In a few months, I’ll be moving abroad. Alone. Occasionally I wonder if I made the right decision and sometimes I’m truly afraid to take the leap. I’m not just moving away from my home country, but also from my friends, family and partner.
I’ve moved abroad alone before, to study abroad. However, that was temporary and within the continent. This time, I’ll be moving abroad permanently and overseas. This time there’s no way I could drive or take a short flight back home if I wanted to.
Even though this move is incredibly daunting, I’m convinced that moving abroad alone will be a great experience. Here are the reasons why moving abroad alone is worth it for me.
You’ll meet more people
While being true for any type of move, I’ve found this to be especially important when I was studying abroad. When you’re abroad alone, you are pretty much forced to go out and meet people. One friend who had experience living abroad in several countries, adviced me to not have visitors from home in the first six weeks of my semester abroad. This has turned out to be of the best pieces of advice I have received. The first few weeks at your new university or job abroad are crucial for meeting people and making friends. Having visitors over will interfere with this opportunity and you could miss out on the amazing connections you could make during your time abroad.
When you move abroad with your partner, you tend to go home straightway after work or class instead of spending time with colleagues or classmates. Going to meetups or events where you could meet new people (especially locals!) is just not as interesting when you have a significant other at home. In this way, being a solo expat helps a lot in making new connections.
You can focus on your own goals
Besides visa restrictions and job obligations, you’re the one holding all the cards when you move abroad solo.
This is your chance to tick off all the places off your bucket list. When you’re moving abroad alone, you won’t have to make compromises with your significant other, friends or family. If you are moving abroad for career opportunities, you can now focus on making the steps you wanted to without any distractions you’d have when moving abroad with a partner or friends.
You can immerse yourself into the culture of your new country
When you move abroad with someone from your home country, you will unknowingly keep your old habits and communicate with them in the ways you are used to. When you have no others from the same culture around you, you tend to adapt to the culture of your new country more quickly.
You will also learn new languages way more quickly because there won’t be someone at home speaking the same language as you. You will only have your foreign language skills to depend on, which may be uncomfortable at first, but eventually will be extremely helpful in learning a new language.
You will be pulled out of your comfort zone
Many people are scared to get out of their comfort zone. Most people will travel once or twice a year and return quickly to the comfort of their lives back home with a steady income, a decent house, family to rely on and friendships that have been built since kindergarten. Leaving these comforts is unsettling because we are creatures of habit. This is why many people never take the leap to live abroad. Being scared of losing ‘everything’ is perfectly normal, but it should not stop you from chasing your dreams.
As if it’s not unsettling enough to have your comforts taken away from you, you will probably encounter even more uncomfortable situations once you arrive in your new country. It will be the moment where you realize finding a job with a foreign degree is harder than expected or getting simple things sorted takes a lot longer than you’ve planned for.
However, it’s all part of the experience and you will become more comfortable with things that are extremely uncomfortable or difficult for others. Moving abroad has made me so much more open minded and I’m sure my next adventure will even more do so.
It’s beneficial for your personal development
The experiences you will go through while living abroad – good or bad – will add so much to your personal growth. You will have to rely on yourself and have no comforts from back home. This means you’ll probably have to do things you didn’t even know you could! You will get to know more about the world, but more importantly about yourself.
You will see the world in a different way – because you will be different
Even with a temporary move abroad, you will notice you have changed. You’ll see things you’ve always taken for granted back home as a gift and appreciate life way more, but you’ll miss being abroad as well.
Living abroad is a unique experience that can’t be replaced by any classes or amount of travels.
It will change you as a person – for the better.
The experience of living abroad is worth the sacrifice
If I had the choice, my boyfriend would have moved abroad with me. However, I’ve always wanted to travel solo and now the chance to do so presents itself, albeit it being quite a bit more long-term. Knowing I won’t have the comfort of driving back to my boyfriend when I would like, is daunting.
However, being able to experience the unique opportunity to move abroad and travel around is definitely worth it. The thought of regretting staying in my home country is more intimidating than going on this adventure abroad by myself. And don’t forget, you can always return if you really want to.
Did you move abroad alone? What was the reason you decided (not) to?