Moving to another country: get ready to be surprised – Part 2


by Nataliya Semenova

Two years I was offered an interesting job opportunity abroad. I decided to go for it, thus I relocated from Moscow to Amsterdam.

It turned my world upside down!

Changing the place of living (even if you move from one apartment to another in the same town) and changing jobs are on top of the scale among the most stressful events in one’s life. Even when all these changes are positive and are for the best, you go through a lot of stress. I know this is normal but nevertheless it is a good reminder during difficult times.

In part one of my article I focused on the practical sides of moving to a new country. Now I will take you through the emotional challenges you might face on your exciting journey:

  1. You will be out of your comfort zone, especially in the beginning almost 24/7. It depends very much on whether you move with your family/partner or not; whether you have friends in the new country/town and your personality (are you more introverted or extraverted?) how long this period may last;
  2. From time to time you may feel lonely. Even if you moved together with your family or partner, you still moved away from a familiar environment, from your friends, relatives and colleagues. You will need to build new relationships and in the same time not lose the valuable people who stayed in your home country. In a contemporary world Internet is a great support (with all video and audio messengers), so let`s use it for the best of our lives!:)
  3. You will need to socialize. You may feel a bit like you’re back in school or summer camp. You are new here and you need to find friends. Usually if you already have a job it is easier to start socialization from there. For sure colleagues will invite you for lunch or coffee, otherwise you can take the initiative yourself. The rule here is just be polite and open minded – you are an expat and you are interested in meeting new people and to learn more about the country and its people.

Also, once again, thank God there is Internet in this world! Usually you would easily find various expat resources for your various needs:) Check it, visit a few meetings and you will find out what works for you. Don’t expect quick results. If you just want to have some fun and joy, you will for sure find the company for a chat or a drink. If you are eager to find new friends – it will take time. Actually same as building any human relationships everywhereJ

Don`t forget about your hobbies – this is one of the easiest ways to find new buddies.

The biggest mistakes you can – and will – make is judging and stereotyping. You will do it a lot, especially in the very beginning: “they are all too… and not enough…, “they will never understand me in…’’.

Believe me, “they” may also have a lot of stereotypes and clichés about you and/or your country.

Be open minded, appreciate differences and you will find out that the world is never black or white, that it is full of colors and nuances and everything depends from which angle you are looking at things. if you manage to do so, you will develop the ability to admire simple things and to value moments.

Moving abroad – I cannot imagine a better way to accelerate self-development and self-awareness.

It definitely worked for me. I think I became more flexible both in life and work. I value there are other ways of doing and being than just my way. I also believe that now I am more aware of who I am and how I would like to see my life journey evolving. And this is what I would consider the most precious outcome you can ever get!


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