4 Things About Moving Abroad That Might Be a Surprise

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It’s a right of passage for plenty of young people who like working with kids – a year abroad teaching English, a season working in a ski resort crèche, a summer filling nanny jobs overseas with multilingual versions of Rock, Scissors, Paper.

But there are a few things that often come as a surprise to newly fledged folks hitting foreign shores, so here are just four of them, straight from the horses mouth!

1. Homesickness can happen to anyone

The ruiner of all first weeks in a new country, homesickness is one of those bizarre and often unexpected side effects to moving abroad. For folks heading out alone, it can be the barrier that turns them back. For those starting nannying jobs abroad or another job with a strong support network, it can be overcome with time, patience and a bit of chatting about the stuff back home that wasn’t so great.

2. Culture shock is completely normal and WILL GO AWAY!

It’s natural to be wary of different environments. Think of culture shock as a person’s slowed down fight or flight instinct – fight on and deal with the new environment or fly home and find some sand for their head?

Old habits really do die hard, and a lot of the effects of culture shock can be handled by simply implementing new habits – finding a nice supermarket, chatting to other ex-pats, buying a mobile phone, figuring out public transport, etc.


3. No-one can predict the stuff they’ll miss from home (or the stuff they’ll learn in their borrowed country!)       

The cycle of the traffic lights, design of the road signs, TV ads, biscuit packaging – absolutely anything about home can suddenly become raised to glorious heights when compared with their new temporary home. Patriots are born and other ex-pats become soul mates!

The best thing about this is that it works both ways – no one can predict what someone heading out for one of their first child care jobs abroad will adore about their borrowed land.

4. Normal things become amazing!   

By far the best part of moving to another country is the experiencing of new things. It’s fabulous. Going to the supermarket for the first time – it’s like Narnia! So many strange choices! So much thrilling unfamiliarity!

This is an especially exciting process for someone moving to a country with a different alphabet – Russia, Japan, Korea, etc. Is that a hairdressers or a wig shop? Is this a sponge or a packet of tofu? All the things that are possibly terrifying at the beginning will become immeasurably exciting given a little time.

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