Are You Ready to Live Abroad?
The beautiful souls are they that are universal, open, and ready for all things.
Michel de Montaigne
Vacations are nice but a long-term adventure overseas—or even retiring abroad—can be an amazing experience. For some. Not all.
Major corporations and diplomatic groups have long known that not everyone is cut out for export so they often hire relocation specialists to assess and prepare their potential expats. Many of the issues involve the individual's ability to accept different lifestyles and, yes, even have the equanimity to handle the inevitable misunderstandings and mistakes they might encounter in another culture.
If you wonder how you’d adapt to months or years overseas, consider some of the issues before packing it all in. The quiz below is an informal and simplified version of factors that international relocation firms review to determine an individual’s ability to adapt outside their home country. Virtually no one gets a perfect score but knowing where you are uncomfortable can help you plan for success before leaving home!
A Pre-Test for Expat Success
Are you interested in learning more about other cultures?
Are you willing to learn a new language?
Are you interested in meeting new people and learning about them?
Are you adaptable when it comes to finding new interests and activities?
Do you have confidence in your ability to adapt to a different culture?
Are you able to handle stress?
Do you have a good sense of humor? (Not joke-wise, but finding fun in sticky situations)
Are you in good health?
Are you comfortable in managing health care overseas?
Are you accepting of other people’s values and beliefs?
Are you willing to adapt to new conditions in climate, housing and customs?
If married, does your spouse also look forward to the adventure?
Are you and your spouse able to communicate well?
Are you patient?
Do you enjoy trying new food and drink?
Do you have a sense of adventure?
Are you able to move overseas at this point in life/career?
Can you manage to do so within your budget?
If you answered all 'yes' then you may already be living abroad! If most answers were 'yes,' but not all, review the ‘no’s for deal-breakers or those you could adjust. (Example: If you’re not willing to learn a new language, would you choose an English-speaking country or one with many multi-lingual speakers?)
If you answered “no” to all, you may want to stick to short vacations.
Extract adapted from The Grown-Up’s Guide to Running Away from Home