Are you considering moving to live in your dream country? If you’ve been thinking about moving overseas for some time or have been living away from your native home and thinking about making the move a more permanent thing, what should you think about before you pull the trigger on the decision? Here, we’re going to look at a few of the questions to ask yourself before moving to another country to live your dream.
Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post that I have added my own thoughts and opinions to. I have been compensated for my time.
I Am An Expat!
Whilst there is some debate on the term ‘expat’ I’m not here to debate the difference between expats, migrants, immigrants or any of that. This post is really focusing on people who choose to move to live and make a life in a country other than the one they were born in, based purely on the idea that you want to live your dream of living in that country. Wherever it may be.
Most of you will know by now that my husband and I have moved countries a few times. I’ve got a whole section on my blog dedicated to expat life, particularly moving from South Africa to the UK. What I really want to discuss today is the idea of moving to another country from where you were born and raised, simply because you want to live in that country. It’s more common in recent times to think of migration, emigration and immigration as being motivated by push factors. But sometimes, a lot of the time, people simply want to experience life in another country because they believe that country is the perfect place to live, for them.
Here are some fundamentally important questions to ask yourself before moving to another country to live your dream life.
1. Are you committed to making a real change
First of all, you should consider just how committed you are to making this change in the first place. The final decision is yours alone (so long as the process goes your way) but there are good and bad reasons behind a move. Moving is no vacation, so you might want to be sure it’s for reasons better than liking the idea of the place you’re moving to. If you’re moving for a serious relationship or for career reasons you’re more likely to be committed to the move itself, too.
2. Do you have the funds to make the move?
It is vitally important that you take the time to research the costs of immigrating and getting fully settled in the country that you plan to move to. If you’re committed, you will take the time to plan the move as carefully as possible, getting organized and making sure that you’ve dotted all your i’s and crossed all your t’s. Your budget, your travel plans, and how you plan to make a living in your new home should all be considerations to make before you start the application process.
I would strongly recommend you consider the following financial implications before you decide to move to another country:
- Visa costs including work permits
- Flights/travel costs
- Accommodation options and associated costs – will you rent? will you share a house? Maybe consider an Airbnb.
- The basic cost of living in your dream country
- Job and employment opportunities – how easy it is for you with your skills to get a job in your dream country
- Transport costs in your dream country – How much will a car cost? Is there good, safe public transport?
3. Think about the reasons that you’re making your move
Are you making the move for yourself, or are you following someone else’s dream? There is a huge difference between immigration when you’re single and unattached, and immigrating as a family. There’s a lot more at stake when you move abroad with kids than if it’s just you or you and your partner. Fundamentally you need to ask yourself, is it going to be worth the upheaval for all concerned to follow your dream and move to another country.
Whatever the result of that question is, if it’s more than just you going, make sure your partner is 100% behind you when you do this because, in my experience, there is usually one person in a relationship who is the driving force for immigration, and one person who needs convincing and reassuring. But before you move, make sure you are BOTH committed. And don’t forget to consider the costs of multiple work permits if you’re moving to the UK.
4. Have you researched the process?
The process of how you immigrate from one country to another is rarely easy. It can be a little easier if you have any citizenship by right of birth, have married someone who lives there or has a work opportunity. There are special visas for these situations, such as a UK Spouse Visa or Work Visa. However, you’re still likely to need the help of an immigration lawyer as these can still be rejected for different reasons. If you have already been living in the country of your choice for a long while, then you might need to look at the process of gaining ILR – indefinite leave to remain. Having a professional at your side can make sure you’re going through the process in the right way.
5. How well do you know the culture?
If you have been living in the country of your choice for some time, then the answer to this question might not be too difficult. For others, however, culture shock can be a legitimate experience and one that can make a move a lot harder. It’s not just a different climate or different foods, it’s different etiquette, professional boundaries, and modes of living that you might have to adjust to. Consider joining expat forums so you can get a few more ideas of what people who have made the move think about the country and what tips they can offer. Another great place to do some research is by finding expat communities in the country you’re moving to on Facebook.
Teaching Your Children To Respect Other Cultures
Teaching Your Children A New Language
6. What are the different education systems in your dream country?
When making the move to another country, if you have children, or are planning to have children, doing research into the education system in that country is very important! Moving children who already attend school is one of the hardest parts of immigration because you stress and worry about how they will adapt and whether their existing standard of education is the same, or will they need to ‘catch-up’.
It might even be a case of realising that the education system in that country isn’t quite what you want for your children, so you might even consider homeschooling them. Whatever the case may be, please do make sure you research the education system in the country you’re wanting to move to so that you can be as prepared as possible to help your children settle in.
The questions to ask yourself before moving to another country as mentioned above aren’t supposed to make anyone second guess or reconsider their desire to live in a different country. Rather, it’s simply to make sure that you’re as best prepared as possible before making such a big decision.