5 Things To Know When Moving Abroad

We would have liked to know these things before moving abroad. We feel knowing this would have helped us when we moved abroad to the United Kingdom.

1. You Should Register with a Doctor ASAP.
  When travelling to other places, we buy travel insurance, and you can't buy travel insurance without having a doctor. If you get a youth mobility scheme visa like we did, then it is a good idea to register with a GP as soon as you can. Also, in England, most places won't give you travel insurance until you have lived in the UK for 6 months. If you plan to do some traveling outside of the country you just moved to, look into an extended travel insurance plan through your home country. ie. 6 month plan. Most insurance companies won't let you purchase a policy if you aren't in the country at the time of purchase. You can consider getting back packers travel insurance as well but it might be a little overboard if you have a youth mobility scheme visa.



2. Foreigners are exotic.
  It doesn't matter where you move to, being from another country makes you interesting. People will constantly ask you why you decided to move.  Most people are confused as to why we would move from Canada to the UK. Brits are pretty self deprecating. You'll get so used answering this question and will have a generic answer after awhile. Also, in Birmingham people have complimented us on our Canadian accents. People actually tell us that we have nice accents and they enjoy hearing us talk. Sometimes they will ask us to say particular words or phrases to see how we would say them differently. This is strange to us because we've never considered the Canadian accent we have to be a particularly unique accent.

3. You're family is far away from you.
  Social media is such as awesome way to stay in contact with friends and family but there is still an 8 hour time difference between us so it is difficult to arrange times to Skype. If an emergency arises, you think about the fastest way to get home which is quite the mission. We are a 2 hour train, 9 hour flight, hour drive and 2 hour ferry away. You also have to rely on when the next flight would be. You cannot be guaranteed to get a flight from England to Vancouver everyday - plus add on the 3 hour waiting time in the airport. The fastest you can get home is in over 14 hours if money is no object. Looking on Google flights right now at 21:19, the quickest I can get to Vancouver from Birmingham is 13:55 (Vancouver time) the next day and the flight is £1230 one way.

You also will not be around for any special occasions. Birthdays, Christmas, Weddings... You will miss all of these things, and will have to live through photos you see on facebook of everyone you love changing and growing in their lives. Peoples lived will go on, whether you are there or not.

 4,706 miles from home
4. Two years is a long time.
  We obviously knew that two years was a long time, but time surprisingly goes by really fast. however, a lot can happen in two years. We found that during this time we were able to make some really awesome friends. We also learned that you can lose some of these friends. If we had left after one year. We would of just fallen out naturally with these people. 

You feel like your life back 'home' is on hold, but in reality, it's not and has just continued on without you. You will not be able to step back into your old life.

5. You can't get too comfortable where you are staying. 
It's essentially that, you are just staying there. You do not own your place, you can not call it your home and you can not 'make it your own'. It's basically somewhere where you keep your stuff you brought with you temporarily. If you invest time and money into your temporary home it feels like a waste of money since you will have to leave it all behind. It's not cost effective to ship a TV, couch, etc back to your home country so you'll have to donate it or sell it before you leave. Also you might find a job you really like but you won't be able to keep it, no matter how much you love it there.
"Home is wherever I am with you"
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For more on moving abroad, have a look at our posts:

"What We Learned in Our First Year Living Abroad"
"Packing For a Two Year Adventure"

Comments

  1. I have never planned to move to another country. But I am sure these are the things that you will have in mind when moving. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I remember when I moved to USA, it took me almost a year to get started with my new life. First you are excited, then you have to get into to your daily routines and you wonder, is this what it's going to be like. And then you start to miss home. I don't know if that happened to anyone else, but I didn't have a work permit right away or any friends, so it was hard. But after first year things got better and now I consider this my home. :)

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    1. Yeah it definitely took us awhile to adjust and now that we're adjusted our visa is pretty much up.

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  3. Great post! I've moved abroad 3 different times, and each time I definitely experience all of the things that you've mentioned. It becomes an art after a while, doesn't it? :)

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    1. Thanks. Yeah it must get easier the more you do it.

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  4. This is great advice and after living abroad for the last 7 years I can echo the same suggestions!

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  5. Great post! I wasn't prepared to be the attraction and everybody just likes to sit and listen to my accent, me what accent, you guys are the ones with the accent :) I can relate to all of these except the last one since I'm engaged and will be married soon, my new country is my home and everything in it is mine, but somehow it doesn't feel like home and I find myself really missing my house and large yard back in the states!

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    1. Thanks and congratulations. I'm sure you'll get used to your new home. Good luck.

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  6. When we moved from Pittsburgh to Seattle we felt all of these things - down to the accents! However when we decided to travel around Europe for seven months all of this compounded tenfold. We were the local Americans at our pub in Edinburgh. We constantly get asked questions about home when we're just trying to enjoy a dinner out. But I love it, because when people ask me questions that means I can pick their brain and get heaps of great information for whatever city we're staying in!

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    1. Yeah it's fun talking to random people sometimes.

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  7. These are all great points to note. I'd have loved knowing them before I moved to the States so many years ago. I'm hoping to make a change within the next two years and the great thing is all of these points still apply! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I lived in the United Arab Emirates for four years. I did get comfortable there. I could have stayed longer, but my husband was ready to repatriate to the US. I've been back to visit Dubai and will continue to make trips there when I can. My daughter was born in Dubai too.

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    1. Yeah it's pretty hard not to get comfortable but at least you can always visit again.

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  9. These are all great points! I think that the same can be said for people who move cross country. I moved from the east coast to the west, it was still a culture shock!

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  10. What an eye opener! I would love to travel but I guess having a conversation about the timeline is essential. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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    1. Thank you for reading. We definitely recommend travelling!

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  11. Very true statements that sometimes you don´t really think about. I moved to different countries thinking they would feel like home, but they never really did. Even now I have moved permentantly to Spain, and its still taking a lot of time to really ¨build the nest¨

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    1. We loved living in Birmingham. For us it did feel like home, but I am not sure that was being we were together. 'Home' doesn't feel like home to us.

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