Why should you move abroad? This is not really a question. If you are looking for new adventures, new career, new friends, new environment…any or all of the above, go for it!
I left my home country more than 7 years ago for a job opportunity. Although it was in the same company I had zero clue about the job, or even the country I was about to move to.
Best decision ever!
There are many things you will miss and many others you will gain with the move.
To be honest everything is exciting AND scary in the first few weeks. You are battling with bureaucracy for your visa, maybe you even need to find a job, there is a bar right next to your place, a running track, ladies nights, anything and everything!
I know it sounds contradictory but this is the part when you actually miss your family, your friends, your routine the most. So you start creating a new one (I don’t mean baby making!). Your colleagues, neighbors, friends’ friends become your friends and very often your family. These are not your childhood friends who knew you since you were a baby, these are adults with similar mindset and lifestyle– although with a different cultural heritage who choose you because you are their kind of person. Nothing says ‘expat’ more than having this possibility to form friendships with people from different parts of the world. You are a family, you are there for each other when work sucks, when someone is heartbroken, when there is a birthday to celebrate for a weekend (or more!) for better or worse. You study the map so you know where they are from, learn few (swear) words in different languages, try new food, learn about different religions. All because of, and with, your friends.
You don’t even know when but you have these strong bonds that last forever across all continents, these people are part of your life. For me this is one of the top things of living abroad, all “my Dubai family.”
Yes, when you are an expat you meet many wonderful, like-minded people. And then one day they tell you that they are leaving; going back home, going to another country, going to the Moon…all feels the same to you. Your pillar, your compass, your ”little big brother” is leaving. And you go through all stages of grief. When my good friend, a colleague and mentor, “work husband” was leaving I refused to talk about it. I didn’t want to know the reasons or how amazing his life would be back in the foggy UK. Then I realized that means another holiday destination for me.
In these 7 years I’ve had a fair share of farewell parties. People come and go. Some friendships can’t survive it and that’s ok.
But is it still worth it? Yes! I still talk almost daily to my best friend who moved back home more than a year ago. I visit my friends in South Africa, Austria, UK, Malaysia, Switzerland, China, India, etc. I still say “lekker” when I like something😊
If you ever wondered if moving abroad is for you, the answer is yes. It gives you lifelong friendships, unbelievable memories, it changes you, makes you stronger and let’s be honest, more interesting😊 Even if you want to try it for only a year (sarcastic smile) or have a long list of countries where you would move, go for it! Be open to new opportunities, even better, create them. Look at the map where you would live, pack your suitcase and that’s it. You’re halfway there😊
Zsuzsa is writing from the UAE. Originally from Slovakia, she has been living abroad for the better part of the last decade. An aspiring travel photographer and frequent traveler, you can check out the cool places she’s been and friend her on IG. @zuzvarga