Moving overseas requires a certain state of mind. One that may stretch outside of your normal behaviors and ways of thinking.
The entire experience redefines who you are, who you want to be and what you want to represent in the world. And there’s no way you can allow for such a MAJOR personal change without starting off strong.
So as you’re getting ready to take the leap, ignoring any jitters or negative thoughts, you need to make certain promises to yourself. Otherwise, this life changing adventure will not be everything that it can be. And who wants that?!
7 Promises to Make to Yourself Before Moving Overseas
I will stay confident.
Confidence is what got you here, after all. No matter the reason for your move, you wouldn’t be doing it if you weren’t confident or at least faking it well (which is also 100% acceptable). And that same confidence is what will lead you to success and happiness in a foreign land.
Before our move, we kinda forced our confidence. We had no idea what the road ahead would really look like, but we trusted ourselves and that was all the confidence we needed to move forward. As we continued to check more things off our moving overseas to-do list, that fake confidence turned into real confidence.
We can do this! Why? Because we know that we can.
And now that we are living abroad, we’ve needed to continue practicing that confidence. Whether it means speaking a foreign language to a stranger or doing something serious, like applying for a residence permit. It was, is and will be so important.
When the road is confusing and totally unknown, confidence is key.
I will be open-minded.
When you move to another country, SO much will be unfamiliar. Something as simple as not having a Starbucks around the corner for your morning espresso. Or something major like traditions, relationships and general ways of life. Being open-minded is absolutely and completely necessary to practice.
All the time.
Not only do you have to accept what is different, you need to embrace it too. Learning how and why people think or act a certain way is where the magic happens. At least when it comes to your growth and development. And it also happens to be the very best part of this journey!
When we first moved to Austria there were definite moments where we felt ourselves questioning certain things. Is there really nothing (at all) open on Sundays? What is up with the lack of food variety?? Why can’t I do this? Why do people do that?
But then we stopped ourselves immediately.
Because a new experience without being open-minded is no experience at all.
I will stay committed.
Given that you are doing this, you are clearly committed and plan to follow through. But there is no doubt that at certain points, you’ll start slacking. Before and after moving overseas.
Whether it’s learning a language, finding a place to live, obtaining a visa or residence permit. Finding a job, researching, studying. Never stop. Stay committed and focused. You just have to!
The second you start slacking and failing to correct your habits, your progress ends. This is especially true before you leave. It’s not easy to actually make this happen. And anyone who has lived abroad or is trying to move abroad will tell you that.
But don’t give up. Keep running with blinders on, focusing on the ‘prize’ aka your life in another country and don’t stop until you’ve made it.
For us, this is what turned our dream into an awesome reality.
Before we moved, we stayed up until 2 am every single night, after a 10 hour work day, to focus and make this happen. And after we moved, our commitment did not end.
We had to learn a new language and take a German exam with a month’s notice. We had to figure out how to even stay past 6 months – as we were adjusting to living here! But we stayed committed and we did NOT back down.
That is why we are living in Austria today!
I’ll remain passionate.
Being passionate is pretty easy to maintain during the preliminary stages, when you’re planning your move. The only danger to your passion this early on comes from other people’s thoughts and opinions. But if you simply ignore all the haters and non-believers, your fire will not die.
The real trouble comes when you have to maintain that same passion AFTER moving overseas.
When you’re homesick or having a bad day. Feeling defeated and wondering if you made a terrible decision is unavoidable. It’s in our nature to take a look at the grass on the other side. And sometimes it may even feel greener…
It sounds crazy when you think about it. After all, you’re the one living the dream. But if you’re down and discouraged, passion can easily be replaced with the ‘what-ifs.’
What helped both of us during those tough times was to stop. Walk outside. Look at where we’re living. Go into Salzburg and look up at that castle and smile. Any little reminder of what you’ve achieved and the newfound beauty you’re surrounded by will reignite that passion.
You can do the same when you are living abroad and before moving abroad. Whether it’s staying inspired by your desktop background, looking at that pictures of Italy every time you get something out of the fridge. Or going for walk in your new picturesque and perfect neighborhood, just like we do. Inspiration is easy to find when you’re looking for it.
I will be as patient as possible.
PATIENCE is key. Patience with other people and most importantly, patience with yourself.
When everything is so foreign, sometimes it’s SUPER fun, but other times it’s incredibly frustrating. There’s a lot to handle emotionally and physically when you move abroad. So little things can really test your patience.
Like getting a ticket because you don’t know what a highway vignette is. Or figuring out all the rules of sorting trash and recycling…the hard way. Even just realizing that servers take longer in restaurants, and that’s okay. Instead of getting frustrated, stay patient.
And being patient with yourself is even more important. This is a HUGE step for you. It’s not going to be sunshine and rainbows right away. There will be moments you feel super badass and awesome and other moments where you don’t. But it’s all a part of this journey.
Why can’t I learn the language quicker? Why haven’t I made friends right away? Will I EVER get over being homesick?
Cut yourself a little slack and relax. A change like this takes time to turn into the BEST EXPERIENCE EVER. Despite all the happiness you see on the internet, there are lots of moments that aren’t the most amazing. And a whole lotta internal battles that will test your patience along the way.
If you’re aware, you can prevent the not so great moments from becoming even worse. And all with the magic of patience.
Disclaimer: The reason we say ‘be as patient as possible’ is because sometimes you just can’t prevent being frustrated. Give yourself a little break from time to time. It’s only natural!
I will never forget, I was and AM ready for this.
Through the low points, never forget why you did this in the first place. Like I said, when you are feeling sad or lonely or frustrated or angry, you can easily forget that.
Remind yourself that moving overseas was your choice.
You made this decision, not lightly, but because you were ready. Something sparked your passion and you knew it was the right choice. You realized that your whole life is waiting for you and there’s nothing to do but follow your heart and your dreams. And doing that will lead to you to one exact moment.
A moment where you can breathe a sigh of relief, look at where you are and smile. Honestly and truly, with your whole heart.
Embrace your boldness and know that you are making the right decision. Because in the end, deep down, only you know what’s best for yourself.
Making these promises to yourself will give this adventure the credit it deserves.
Like I said, it has to potential to really and truly change you. For the WAY better. Whether you conquer your insecurities or you are newly humbled by how vast and diverse the world is. It makes you realize that you are in control of your own destiny. You made this happen and it wasn’t easy. But you did it and that can do wonders for the rest of your life.
For both of us, it really did all of the above. I have never felt more confident in the direction of my life and Erin’s learned to slow down, relax and enjoy little moments that might have previously passed him by. That’s a small example of how moving overseas has changed us and our lives.
You are seeing the world through a totally different lens. And that lens gives you the potential to make anything else in your life possible.