There are few of us in this world who do not, at one time or another, consider the idea of moving to live in another country. Maybe it’s something we think about, with a heavy sigh, as something new happens in our current location to make us feel there has to be somewhere better. More positively, it might be that you find yourself falling in love with another place, and are willing to move your life to that new place to enjoy the magical feeling of waking up there every morning. Either way, emigration is at least a daydream for many of us.
Whether it remains in the ether of your dreams or becomes something more concrete is up to you, to a large extent. There are ways and means of going about it, and there are even countries that actively encourage you to give them a try – Canada is not bashful when it comes to selling itself to potential new residents. Before you set the wheels in motion on living in another country, though, it is worth running through a few questions.
Have you been there before?
It’s very easy to fall in love with the idea of a country. There may be something you enjoy in the culture of a place, or you’ve admired its scenery. If you’ve thought about it more deeply, you may feel that its way of life and even its politics mesh with yours. Until you’ve actually been to a place, though, it’s impossible to know if you’ll feel that connection when you set foot on its soil for the first time. You should at least go there on holiday, or spend time working there before you decide to spend what could be the rest of your life in a country.
Have you thought about what comes after the honeymoon period?
Immigrants the world over can tell you about the honeymoon period that exists for anyone who moves to a new country. It’s part of a phenomenon known as “culture shock”, which happens when you swap one culture for another. What follows the honeymoon period is known as the “frustration” stage. In this spell, you won’t be beguiled by all the cute differences the new place has. Instead, you’ll start noticing the things it doesn’t have and other things that irritate you. You’ll feel homesick, even if you were sick of your home, and the temptation to bail will be immense.
How much do you know about the place?
Making the commitment to live somewhere isn’t something that should be done based on a YouTube video or two and a glowing reference from someone who used to live there. It can be better to road-test the migration idea by living as a digital nomad. This can still be testing, as you’ll learn when looking online for information, but it’s the best imaginable preparation for a more permanent move. If you’ve spent a day with a headache in a place, endured a frustrating search for painkillers and comfort food, and still love spending time there, you’ve cleared a major hurdle in any emigre’s experience.
Are you really ready to leave “this” behind?
We’re all prone to thinking the grass is greener on the other side, but the most fundamental consideration for anyone looking to emigrate is whether you’re really OK leaving your home. Of course, day-to-day life can be filled with annoyances and a change might do you good, but it’s important to be sure that this is the change you need. The immigration process involves a lot of hard work and usually a fair amount of money, too. So you should only go through with it if you’re certain you won’t immediately regret it and want to reverse it. If you’ve considered this and all the above, and still want to do it, then go right ahead!