You may be considering moving to another country, either by yourself, your significant other, or your entire family. In this article, we will explore 4 cultural issues to consider before moving abroad and what you can do now. This will help you to make the transition to your new home a lot easier to deal with. We will consider other issues in coming articles.
In a recent poll commissioned by Barclays International Banking, questions were asked to expats or expatriates on the challenges of living abroad. They mentioned the most important issues measured by percentages on what they believed affected them the most.
The Cost of Living came in first at 28.16% of the vote. Some issues to take into account when looking to move overseas including employment, the cost of property and personal finances. But to these expats, the cost of living was a very important issue. Having sufficient money to live and have a social life is at the top of the list of issues.
What to do? Comparing some aspects of the proposed life in a new country and the present one will undoubtedly be less expensive, some more expensive. There are now many websites that will allow you to compare the cost of living in any two or more countries. Although doing this will not be precise in nature, it will allow you to get a very good idea on the more expensive costs regarding food, fuel and going out to dinner, for example. Let me know if you would like a list of international bank guides to help you with usual and unusual costs.
Loneliness came in second at 26.62%. What can cause loneliness? New surroundings, experiences and the type of employment opportunities can all be factors. Loneliness is true for either individuals or entire families in a new environment.
For example, a family with children moving abroad may experience problems. If there is a stay at home parent, the other parent may take the responsibility of taking care of them. If this is not currently being done, there will be a shock value to this new way of life. If it is difficult now looking after children, then it may become a bigger issue looking after children when moving abroad.
What to do? When expats tread on unfamiliar ground, they tend to stick to what is familiar. Doing so, many expatriates never make the transition from expat to compatriot. However, in order to get the most out of your expat experience, you need to break out of your comfort zone and try to immerse yourself in the local culture.
The process of making the transition from living like an expat to a more local life-style takes time. Loneliness can be dealt with as you get used to your new environment, culture and its embracement.
Cultural Differences were 13.99% an issue. Cultural differences usually include language, religion, political organization, and customs. One of the difficulties that many people have is dealing with the stereotypes of others. That means we have stereotypes of others as they have of us.
What to do? Preparing for life in a new culture starts out by educating yourself about the country you’re moving to. Do research by reading books, view YouTube videos, visit websites, any reputable resource that will help you “read into” the culture and give you insight on the way of life/culture of that country.
Relationship Problems came in as a concern at 10.75%. If you currently are experiencing some type of problem in your relationship, it most likely will not get better with a move, but may become more magnified by all the other “moving” issues you will experience. Leaving behind support friends, family and even professional counselors may strain your relationship even more.
What to Do? To be successful in a move, you will need to be sure that everyone involved is 100% sure that the move is being done for the right reasons and there will be flexibility and understanding by all. There needs to be a plan in place that is currently being worked on, that will continue long after the move to the new country. Don’t leave it to the last minute and then start working on it once you have moved.
In conclusion, we have considered 4 issues (79.52%) that were brought up by expatriates that were of high importance to them, the Cost of Living, Loneliness, Cultural Differences and Relationship Problems. We have briefly dealt with what to do now, to prepare yourself, and to make the transition from an expat to compatriot. Remember why you are even considering a move: a better lifestyle, better experiences for your family, less expensive cost of living. These are good reasons to prepare well now. We will consider other issues and explore other answers to be successful in future articles.