The answer as to whether moving abroad makes you happier is a long conversation that many people ponder. Companies perform surveys, and mental health professionals explore the phycological effects of what packing our bags and swapping borders can do for our quality of life. The move, probably made famous by films like Eat, Prey, Love, and the good old fashioned Shirley valentine, can broaden our minds and give us a new lease of energy for life.
While some people might move for romance, others to expand their careers, or others to “find themselves,” these days living abroad is the new norm. However, as with any significant lifestyle move, consider the pros, cons, and factors before jumping on a plane. Overall, it is not the move that makes people happier, but mindset and determination. Here are some following questions and decisions to help decide if the move abroad will put a smile on your face.
Does Moving Abroad Make You Happier?
1: Know Your Reason for Moving
If your definition of happiness is miles away from failed romances, then moving abroad will be the ticket. However, if you are moving because you do not know what to do with your life, you need to do much soul searching instead of just relying on the move. It is good to know what we do not want in our life anymore, but at the same time, we need to have an idea of what we are looking for because this ensures we make the right move.
2: Research the Country First
We have quite a few clients, who live here permanently, and we are always impressed by their attention to detail. They research factors affecting everyday lives, like living costs, healthcare, banking, pets, and driving. They join expat groups to stay updated with local and countrywide news. They ask question after question, and it is easy to see they are making an informed decision. Do not neglect the benefits of researching your move first.
3: Unrealistic Expectations When Moving
It is not often we see a failed move abroad. On the contrary, most people make a success out of it. However, on the few occasions, people have decided life abroad is not for them, there are always two reasons why and one is unrealistic expectations. Your move abroad will take patience and dedication to settle in. Forget about the image of Julia Andrews singing happily in the fields. There will be hurdles to overcome. Sometimes, you will need to seek the advice of others. And yes, some things will go wrong. Moving abroad does not guarantee an idyllic utopia.
4: Money Matters
The second reason for a failed move abroad is poor money management, mainly when operating in two different currencies. The biggest mistake is that people set themselves a budget but do not factor in yearly inflation and rising costs. Additionally, when the country they move to operates in a different currency, they do not factor in falling exchange rates. Thirdly, they do not have a rainy-day fund for emergency spending. Know your financial situation exactly, and factor in a buffer zone.
5: Language Barriers
Ah, the extensive discussion about the language barrier. It is true that many expats live abroad and do not have any knowledge of the language. Mostly, they move to touristic resorts where the locals speak English or another language; hence they do not even try. Our suggestion is to try and learn as much as possible. The more you know, the more your daily quality of life increases, and you have more chances of making friends with locals. Hence the happier and more confident you will be.
6: Connecting with People
So, you might be someone who loves their own company. In which case, moving abroad, without friends, on your own, will be easy. However, if an active social life is a top priority, you need to start conversations and put yourself out there to meet new people. In other words, people skills need to be an attribute of yours.
7: Overseas Culture and Traditions
We had a friend who moved from Britain to Australia. Given the historical connection, she assumed that life would be pretty much the same apart from the weather. She soon realised it was not. The culture, traditions, way of life and even slang were utterly different. The same is said of the USA and Britain. Do not assume that the culture and practices will be the same because the language is the same. This is when expats need to be open-minded and able to adapt to change.
8: Regret About Not Moving
One significant factor when considering moving abroad, is to ask yourself one simple question. How would you feel if you did not do it? Would you feel regret or a missed opportunity? One of our team here at Property Turkey remembers this conundrum very well when she moved to Turkey 20 years ago. She says…” I did not care if the move went wrong, but I knew I had to say at least I tried, rather than spend the rest of my life wondering what if”
9: Nay Sayers Who Are Never Happy
So, when we plan a life abroad, we assume friends and family will be behind us every step of the way. Guess what? More people are negative than encouraging. The thing to know is that everyone’s opinion about your planned move will be based on their expectations and beliefs. You would be surprised at the number of people who say their friends discouraged their move. They assumed Turkey to be a third-world country, where living standards were much below the UK or Europe. Seek advice, but ensure people have your best interests at heart instead of their own opinion.
10: The Uncertainty of Living Abroad
Another critical factor is how comfortable you are with uncertainty. Your first six months will be days of learning, confusion, misunderstanding and trying to navigate a new way of living. If familiarity and certainty are two factors of life you need, don’t move. It may be six months or a year before you sense that feeling of home; in the meantime, mass adjustments are needed.
11: The Benefits of Moving Abroad
So, the above list might seem exhausting, but they are good questions to ask yourself. After all, moving abroad doesn’t guarantee to fall in love with life. The significant life move might work out and might not, but after you have asked yourself numerous questions; the last question should be what can I gain from the move, and here are our experiences.
- Cheaper costs of living
- Better weather and climate
- More opportunities to travel and spend time outdoors
- Heightened intuition
- More self-confidence
- Different career path
- Knowledge of global culture, languages, and traditions
- More resilient to life challenges
- And lastly, feeling happy
12: Remember to Plan Ahead Though
So, if you decide to move, our best advice is to plan. We know of a few people, who just bought that plane ticket, and luckily it worked out well. However, they were young, with few commitments to leave behind. But planning goes a long way, and the four main factors in planning are….
- Money – Cost of living and income
13: Be Prepared
Be prepared for homesickness and culture shock; they can strike even the most seasoned expat who has lived in various countries. Homesickness may be a longing to connect with old friends and family or even a favourite food dish from home. Culture shock is often the aspects of living abroad that are very different from our own, like religion, acceptable social behaviour, or legal laws. The good news is both wear off within time, so put off rash decisions if they do strike.
Also, About Moving Abroad
Is Turkey a Good Place to Live? So, we hope we have given good guidelines regarding whether moving abroad makes you happier. If you decide moving is for you, one country to consider is Turkey. Over the last twenty years, Turkey has risen in popularity with people looking to move abroad. This article answers typical questions by looking at daily lifestyle, culture, traditions, and the country’s attitude to foreigners living among them.
Where to Live in Turkey: If you decide to move to Turkey, this article will be helpful. Most foreign expats settle in the big cities or along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, but this article discusses all the places expats in Turkey have moved to and why the move made them happier.
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