connect with other immigrants or expats through social networks, read blogs, or participate in immigration forums to meet locals.

5. What’s Your Financial Plan?

Emigration involves financial considerations such as visa costs, living expenses, and potential income fluctuations. If you’re moving without a job, you need enough savings to survive the first few months. Consider costs that exist in your destination but not in your current country. School fees, for instance, or healthcare expenses. Ensure you have a solid financial plan in place to cover initial costs and sustain yourself in your new country.

6. Can You Practice Your Profession There?

If you have an established career in your home country and want to continue in your adopted country, check if your profession is recognized in that country and whether it requires specific qualifications or membership in a professional order. For example, the title of “engineer” is protected in Canada, requiring registration with the engineering association. If you’re a social worker, you’ll likely need equivalencies and additional courses to practice. Consider this before leaving, as these processes are costly and time-consuming, potentially disrupting your life for several months or even years.

7. Are You Ready for Emotional Roller Coasters?

Emigrating is exciting, but it can also be emotionally challenging. Loneliness, homesickness, and culture shock are common hurdles. Mentally prepare for the highs and lows, and consider building a support network abroad. Look into local expat groups, and check for Meetups or Facebook groups (probably available), as they’re treasure troves of information and great ways to make connections.

In Conclusion, deciding to move abroad is a life-altering choice that requires careful thought. By asking yourself these seven essential questions, you’ll be better prepared to make an informed decision that aligns with your goals and aspirations. Remember that the more thought you put into your decision, the smoother your transition is likely to be. For more articles on immigration, feel free to explore the expatriation section of the blog.

If you’re ready to embark on this incredible adventure, take the time to plan meticulously. Embrace new experiences with an open heart and a clear mind to make the most of your emigration journey. Safe travels! ✈

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments! 🙂

À bientôt ❤️


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