common fears of moving abroad

5 Common Fears of Moving Abroad (and How to Overcome)

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What are the common problems of moving to another country? How do I overcome the fear of moving abroad? How do you mentally prepare for moving abroad? 

These are all questions I’ve asked myself and have been wrestling with over the past year. Our family is getting closer to our move date and things are beginning to feel more real. We’re starting to donate/sell old clothes, and I’m looking at our furniture and mentally planning out prices. I feel ready and crazy excited, but underneath the new adventure lies my fears and anxiety of what’s to come. So what are some common fears of moving to another country?

1. Loneliness/Homesickness

One of the biggest fears of moving abroad is being lonely—that horrible period of time when you miss your family, friends, and everything familiar, and when you cry and regret ever moving in the first place. It’s going to happen, guaranteed. The first year will NOT be comfortable and you’ll feel sad and alone. When you leave your core group of people who love you it’s devastating, no ifs, and, or buts about it.

Fears of Moving Abroad

Advice: Get yourself out there. Sign up for a book club, visit a local church, knock on your neighbors doors with a tray of cookies (yes I’m serious!), go on Facebook and look for groups in your new neighborhood who have similar interests and then meet up! I’m a mom of three young kids so I’ll be hitting up all the mommy and me classes, and setting up tons of playdates with my kids’ school friends so I can meet the parents. Getting involved is essential to settling in, and developing new friendships! Before you know it, you won’t believe how you lived without these new people in your life. Loneliness just takes time to overcome.

2. Finances

Money, money, money! The world runs on money. It’s sad but true. If you want to move to a new country it’s going to take some cash. You’ll stress over finding a new job, making enough money, learning the new currency, buying a house, buying a new car, not to mention the money it takes to fly over including all your stuff! It’s anxiety inducing for the most mentally stable of us. 

Advice: First take a breath (In and out). Okay, now remember that things take time. You won’t solve all the problems, but you can be prepared. Make a list of all your tasks and solve them one at a time. Once you get a job, make a budget and look for a place to live. One task at time, and remember that everyone deals with financial struggles—you’re not alone but you can make it work! 

3. Immigration 

It’s difficult (excruciating at times) to secure a visa, passport, or green card. If you’ve done any research about moving abroad then you know what a headache it is to even begin the process of moving abroad. 

Advice: Use the Internet to your advantage. Find a Facebook group of people who are also trying to move to your desired country. My Moving to Ireland Facebook group has been invaluable. They have so much practical advice, as well as camaraderie because everyone is going through the same things! 

4. Cultural differences 

This is a BIG fear for those of us moving to a new country. I think most of my fears of moving to Ireland are about the cultural differences. Everything that is easy and second nature in our home country is now going to be new and complicated: 

  • Driving: It will probably be on the other side of the road…YIKES!
  • Road signs: Do you know what Bóthar Dúnta means?
  • Opening a bank account
  • Finding somewhere to live
  • Sending your kids to school: How do you even enroll??
  • Humor: Ever been in a room where everyone is laughing at something but you’ve no idea what’s funny? Welcome to your new life. 
  • Grocery shopping: Where to go, what brands to buy, and how much is reasonable for rolls of toilet paper…
  • Food: Don’t worry, a battered sausage is actually delicious. 

Advice: BE FLEXIBLE. You’re going to look like a fool at some point. Embrace it, and go with the flow. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from the locals, and really listen to them—they know a lot more than you. 

5. Weather

This one might seem strange but you are going to live in a new country and you might have visited for a short period of time, but living there is going to be a totally different experience. We’re moving to Ireland so I’m trying to mentally prepare for rain! You’ll need to figure out what clothes you will need in your new environment so you can adapt quickly! 

Advice: Look up what the common weather patterns are for your new home abroad and try to imagine it, just prepare yourself for the newness of it all. Buy a new wardrobe when you arrive and try to assimilate! If you’re moving to Europe just remember that it is NEVER okay to wear socks with sandals, or brown and black at the same time. Also, don’t wear sweatpants in public (YIKES just don’t do it).

Wherever you’re moving it’s going to be tough. My husband and I talk about preparing ourselves for discomfort, tears, anxiety, and regret. No pain, no gain. It’s going to be stressful, but it’s going to be worth it. 

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Bonnie Curzio
Bonnie Curzio
1 year ago

Your proactive thinking and planning are amazing! Thanks for sharing your journey with us before you have even left. I?m inspired by your courage, determination, and resolve to succeed.

1 year ago

Great post and tips! I have never moved abroad but I have moved 4000km across country to a new province for a fresh start. (I’m Canadian) I can relate to this article especially the homesickness/loneliness and weather. It can be incredibly isolating especially if you move away alone. I had a huge problem with making friends and meaningful connections in my new city and found it very hard. I will definitely use these tips in the future if I choose to move again! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

Gina Abernathy
1 year ago

Moving is on a lot of minds at this moment. Thanks for the tips.

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