Thinking of moving overseas? Here are the advantages and advantages of living in another country that you should consider before making the move.
Moving abroad is not a decision taken lightly. Whether you have a young family or want to start afresh after retirement, there are many things to consider. If you are thinking of moving overseas, this guide will provide help. Here, we look at some of the pros and cons of taking the plunge and moving to another country.
After entering a new year, it comes as little surprise that many individuals will consider the changes that they would like to make in their lives. Perhaps these are things that they have been dreaming of doing for a long time, something they believe might give them better life opportunities or even work opportunities.
If you have been dreaming of living in a different climate, immersing yourself in another culture or bringing up your family in another country where there are great opportunities but haven’t yet taken that final step then this article may help you look at the advantages and disadvantages. Below, let us guide you through the pros and cons of living abroad.
- 1. Pro: The weather
- 2. Pro: Better work-life balance
- 3. Pro: Learn a new language
- 4. Pro: Escape the UK!
- 5. Pro: Embrace a new culture
- 6. Pro: Access to fantastic schools
- 7. Pro: Better housing
- 8. Pro: Better salary
- 9. Pro: Making new friends
- 10. Pro: Carpe Diem!
- 1. Con: Leaving friends and family behind
- 2. Con: Feeling homesick
- 3. Con: Getting a work visa or permit
- 4. Con: The hassle of moving abroad
- 5. Con: Healthcare comes at a cost
- 6. Con: The language barrier
- 7. Con: The cultural faux pas that could offend
- 8. Con: Culture shock
- So should you move to another country?
The Pros of living in another country
1. Pro: The weather
If there is one thing that Brits love to talk about it is the weather and one big pro of living in another country can be the warmer weather. Living in Sydney for example, you will experience hotter and longer summers compared to London, and get to explore new beaches!
Of course, if you love cold weather and plenty of snow then there are also areas of America and Canada that make a great choice of destination as well. There are so many different countries out there to choose from that should be within your grasp.
Countries like Spain and Germany have more leisure time than we do here in the UK. In fact, they have the best work-life balance in the world. These countries’ annual working hours are one of the lowest in the world and top the list for paternity leave.
This is great for helping to improve positive mental health, reducing stress and spending quality time with your family, all important things that can improve quality of life.
3. Pro: Learn a new language
When it comes to learning a new language there really is no better way to do this than to actually immerse yourself fully in that language. This is something that is best done by living in the country where it is spoken. Learning a new language can really improve your skillset and has the potential to open up more career opportunities in the future.
If you have children, living in another country will offer them the chance to grow up bilingual which will give them language skills that could really help them in the future too. This is just one of the many benefits of moving abroad with children.
4. Pro: Escape the UK!
Whether you are tired of the continual rain, or the lack of summer, disillusioned by politics or simply want to escape to a country with a better economy where you might be able to afford your own property rather than renting, then there is always an alternative.
Do some research if you are not sure where you might like to move to. And, do remember that whilst you might like the sun, you may not want to move somewhere that is hot all year round!
5. Pro: Embrace a new culture
The world is a wonderful, diverse place with some truly incredible cultures to learn about. Whether you are looking to move to America with its large influx of immigrants that make it the rich culturally diverse place that it is, or one of the many countries in Europe where you will be able to experience festivals, cuisine and history all year round, this is an incredible opportunity.
Fully immersing yourself in a different culture will change your perceptions of many things you may not have even thought of as changeable before.
6. Pro: Access to fantastic schools
One issue that worries parents with school-age children is the standard of education in the country that they are looking to move to. Australia in particular has an incredibly high standard of education as well as the United States. You will find international schools in most countries offering great standards of education.
Plus, alongside learning the language of the country children are taught in their native tongue, so there is no loss of academic progress. Being immersed in the education system of another country will offer any child fantastic learning experiences that extend far beyond the classroom.
7. Pro: Better housing
Land prices in many other countries, particularly in Europe and America, are much cheaper than here in the UK and this means that not only is housing more affordable but that you can also purchase or rent a bigger space.
This could mean having access to more spacious housing or some of those features that you simply wouldn’t be able to afford in the UK, like a double garage or even a swimming pool. Take a look at some of the properties you can afford to buy in Australia for more inspiration!
8. Pro: Better salary
If you are being moved abroad by a company that you already work for then they may incentivise you by not only paying your costs but also by offering, you a significantly better salary. If you are moving of your own accord, then you will find that many countries offer better salaries than the UK.
9. Pro: Making new friends
It’s true that you don’t actually have to move to another country to make new friends. However, moving is a great opportunity to meet new people and form friendships. One of the benefits of moving with children is, of course, that you will get out there and meet other parents through your children and this can really help you to become a part of your new community.
The friendships that you form could even become part of your global friendship network, potentially helping you make the choice to live abroad for longer than you might have originally intended.
10. Pro: Carpe Diem!
You only live once so if the opportunity to move abroad presents itself to you and it is something that you have been seriously considering then you really should grasp the opportunity with both hands.
If it doesn’t work out, then you could always return to the UK but the opportunities and the adventures that await you are worth taking a chance on. If you don’t take the chance when it presents itself, you may find yourself wondering “what if.” If you do choose to live abroad and it really isn’t for you then you can always move back to the UK or try another country.
What are the cons of living abroad?
Now we’ve extolled some of the benefits of living abroad, you might be all for it. However, we should focus on some cons and disadvantages too – after all, whilst a move abroad works incredibly well for many people, you may come across the following potential issues.
It is normal to worry about missing your friends and family, particularly if you have a very close-knit bond. However, air travel is much more affordable and convenient than ever before and you can be certain that your friends and family would love to come and visit you and be shown an insider view of your new country.
2. Con: Feeling homesick
This is one of the biggest concerns people face when it comes to making the decision to live abroad, and it is the thing that can hit them most as they try to settle into their new life. It is natural to miss the familiar that you have left behind.
This doesn’t mean that you should pack up and return home, though. Homesickness is often the result of missing something or someone. For some people, cooking a dish that reminds them of home can help for others speaking to a loved one is the solution. This is much easier than it once was thanks to things like Skype and other forms of video chat that are now more readily available.
3. Con: Getting a work visa or permit
The biggest obstacle to living in some countries, particularly the United States or Australia is getting the relevant work visa or permit. If you work for a company with offices all over the world then this is obviously a much easier thing to overcome. Likewise, for those who have the right qualifications and transferable skills, there are certainly jobs to be had.
This makes getting that all-important work visa or permits much simpler. Don’t despair if you don’t though. There are some good immigration agencies out there who can help you when it comes to finding work.
4. Con: The hassle of moving abroad
Moving is said to be the third most stressful thing you can do in life, the first two being dealing with the death of a loved one and getting divorced. And, moving abroad is definitely more stressful than moving to another part of the same country. Two big factors make the process of moving abroad more stressful.
The first is how much of your personal effects do you take with you? Is putting your furniture in storage a better option than moving with it? etc. The second is the paperwork that you will need to take your personal belongings and furniture abroad.
Many of these issues can be solved by using a reputable international removal company that has experience in helping people move abroad as they will be able to help you ensure that all the necessary paperwork is completed. You could also take this as an opportunity to have a huge clear-out so that you are not moving or storing things that you really do not need any more.
5. Con: Healthcare comes at a cost
Whilst waiting lists in the UK might be longer than we would like, and getting a GP appointment isn’t always easy, one thing that is a big positive of living here is that thanks to the NHS our healthcare is free.
This can be a huge shock to people choosing to live abroad because in many countries you will need health insurance in order to access healthcare. Fortunately, this is often part of the package that you will be offered by your employer, so do your research carefully.
6. Con: The language barrier
Whilst English is now the most spoken language in the world, spoken by an estimated 1,500 million people according to data for 2022, this doesn’t mean they are all native speakers.
For some, this is a second language which means that whilst you may be able to use English for some basic communications in many countries in the world if you want to live in a country for any length of time you really need to learn the language.
This is something that can take time. However, the good news is that there are some fantastic resources out there to help you and experts suggest that the best way to learn a language is by immersing yourself in it; something which is best done by living in a country where it is spoken.
7. Con: The cultural faux pas that could offend
There are some things that we do here in the UK that can be seen as offensive in another country and the risk of committing a cultural faux pas in your new country can be a worry. Shaking hands in Nepal is simply not the done thing, chewing gum is banned in Singapore, and if you are considering a move to Switzerland remember you should not flush the toilet after 10pm as it is considered noise pollution!
Fortunately, there is plenty of information out there on the types of things that may offend people in your new country, and also what is considered more appropriate, so you can do some research. If you do inadvertently offend someone, just apologise, and explain. By the way, if you were wondering, in Nepal, the traditional greeting is the pressing of both palms together in front of the chest whilst saying “Namaste”.
8. Con: Culture shock
There is a big difference between the feeling of being in a country for a couple of weeks on holiday and moving there on a more permanent basis. When the culture shock of living in a new country kicks in it can be a bit of a struggle to adapt to differences that seemed like a great idea when you visited on holiday.
For example, the long lunch hours in countries like Spain and France may become frustrating. Give yourself time to get used to them and soon they will become a natural part of your new life.
So should you move to another country?
To conclude, there are so many different countries all over the world with so much to offer in the way of adventure and cultural diversity that it isn’t so much a case of “shall I move abroad” but rather “which country shall I move to”.
If you are already considering a move to another country through your current employer, then you will already have employment waiting for you. If this is not the case, then you will probably have been scoping the job market out and have taken those first steps to secure a role that will give you the salary you need to secure a good standard of living and quality of life in the country that you have chosen.
As we have already mentioned there are some negative points to moving to another country, but then there are also negatives to staying where you are, and it is important to weigh these up together with the cons of moving abroad. Is moving abroad worth it? The simple answer is yes, if you are willing to enter the move with an open mind and give it your all then you are sure to see that the positives by far outweigh the negatives.
If you are ready to begin the process of moving all of your personal belongings from the UK to your new home abroad, then we are ready to help you. Whether you want to ship a few boxes or move your entire household, PSS are here to assist you in helping make the start to your new life abroad a little easier.