A Huge Change: My Experience of Moving to Another Country

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Moving to a new country every two years

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Moving to another country is a thrilling and life-changing experience!

It opens up a whole new world of opportunities, challenges, and personal growth.

As someone who has taken the leap and embarked on this journey of relocating abroad, I can confidently say that it has been one of the most epic experiences of my life (and it still is today!).

In this article, I will share my experience of moving to different places and countries, the ups and downs, an unexpected con, the lessons learned, and how it has shaped me into the person I am today.

This will help you to know what to expect and perhaps get you even more excited to take the big step.

So, if you’re considering taking the leap into a new adventure, buckle up and get ready!

Table of Contents

My Experience Of Moving To Another Country: Why I decided to move 

Moving to another country is a huge decision that can bring about countless opportunities and experiences. In all honestly I didn’t have to think long about this decision.

My wife and I agreed within a few seconds that this is what we want; to experience the adventure of living in another country.

But still is was a culmination of personal motivations and aspirations.

In this introduction, I will outline the reasons why I have chosen to embark on this incredible journey and seek a new life in a foreign country.

Firstly, one of the main reasons for myself behind my decision to move to another country is the pursuit of a different life. My life wasn’t bad or anything, not at all, I just wanted something different.

Moving to another country was something I had always dreamed of, and there were several main reasons why I wanted to embark on this adventure.

Secondly, the chance to move abroad was truly once in a lifetime. It was an opportunity that I knew I couldn’t let go by. It was a way to challenge myself and grow as an individual. As they say, yolo! (do people still say that?) but you do only live once, and I wanted to make the most of every moment by exploring a new world. 

Lastly, I wanted to immerse myself in different cultures. I wanted to learn from diverse perspectives, understand different ways of life, and appreciate the beauty of cultural differences. It was an incredible opportunity to not only expand my knowledge but also foster a deeper sense of empathy and understanding for others.

Living abroad was my dream and an irresistible pull towards a life filled with endless possibilities. It was a chance to live life to the fullest and create memories I could ever in my home country. 

Reasons to relocate in short

  1. Just wanting a different life
  2. A once in a lifetime chance
  3. Yolo! You only live once!
  4. Experiencing new cultures

"From 13 years old I've been interested in making electronic music. From 18 years old I was a DJ until now basically which is almost 20 years!

One of the main reasons I wanted to become a DJ was because it was the perfect combination of working with music and traveling. Fast forward, years later after 500 shows all around the world I realised that eventho I was traveling a lot I still couldn't experience new places and cultures to the fullest.

There was never enough time. Sometimes I was able to plan an extra day. But what is one day to see an entire city? Hence, I wanted to travel more and stay longer in a foreign location."

Research and Planning: How I prepared for my new life in a new place

Research and planning are important for any successful move. When my wife and I decided to relocate, I knew I had to be prepared and organized to ensure a smooth transition. One of the first things I had to arrange was of course, a visa! We had two months time to arrange everything. After one week we found out that if I wanted to come along with my wife (who got a work visa) we had to get married. Sure, why not! Let’s do it.

Next, I created a moving checklist. I listed all the necessary tasks such as changing addresses, packing belongings and how to find a house there. Breaking down these tasks into smaller, manageable steps helped me stay focused. Additionally, I reached out to friends, family, and online for advice and recommendations. 

In the end we just packed our bags, booked a hotel for 2 weeks, and that’s it! 

Read what it is like to live in China as an expat

Shopping street shanghai french concession 5 movingjack 768x618 copyright moving jack • my experience of moving to another country

Finding a Place to Live: The process of finding a house

Finding a place to live may seem difficult, but with the right mindset and resources, it can become quite and exciting adventure. 

How to find a house really depends on the country you are going to. In our case when we moved to China, I knew WeChat is used for everything. So online I found several agents and added them on WeChat.  

But house hunting is more than just searching for four walls and a roof; it’s about finding a place that will truly feel like your home.

This is especially important when your abroad! You’re in a completely unknown country far away from home.

So to avoid homesickness it is important to find the right place where you will feel at home. This led us to the decision of spending a bit more than initially planned. But it was worth it.

It’s just so important to feel at home when friends and family are not around. It was a new chapter in our lives, a fresh start filled with endless possibilities. 

When we relocated from China to Erbil we had the choice of living closer to the city center in a smaller apartment with restaurants and coffee shops around, or to live a bit further away from the city center in a house with a garden but with less things to do in the neighbourhood.

We choses the bigger house and live further from the city center. The air is much better there and having a garden provides just more freedom.

Tip: Go with your gut feeling. Its nice to have restaurants around but if it doesn’t feel right then don’t do it.

Dealing with Homesickness: Coping strategies for missing family and friends

When you start your life in a new country you can experience home sickness. Especially after the first few months of being away from home your right between the feeling of being far from home and being in a foreign country where you are not feeling at home quite yet.

But I knew I made the right decision. Adjusting to a new environment can be tough, but there are things to do that help you deal with homesickness and make the most out of your experience.

Firstly, make an effort to stay connected with your loved ones. Schedule regular video calls or create group chats to deal with the distance. Taking part in local activities and making new friends can also help ease homesickness.

I just went to the park in China with my basketball and joined a group. People are super welcoming when they see a foreign face.

Also, remember to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Eat well, exercise regularly, and find healthy outlets for your emotions such as journaling or talking to a counselor.

Believe in yourself and your ability to handle change, for homesickness is just a temporary bump in the road on your exciting journey of growth and transformation. 

In my experience after that certain bump of a few months you will see the beauty of the new country you are living in.

You will start to appreciate all those odd habits of people in the city.

You’ll start to find your way in town, with apps, people, perhaps an expat community, which makes everything just so much more pleasant.

What also can help is to bring along some of your favorite food from your home country so you can make your favorite dish! This will help to make you feel like home.

Dealing with homesickness In Short

  1. Schedule video calls with friends and family back home
  2. Meet people, socialize and make friends
  3. Bring your favorite food or spices from your country

Overcoming Challenges in a Different Country: Dealing with language barriers and cultural differences

Embrace the opportunity to pick up a new language when you move to a different country! It is a crucial step in fully immersing yourself in the local culture. When I made the exciting leap to China, I had zero knowledge of Mandarin.

However, I enrolled in language lessons and dove headfirst into learning. The best way to learn a new language is to just do it! Try sentences at a store, bar or cafe and local folks will appreciate it and help you to explain how to say things in their language.

The way I dealt with cultural differences was just to be flexible. For example, in The Netherlands, everyone is very strict about time. If you hav an appointment at 2 pm., you’re there at 2 pm, or preferably 5 minutes before. In many other countries folks can just come an hour later without any notice.

This also happened in China. Being flexible and to let go of some of my Dutch habits helped me to adjust to the new ways of living.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is the way to go.

Social Network in a new country: New connections, socialize and making friends

One of the most remarkable things I’ve learned when I started my new life abroad, was the welcoming vibe of other expats. What I mean by that is that those people who also took the same jump of moving to a different country are very likeminded people.

When I met some expats they immediately helped me with which apps to use, how to order food, get a taxi, what the best locations is for this and that and so on. This is something that you would never experience in your home country. It made things more easy and I made friends very quick.

In most countries there is an expat community that are open and super welcoming to new faces. On a regular basis in China the expat community held a pub-quiz. Normally in my country I wouldn’t go to a pub-quiz… But here, sure why not!

After the first pub-quiz I already made new friends. Something as simple as a pub-quiz can really help with finding friends.

Memorable moments and unexpected experiences

Moving to a strange new country can, or perhaps will, give some unexpected experiences. During this life-changing experience there will be bumps on the road.

But, because of all these bumps you will learn so much. Things you would have never learned in your home country!

I could write an entire book about unexpected surprises so I’ll just sum some of them up here:

  • When I took language classes the owner of the school invited my wife and I and all my friends for a big dinner in Beijing.
  • Me and my wife were invited to a Chinese wedding.
  • I got to know a Chinese guy who lived 10 minutes from our home in Beijing. After we met we saw each other almost every day to hang out.
  • The freedom of making money. I was able to perform in clubs, produce some music, have a job and so on. Much more freedom than in Europe where most of the time you’re stuck at on job.
  • I met several Chinese millionaires that told me the craziest stories.
  • Another thing I didn’t expect was that I actually miss living in China.
  • The beautiful mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan, crazy!

Read what it is like to live abroad in Erbil

Erbil citadel kurdistan middle east architecture building kurdish culture travel things to do citadel 142 copyright moving jack • my experience of moving to another country

Tips for Anyone Thinking of Starting a new life abroad

All I can say is that if you ever get the chance, or if there is just a slight opportunity you can take then do it.

If there isn’t, that try to create an opportunity. Share the idea of moving to a certain country to as many people as you can and there is always someone that knows a guy who knows a guy. Sharing your idea with others really helps with arranging your adventure.

Someone might have a relative where you can stay or someone might know about a job at certain company, who knows.

Before starting your journey, it is important to check if your bank allows you to keep your bank account while living abroad. In my case, when my bank found out, I got an e-mail saying they thought I was living in China, which is outside of the EU and they would cancel my account in 30 days! How crazy is that.

Another tip I can give is if you don’t speak the language yet, find someone that can and that your trust. When you’re moving abroad you’ll have to sign a housing contract for example.

What we did was make pictures of the contract and sent it to that friend who could read it and checked the contract for any odd things. Also, if you don’t know how to ask someone anything important you can call that friend and let him explain it on the phone. This really helps in the first few months.

Consumer affairs wrote a handy checklist as well.

Check out my personal moving to another country checklist.

Tips for relocating in short:

  1. Check the specifications of your bank account if your allowed to keep it while living abroad
  2. Find a friend who can read and speak the language that you can call
  3. just do it!

An unexpected con of living abroad

Now that I’ve lived several years abroad a thing that I didn’t expect is that whenever I tell about things I’ve experienced abroad, people in my own country don’t quite understand it.

I could tell enthusiastically about the craziest thing that happened but it just wouldn’t resonate with them. Because they’ve never been there it is just too far away from them to comprehend it.

When I chatted with other people that did live abroad I could tell that they did understand it because they experienced similar things. This kind of made me feel less connected with my home country.

I never expected this to happen. I expected people in my home country to really wanted to hear what I’ve experienced but most of the time it just didn’t resonate with them.

Reflecting on my experience moving to a new country

Moving to a new country has been one of the most epic experiences of my life. I have become more adaptable, resilient, and open-minded. I have learned to embrace change and uncertainty, knowing that they are the catalysts for growth.

Stepping into a foreign land has forced me to confront some fears, break down barriers, and build many new connections. I have had to learn how to find my way in unfamiliar territory without speaking the language, and adapt to different social norms.

These challenges have taught me patience, perseverance, and problem-solving skills that I can apply to any aspect of my life. Moreover, my experiences in a new country have given me a deeper appreciation for diversity and the richness it brings to our lives!

I have come to realize that the world is much bigger than the small box, (my music studio), I inhabited before. I am grateful for every step I have taken and every person I have met on this incredible journey. 

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F.A.Q. Moving to Another country

There were many reasons that led to my decision to move abroad. I wanted to experience a new culture and language, explore new and exciting opportunities, and challenge myself to adapt to a different way of life. My wife got a job offering in China and we decided to go for it.

The most challenging part of moving away was finding my way in a new town. My wife had a job, but I had to start from scratch.

Adapting to a new city took time, but I found it helpful to join local groups and just go to any social event.

Yes, there were moments of culture shock, especially in the beginning when I arrived in China. Everything from the, sometimes strange, food, customs, and even the way people interacted was different.

Plus, there aren’t many foreigners in China so being the only European sometimes in an airport or station was odd.

Yes, there were times when I felt homesick. But it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Especially after the first few months it became more easy when I made more friends.

The most rewarding part of expat life is the opportunity to enrich my life with new experiences and perspectives. Living in a different country has broadened my horizons and helped me grow personally.

Dealing with the time difference required some adjustment! In China it was 7 hours later than back home. I didn’t realize that the time difference would make scheduling video calls more difficult. 

Yes, when I moved to a different country, I had to open a new bank account. It was important to have a local bank account for daily transactions and to manage my finances effectively. Luckily we were able to arrange it very quick.

A funny things that happened when we were opening a bank account was when I had to fill in a form. The form asked about my occupation but there wasn’t any option of self-employed, or perhaps DJ.  The closest alternative available was the term “celebrity,” so that’s what I enthusiastically filled in!

A man standing on top of a sand dune with his arms outstretched.

About the author

Chris Oberman is the founder and author of Moving Jack and has been traveling the world for over 20 years to 40+ countries.

He lives in a different country every two years which allows him to gain unique in-depth insights and experiences in new places abroad.

Quoted on Gritdaily.com, NRC Newspaper, Vice,and Feedspot.

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