Exercise Your Right to Search for Love Abroad
Traveling for your love
It might sound like the ending of a Hollywood film, but moving overseas to be with your significant other can be an isolating and distressing experience. Cutting ties with your home country, packing up your life and readjusting to a new culture, language and city are all gargantuan tasks. Often the true impact of your decision only hits after you move, when the excitement wears off and you’re left to decide what to do next. Here’s some advice to help you prepare and cope.
It’s easy to tell yourself that everything will fall into place when you arrive in your new country, but the only way to secure a smooth move is to plan for every eventuality before you leave. So, sit down and make a list of all your real worries and concerns and all the things you’re going to need and miss when you move. It might sound pessimistic, but the trick to surviving a life-changing experience like this is to be honest with yourself and your partner.
Next step: if you are determined to go with your lady single, you should speak the language of your destination country. If you don’t speak the language, get lessons. There’s nothing more isolating than not being able to understand the people around you. Get your head around the healthcare system next. You may meet several obstacles. What are your rights as a non-citizen? Are you immediately entitled to citizenship or do you need to apply for permanent residency? You should also consider arranging your international drivers’ license before you leave. Maybe in your home country you may do it online.
The best advice I can give people who live abroad is don’t go cold turkey. The first year is the hardest. Even if you are a pretty beautiful woman. It can be incredibly reassuring to have an idea of when you’ll see your family, friends and home country again. Whether it be a month, six months or a year down the road, make a plan and stick to it. It will give you something to look forward to and make the adjustment period easier to handle.
Keep an open dialogue with your partner. They need to understand your frame of mind if they’re going to be able to support you. At the same time, try to regain the same level of independence you had in your home country. It’s easy to begrudge your partner because they seem so comfortable. It’s one of the things that set expat couples and people who move for love apart. Expat couples struggle and adapt together, while a person who moves abroad for love can feel alone. It’s likely your partner doesn’t know what it’s like to adapt to a new country. You need to speak up and not put on a brave face.
It’s inevitable that those cultural quirks that once seemed cute will become annoying. In my case, there was only so much pasta I could eat before I started to miss the taste of home. A couple of cookbooks and some Australian-themed dinners helped ease the ache. But the only way to avoid culture shock is to understand and accept the values and preferences of each other.