Big move, but why?
Good question. Why? Why make the big move abroad? Why uproot yourself and your family? Why take the risk? These are good questions to ask yourself (and your family in case you’re not alone). Needless to say, it’d be best to have a clear answer before the beginning of an expat experience, but better late than never – so even as a seasoned expat it’s never too late or useless to ask these questions. For me it was a mix of career choice and adventure.
Some may say it was an escape from the daily rut, and there may be some truth to that. However, there was an element of necessity as well to our first big move. In my field (astrophysics) most people do several 1-2 year postdoctoral stays after their Ph.D before they can even hope of securing longer-term employment. I applied for and got a 4-year Fellowship with ESO in Chile. Now, getting a contract that will allow you to stay in the same place for four years is very good. That was one attraction. And of course, the job was well paid. The financial benefits were also a factor – there’s no denying it!
Adventure was another factor. Living in a mild climate, close to some of the most breathtaking natural scenery the world has to offer was a huge attraction to me. We had already “rehearsed” the big move by going abroad for shorter stays together, as we wrote about earlier. These had all been very good experiences, so we felt ready for the real big move to a new country and a very different culture.
Big move – big decision
Moving abroad is a big decision. The contemplation can cause significant stress and anxiety, but also excitement and anticipation. We were fortunate to be able to take small incremental steps before finally making the big move. But the most important factor to success is to make it clear why you’ll be moving, knowing honestly what’s motivating you, what’s the big idea behind the big move. Is it financial benefits, adventure, career ambitions, pampered living, or something else? And if you’ll move your family, what’s motivating them to make the big move?
Have you made the big move, or are you considering? What motivated you, and how did you reach your decision? Or: what’s holding you back? Please let us know in the comments below.
— Nana & Thomas