In this post I will tell you why it’s a bad idea to move abroad for love and what to do instead.
Move Abroad for International love
It’s so easy to fall in love with a person from across the world these days. You’re traveling, and you spot that cute someone across the beach bar in Bali, you’re volunteering together, or you find each other on an online forum. It’s hardly ever planned but suddenly you find yourself in a long-distance relationship. Pouring your heart out over Skype and spending all your money on plane tickets. You know it can’t go on forever, and sooner or later you are faced with the question of here, there, which one of you is going to leave their old life behind and start afresh in the name of love.
Moving Abroad Tips
Don’t Listen to your Mother
I’ve been there. I met my boyfriend just shy of nine years ago online. I was 17, he was barely 19. I’m Finnish, he’s Dutch. My mother told me to think very carefully if I wanted to fall in love with someone from another country. But, have you ever met a 17-year-old who listened to their parents in the matters of the heart?
Now, especially with the title of this post, you might be thinking that this is one of those cautionary tales of catfishing or that your family paid me to write this post to change your mind about moving. Not the case at all. You should move and be with your loved-one. Just, don’t do it for love alone.
A Rocky Start
Moving abroad is tough, though that’s hardly news. You will be faced with a new culture, a language you may or may not speak, a new place and likely no social network. You will have to figure out how to get a job and your old experience and skills might not be of value in your new country. It’s going to be disheartening and stressful.
You will of course have your local partner by your side, but they probably won’t be as much help as you might think. Do you know how immigration works in your new country? Probably not, and neither does your partner. You will be figuring things out together; you will be stressed out together; and in the worst case if things don’t go smoothly – and they usually don’t – you will start resenting the love that brought you into this complicated expat situation. Your partner will feel at home already, they will have their social network, their job, their hobbies, while you don’t have any of that yet.
Google-Translate and Expat Blogs
Me, I moved to the Netherlandsafter five years of long-distance relationship, but the decision was made a year before I actually moved. I found myself a study program, started brushing up my Dutch skills and immersed myself in online research (also known as expat blogs) on what the new experience would be like. I Google-Translated a dozen government websites when my own language skills failed and sorted out all the necessary paperwork in advance.
And, when I finally arrived, I spent the summer before my studies started taking every single chance I got to meet new people. Expats, international students, friends of friends, online and offline. It took time and energy – even for an extrovert like myself – but I did eventually find my people. Everything else, job, studies, language, paperwork, is made so much easier when you have your support group. Whether it’s just meeting up for drinks, or getting help when you need it, a social network of your own will make you feel more at home in your new country.
Do it for Yourself
So, for the sake of your relationship, don’t move abroad for love. Move abroad because you want to. It will still be tough, but this way you are in charge of your own happiness and not leaving it up to your partner.
And, if you already made the plunge and now find yourself in the situation I described above, you can still fix it. Get out of the house, find your own people, and make the most of this amazing opportunity to build a life in a new country.
Did you move abroad for love? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments, or feel free to send me a message.