People that have moved overseas can’t normally pinpoint a single thing that was hardest about it. There are a number of challenges in adapting – from missing what you left behind to understanding your new role in society. If you begin a new job then there are also often cultural issues in the workplace that you have to adapt to, and spending so much time at work means that this can be a big challenge.
Moving overseas can be nerve-wracking, but if you prepare yourself for the journey and understand that moving across borders and across seas is exciting and doesn’t have to be anxiety-producing, then you can turn your physiology upside down and get your brain looking for opportunities, excited about the future.
There are certain things that you do have to be aware of so that you can try and stop them affecting your life as you embark on a new adventure.
Friendships and family relationships can fade
Any relationship is built on familiarity, contact and sharing times together. If you move overseas then there can be a tendency for you to drift away from the people that you care about and love. The relationships that have been built over many years with friends can become less strong.
Social media is a superb way to try and keep relationships going, stay in touch with the comings and goings in people’s lives, and to enhance friendships to share the experience. A friend of mine recently moved to Australia and is building a huge ship. He and his wife have shared pictures of the whole journey of them project-managing this construction project, and everybody in their friendship network back home comments and likes their photos as they add their next instalment. This has helped to keep them in our minds and us in theirs.
Talking on text and email is often not enough to keep relationships flourishing. Thankfully video chat is available on WhatsApp, Viper and Skype and is free. Scheduling regular video chat can add massive richness to communication over distance. By developing a bit of a schedule with friends and family you can ensure that you get the time together as you grow in your lives.
Setting up a new home can be difficult without getting help
Moving overseas means new laws, understanding safety and security in your neighbourhood, and of course using removals companies to get all your stuff into your new home. A good start is to use a moving company as my friend did. He used Ausmove and due to their tremendous amount of experience advising and guiding people that are moving overseas, he had a really soft landing. If you are moving from New Zealand to Australia for work then they will have seen most scenarios you will go through time and time again.
Stress will come as you start to set up your new home. In bedding in the fabric of the local community, feeling connected with your home and environment, and furnishing your home will take understanding local retailers and pricing. You almost have to start again.
Perhaps the first thing you should do when you move into a new neighbourhood is to go out and meet some of your neighbours. They can be an invaluable network for information, help and support, and, if you are on your own in the new country, may be able to work with you on car shares, reciprocal babysitting and so on.
Changes are never easy
If you’ve ever moved home, even in the same country, you know that it is not an easy process. Changing job is the same. Moving overseas compounds the effects and so you need to make sure that you are mentally prepared and that you understand that there will be uncertainty on a day-to-day basis and that you need to control your thinking and embrace your new life. You need to roll up your sleeves and get on with building your career, your social networks, your family role in the community and the homeliness of your new property.
Be grateful for everything you have, for the help you get from those around you, and to the love your friends and family send to you from back home. Being a foreigner in the new land means that you need to fit in, not the other way around, an attitude of gratitude, love and peacefulness will go a long way in endearing you to your local community.