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3 Truths You Should Know About Before Moving Abroad

Moving to live and work in a foreign country will inevitably throw a lot of new experiences at you. The cultural surprises, as well as the financial ones, are many; coming to terms with them is a part of learning to integrate, finding yourself in their culture, as well as contributing to the society you’re living in – but why does it have to be so hard?

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A few expats have shared their experiences of moving abroad across the web, some of them more serious than others, to make your transition as problem-free as possible. It’s a balancing act of appreciating your home country with all its quirks, as well as learning to adapt to your new country of residence – and here is how you can do it.

#1 Housing should be your first priority

Finding a secure and comfortable place to live in seems easy enough, right? It’s about having a roof over your head a place to call your own – which is as basic as it gets. When something sounds exceptionally basic and easy to come by, it’s usually because we’re used to having it; you don’t normally realize how much you depend on something until it’s gone.

Sure, you feel secure and comfortable now, sitting at home and planning your move abroad – so make sure you have the same feeling of security as soon as you land.

To locate the kind of neighborhood you’d like to live in, get in touch with real estate agents, and find ways to finance your accommodation is not at all as easy as you may think. And with each passing night in that hotel, hostel, or couch, the situation gets more desperate.

Do yourself a massive favor and take care of this before you even book a plane ticket. Although you’re not able to view the flat or walk around in the area to feel its vibes, you’ll be better off by renting something short-term before moving on to something more permanent. Use real estate sites, such as, to check out the prices of different areas and have a chat with an agent for some professional advice.

#2 New friends are hard to come by

The problem with moving to a foreign country is that you know very few people or absolutely no one. To some, this is a good thing; unexplored territory means new opportunities and life-changing encounters. To build the kind of network and robust friendships you had back home will take some time, though, and although you’re able to meet an befriend people after awhile, it will be long before you see them as your closest friends.

It’s good to know this before moving to a new country so that you’re, first of all, mentally prepared to be a bit lonely – as well as confident enough to put yourself out there. The country you lived and grew up in made it easy to make friends as you met them by coincidence – such as at school, in your neighborhood, or during after-school activities.

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Now that we’re all grown up, we tend to seek out new friends less, and maintain our established friendships instead. This advice has two sides to it; to prevent loneliness, you need to put yourself out there and find places to meet people, such as online or through organized events – but you also need to maintain your current friendships.

It’s too easy to lose contact with those back home and rely on the couple of times per year you manage to meet. Needless to say, this isn’t enough, and it’s essential that you value your friendships while also managing to seek out new ones.

It seems like a fine balancing act, which it also is in a sense, but your ability to cope with your new surroundings will often depend on having a solid foundation. When you find yourself quite alone in a foreign country, with no shoulder to lean on, you’ll be happy for the love and support of your network back home.

#3 You’ll come to value the products you love

When you have sorted out this whole housing situation, found yourself some locals to befriend, and had a chat with your loved ones back home, it’s time to focus on the trivial stuff. Bread, for example, and cheese are the kind of products a lot of American expats admit to missing more than anything – perhaps besides from their families, that is.

Before you leave for the airport, it’s a good idea to have a chat with those who have moved over before you or just rely on pure observation by Googling a bit, to find out what products your new home may lack. Some people swear by baking their own bread to avoid the dismal alternatives in the grocery shops – others attempt to smuggle amounts of cheese in order to feed their sandwich habits abroad.

In many cases, you’ll discover this after just a short month in your new home. Make a note of it and try to bring as much as possible back with you, making sure to check the regulations in your new country of residence – believe me, it would be a shame to have all that cheese confiscated at the airport. Have a look at for some more products you may or may not dream about every night abroad.

By the time you have lived in your new home for a month or two, you’ll probably have a lot of new experiences and words of wisdom to share with others as well – and it’s impossible to prepare for everything.

When you have strong ties back home cheering you on and a positive attitude, in general, it will suddenly feel a bit easier to appreciate it, integrate, and learn to love this new culture.