So, You Want to Move Abroad?


Let me begin this post by saying that I finally have a regular blogging schedule sorted out, which means I will once again be showing my face around here fairly frequently. I will now have regular posts up on Sundays, and Wednesdays. However, if I have the time and/or want to put up anything in between, I certainly will. I'm feeling confident about this. Plus, I'm more than excited to be writing regularly again.

Moving on...

When I was still living in the U.S. and talking to people about my upcoming move to Prague, there is one question that consistently came up in conversation:

How do you know this is something you definitely want to do?

There are SO MANY different answers that I could use to respond to this question, but here is the main thing that it comes down to: I am NOT the type of person who does things without thinking them through. Especially giant things like moving to a foreign country. When it comes to major decisions, I research. I look into every single detail. Therefore, before I even announced that I was moving to Prague, I had an idea of everything that I was going to have to go through to make it happen. I knew what TEFL program I was going to use. I knew all of the basics about the Visa process. I knew all of the basics about the cost of living. I knew that I was going to go through a lot of mental change. (Culture shock, homesickness, etc.)

I knew all of this. I considered everything, and I accepted that it wasn't going to be easy. And, even after looking past the fun aspects of possibly moving, and coming to terms with how difficult it would be, I still wanted to go. This was all in addition to deciding exactly where I wanted to go (ie: Prague), and researching everything about it as well. At the end of all of the research, I was confident that I could handle it, and I was even a bit excited to go out an conquer the tough things.

I have been living in Prague for about a month and a half now, and since I have been here, I have been receiving another question from people quite often:

I would love to do what you are doing. How do I decide if moving abroad is the right decision for me? 

Now, I by no means want to come across as an expert on this subject, because I am still very early into my own move abroad. However, I have had enough experience to know that this was definitely the right decision for me. Yet, I also know that it may not be the right decision for everyone who wants to do it. Therefore, I have come up with:

3 Questions to Ask Yourself While Considering a Move Abroad

1. Where will you go? 
This is probably the most crucial thing to decide. What country do you want to go to? Would you prefer to be somewhere that is English friendly? Are you open to learning a new language to survive? How simple is the Visa process? Is it somewhere you will be comfortable? What will you do for work? (In my case, I am teaching English, so obviously a non-English speaking country makes the most sense here.) How much money will I need to make this happen?

Each country is so different, and Visa requirements for each are going to vary. Plus, it is almost impossible to get a Visa to live in certain countries. (The Czech Republic has a fairly easy process.) You need to make sure that you are willing and able to adapt to the language and cultural differences. In a nutshell, you need to make sure that you are going somewhere that you will enjoy living. Have an open mind, and find somewhere that speaks to your heart.

2. Why do you want to move abroad?
This question is exactly what is sounds like...why do you want to go? Why leave the comfort of your home, and go to somewhere that may be completely unknown? Are you following a lifelong dream? Are you looking for a major change? Are you going for work? Do you have a thirst for culture? Do you want to travel and experience the world in a new way?

There are so many different reasons that people have for moving abroad. For me, it was about dreams, travel, and experience. There are a million different reasons you may come up with. The main thing is you need to make sure your reasons are valid. You need to make sure that you are ready and willing to stick things out. There are some reasons that may mean you are better suited for long term travel, instead of a move abroad. An international move requires full commitment, and isn't always about "having fun." (Even though the experience itself is quite rewarding.)

3. Are you willing to completely change your life?
This is the grandfather of all questions. Are you in a position to completely alter everything about your life? Do you have anything holding you back? Do you have the freedom to make this decision? Are you willing to put in the work to make this move happen? Are you willing to adapt to all of the changes that will come your way? Are you willing to leave your friends and family? Basically, are you willing to sign up for the biggest commitment you have ever made?

Even after I made the decision to come to Prague, I still struggled with whether or not I was doing the right thing. I left a comfortable job and a comfortable apartment. I sold almost everything I own. I am thousands of miles from my friends and family. And...it's still hard, but I can also honestly say that I currently feel more happy and fulfilled than I ever have. There is absolutely no way this was the wrong decision for me, and I have worked my butt off to get to this point. At just a month and a half in, my life has completely changed.

So, if you are thinking that a move to another country may be in the cards for you, I recommend asking yourself these questions. Think things through. Dig deep inside yourself and discover some things that you may not even know. I encourage you to do the research, and make what may be a life changing decision.

Plus, if you ever have any questions or need any advice, just feel free to contact me. :)

I wish you all a Happy Sunday, and wonderful upcoming week!

4 comments

Linda @ A La Carte said...

You look so happy! I think this has been a great move for you and what an adventure!!

Vicky Hunt said...

This was excellent advice for people thinking about moving abroad! Of course I love everything you write! Have a great week! I love you all the way from Florida to Prague and beyond!

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

You do look happy. This was a great post because you answered a lot of questions people may have on how to go about something like this.

So, what kind of meals are you eating? Are you cooking for yourself? Do you eat out a lot? And the all important question - do they have ice cubes there??

Art and Sand said...

My name is Carol and I follow your mom's blog.

Like you, my husband and I chose to live abroad. When we had been married 3 years, we felt like you. We were stuck in a rut going to a job every single day - not hating it, but not loving it either. We decided to join the Peace Corps and were sent to Jamaica. That step was a life defining move for both of us.

The daughter of one of my friends did a year in Prague as a teacher and she loved the experience.

I look forward to reading more.