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With the constant buzz around travel and holiday destinations, many of us have at some point wondered what it would be like to live abroad. We dream of the new places we would explore, the new food we would sample, the exotic people we would meet, the new language we would learn and everything shiny and fancy that comes with the idea of moving abroad.
I wondered about all of these things and went ahead to actually do it. A year and half later, I have many things to say which one should definitely consider before one decides to move abroad.
1. You will miss your family and friends more than you ever missed them in your whole life.
I lived away from my family since I was 18 and moved abroad at the age of 24. Yet, there is something about long term travel that makes you uncertain when you will meet your friends and family again. This makes you miss them even more. I have missed birthdays, weddings and many other important events that I would have loved to be a part of but simply couldn’t due to time and money constraints. If you want to know why I moved to Germany, read here.
2. You will miss the food of your home country.
I don’t know if this has something to do with the fact that I am originally from India, and let’s admit it we have the best food in the world. Living far away from home, especially in a small city where I do not have access to affordable, good Indian food or even the raw materials I need to repeat some dishes, I often feel homesick just thinking about one of my favourite dishes. Don’t get me wrong, I love international cuisines and trying new dishes, but there is something about the food you grew up all your life with that you just cannot forget no matter how long you have lived abroad.
3. You have to be okay with being alone when you are sick.
I guess it’s true, you miss the feeling of knowing where to go and what to do when you’re sick. Living abroad, you often have to start from scratch on which doctors to meet, which medicines suit you, how to pay for treatment and many other things that simply never crossed your mind when you lived in your motherland. I dread going to a doctor when I’m in Germany and still prefer to get my annual checks when I’m visiting my parents, simply because I have less uncertainty on what to expect.
4. You have to be okay with starting a new career.
Whether you move abroad to study or to work, you have to be comfortable with the idea of making a new circle wherever you go. The rules, regulations, working culture and even the nature of colleagues and official relationships may differ widely when you move abroad. I, for one, realised this as soon as I started to intern in a Germany company, and had some surprises in the beginning which I didn’t see coming.
5. Learning a new language is harder than you think.
You’re very lucky if you move to a country that speaks the exact same language that you spoke since childhood or are very comfortable in. Having moved from India to Germany, I had to start learning German along with doing a full time Master and a job to fund my lifestyle. Needless to say, this was exhausting, tough and many times frustrating. I started to dream doing simple things like going for a haircut or sending a letter because I often had to sit with a dictionary before I could go and do any of these things. In principle, I could just speak in English and pray the person I have to deal with understands this, but this will not always be the case. It also defeats the purpose of living in a new country.
Related: How Hard is the German language?
To move abroad has been perhaps the boldest decision I have made in my personal and professional life and while it has come with many amazing new experiences, it has also been a very tough decision. Before you dream about living abroad, consider the five basic things I told you about, and only if you think you can deal with them in the long-run should you do it. There are many times when it is easy to fall into depression due to a lack of comfort or moral support in the initial phases of moving abroad, but this is also something that has made me very strong and totally self-reliant.
What is something you feel one should know before moving abroad?
**Originally published on Escape Writers