Monday, December 13, 2010

The Positives and Negatives of Moving Internationally

This is a basic summary on the Positives and Negatives on moving from one place to another in our global world from someone who has been there and done it a couple of times.  How to make the negatives positive and how to make the decision whether you are ready to leave your comfort zone or not, to have an adventure and enjoy it as such or not.  To remember you are never alone on this journey of discovery.


1. You are able to live in a country with a different culture and if you embrace the culture and enjoy every aspect of it, you will enjoy your stay;
2. It is very interesting to see how different countries work, from government departments through to shops and even the traffic rules;
3. You get to explore a completely new environment and travel without it costing you a fortune;
4. You make new friends from all over the world, as an expat you will become part of an expat community and this community will tell you where to go, travel and visit;
5. Then there is the local community and if you are working with locals, they will do the same thing, tell you where to go to experience the local community;
6. Usually you get to earn a better salary than in your country of origin, so save save save;
7. It is also not unusual, when accepting a job through an overseas company that many of the normal day to day expenses are paid for, such as accommodation, transport, medical and schooling; and many others that are taken care of;
8. If you have children they will have the opportunity of getting an international schooling and become global citizens of the world;
9. Many people are never given the opportunity to move around the world, this is such a wonderful opportunity to teach your children how to cope in different situations, travel and cope in airports, embrace other cultures and generally survive a different lifestyle;
10. You learn to take baby steps, accept how things work or don’t, not to sweat the small stuff and become accepting of situations, people and places iow to chill.  All of the above can teach you a lot about yourself.


So what about the negatives….it is so normal for us humans to always potentially look at the negative side before we look at the positives and we tend to always find so many more negatives.  So here is my list…but with positives to go with them:

1. Packing your entire life to move or store, probably the worst part of moving, you need to decide what to keep or sell or give away or throw away; positively it’s a great opportunity to get rid of junk!
2. Unpacking, ditto to the above….
3. Leaving your family and friends behind which under any situation is difficult; positively the world is such a small place now that between email, blogs and skype they are always only a pc away. Plus with air travel it is easy to get home very very quickly;
4. The language differences can result in misunderstandings and things not getting done in the way you would have done them in your own country, positively this teaches us patience and English is a fairly universal language;
5. You will have to go through all the processes of getting Visa’s, Residence Permits, sometimes even going through medicals, driving tests, finger printing, etc (depending on the country you are going to) which can be incredibly frustrating, but this is the way that the country you are moving to can keep tabs on who is coming and going from their country.  Positively, it should make you feel safer knowing that they are checking on who is entering, that these people are responsible citizens of the world and have no criminal records, etc.
6. It will be hard for the family to settle, everything is different and unusual if you have gone to a culture very different from your own, even if it is similar it is still different; talk to the family, let everyone express how they are feeling, be understanding of each others’ moods and positively it gets the family talking;
7. New routines, a new school, a new office, new friends; and all of these take time; but all the above have the word new in so that is positive….
8. Moving countries is one of the top 3 most stressful situations a person can be in, but how you handle it will result in how well your health copes with the move; remember to always think about (perhaps even list) the reasons you made the decision to move (make sure it is a decision that has been made by the family) and hang on to all those positives, you are going to hit rough patches and you are going to need all your positive lists to get through certain stages and times of the move.


So not too bad, I love being a citizen of the world, I love knowing that I have gone through this  process, that I can do it, that I can be positive, that I can meet some fantastic people that are different to me, that life is bigger than just my small little world….


If you are thinking about moving, think of the positives and negatives that it will create in your life and if you can cope especially with the negatives, go for it!  Have an adventure!

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