Surviving Your First Move Abroad

Moving abroad can fill you with many emotions. You might feel excited, sad and worried all at the same time. These are all completely normal feelings. I felt all of these emotions when I moved to Taiwan back in June of 2015. If you keep reading, I’ll give you some handy tips for your first move abroad. This move is an important step in your life! Let’s make it as easy as possible!

Messaging Apps

Depending on where you are moving, there might be a certain messaging app that is popular. For example, in Taiwan, Line, is the most popular. But in China and Germany, it’s WeChat. Have all your friends and family at home download the app used in the country you are moving to. Another plus is that these apps are usually free! With these apps, you bypass any international texting or calling fees that are likely to come up. If you and any family members have iPhones, FaceTime and iMessage should still work overseas. I’ve only had a few instances where iMessage didn’t go through, but it was probably due to a bad connection. So find those messaging apps and stay connected.


Find a Hobby

Once you settle into your new routine abroad, try and find a hobby. Maybe you already know what you want to continue doing from home, but if you don’t, it’s always great to try something new. When I first moved to Taiwan, I didn’t have a hobby, and I definitely felt lost. All I did was go to work, and go straight home. In June of 2016, I finally found one of my greatest passions, CrossFit. Finding a hobby gives you something fun to do, but also let’s you meet many amazing people! Sooner than later, you will start networking and finding lifelong friends. It’s truly an amazing thing. So get out there!


Meet People

This goes hand in hand with the previous one of finding a hobby. Meeting new people allows you to feel like you fit in, gives you a support system away from home and makes you feel included. These are all critical things that everyone needs to stay sane. When you meet people you can relate to and build friendships, you won’t feel alone and helpless. It’s great to find “foreigners” to hang with as they might have similar interests and think like you do. When I met my friend Anna, who is also from WI, we had plenty to talk about. We had a similar background because we are from the same state and our situation in Taiwan is similar (marrying a Taiwanese man). A lot of times, people create Facebook groups you can join for meeting people in your area. It’s also great to befriend locals because then you can immerse yourself in the culture and really see why things are the way they are.


Learn the Language

Learning the language of your new home is crucial! I was lucky and had a head start on my second language, Chinese. I had two years of it in college, plus my husband is a native Chinese speaker. Many people will take language classes a couple times a week or find a language buddy to practice with when they arrive. The longer you are in the foreign country, the more you will pick up. It just takes time, but being determined and driven really helps the language learning process. Also, the biggest thing to remember is that it’s OK to make mistakes. This is something I’ve had to learn and overcome. Getting over your self-pride might be hard, but is something that needs to be done to fully learn the new language.


I hope that your move abroad will be a smooth and easy process. Just follow my tips above, and you will be on your way to a beautiful life abroad. Enjoy it!


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