Are you thinking about leaving Germany for a longer time, perhaps even forever? Such a decision is not taken easily and it sometimes even grows over a period of time.
In the following, I have 10 questions for you which shall help you to make your decision. Go through them thoroughly and find out whether you bring the basic requirements and whether you are made for moving abroad.
1) WHY DO YOU WANT TO MOVE ABROAD?
First of all, you should ask yourself why you want to move abroad in the first place.
For example, do you have wanderlust and want to get to know more of the world, have you fallen in love with a country during a holiday, do you have the opportunity to go to another country for a job, do you personally want to start again from scratch, or does the love make you move abroad?
Think carefully about the reasons behind your thought and whether it is a well-considered thought, or perhaps just a “mood”. Moving abroad is a far-reaching decision and should therefore be well-conceived.
2) DO YOU FULFILL THE VISA REQUIREMENTS?
Of course, there is usually a way to fulfil your dreams, but still you should approach your adventure realistically. Therefore inform yourself about the visa options of your home of choice. Australia, in particular, is very strict with its visa options. So check your chances in advance and which preparations would have to be made.
3) WHAT JOB OPPORTUNITIES DO YOU HAVE?
Most of us need a job to make a living. Therefore, clarify what the job opportunities and the salary structure in your country of choice look like for your profession. You should also clarify for yourself whether you will move already with a job, or whether you will start with the search once you’ve arrived. There even may be the possibility of being sent by your current employer or starting directly at your company’s site abroad. Or you can work remotely for your employer in the future. Especially after the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more options should come up in regards to a flexible working model.
4) DO YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR COUNTRY OF DESTINATION?
At best, you’ve already been to your destination before. I would rather advise you against moving abroad if you haven’t been there ever before. There are so many factors that play a big role in whether you feel comfortable or not, such as the vibe, people and how they interact with each other, the weather, etc. So, take a little more time with your decision and take a closer look at your home of choice first.
5) DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH SAVINGS?
You shouldn’t move abroad without any savings. I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but I would say that in most cases of moving abroad, an unexpected event occurs and you should be prepared for that case. Depending on whether you are moving abroad with or without a job, the amount will certainly differ, but in general, you should consider that you pay a lot of money for the visa process, for the move and the new start in a new country, you might have double payments due to liabilities in Germany, home visits, doctor visits at your new home, etc. In addition, the protection of workers and social benefits in some countries vary significantly from Germany, so you should also be prepared for the worst case of being unemployed for a period of time.
Therefore your savings should allow you to be stress-free for at least half a year without any income. You also want to be able to start your new life relaxed and without any worry.
6) DO YOU MOVE ABROAD ALONE OR WITH YOUR FAMILY?
If you are planning to move abroad alone, the decision-making and preparation are certainly very different than if you are going to move with a family. The changes will no longer only affect you, but also your partner and, if applicable, your children. In the latter case, the preparations are accordingly more extensive. Just to mention a few aspects: the savings should be much higher, schooling is important and the search for housing looks a little different. Overall, in this case, moving abroad is associated with a much greater risk. Finally, but most importantly, the move should be discussed with the whole family and the decision should be made together (of course, as far as this is possible!).
7) ARE YOU READY TO LEAVE GERMANY BEHIND?
Not everyone is made for moving abroad and that’s ok. If you’re already thinking about leaving Germany, it shows that you would be willing to leave your familiar environment and known things behind. When you move abroad, you have to give up a lot.
For example, the contact between you and your family and friends will change. For example, if you go to Switzerland, you would certainly be able to see them more often than if you were living in Australia. In addition to family and friends, it may also be the case that you have to let go of your belongings completely. Are you ready and generally ready to start from scratch and perhaps even give up a certain status? Would you be prepared to give up “security” and everything familiar in your life?
It’s not about forgetting Germany and completely turning your back on it, but rather of whether you can and want to be open-minded for the new.
Think about what is most important for you and if you are willing to give up certain things. Maybe it’s not hard for you to let go, but maybe it’s very hard. Sometimes the process of detachment can feel good and liberating – but no one said that it’s going to be easy ;-).
8) ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE LANGUAGE AND CULTURE?
If you want to move to another country, you should speak the local language. First and foremost, it’s nice when you’re trying to communicate in the national language, but it also makes your own life easier. Good language skills are not only important for dealing with the authorities and for job opportunities. Sooner or later, you want to feel like a part of the society, make contacts, etc..
You don’t have to master the language perfectly before you move, but a certain knowledge is definitely helpful. You can perfect the language if you talk regularly with native speakers or have sufficient practice.
In addition to the language, culture is also an important aspect. Depending on where you want to go, the culture varies. To avoid a culture shock and to find out if the culture could suit your lifestyle, make research, read about personal experiences and read books and guides about the country.
9) WHAT IS THE STANDARD OF LIVING?
Safety and good living conditions are, I think, an important topic for everyone when moving abroad. Therefore, inform yourself about the general standard of living in your home of choice. For example, what is the price level, infrastructure, job opportunities and unemployment rate, working conditions, the housing market, social security, health system, the political situation, the crime rate and the climate.
Find out, which aspects should influence your decision and then see how the circumstances in your country of choice are.
10) DO YOU HAVE THE NECESSARY PERSEVERANCE?
Last but not least. Do not underestimate the importance of perseverance. If you decide to move abroad, you’ll need it. The path of moving abroad is long and it goes up and down. There will be phases in which you doubt your decision, you will miss your old surroundings and your family, you have to get into the community first, you have to build up a completely new circle of friends, you’ll feel like an alien in the beginning, you even may be lonely a lot in the beginning.
Do you trust yourself to do this?
Settling down in a new country takes a while, you can’t force anything and things have to evolve naturally. Therefore, be patient and keep going.
In general, it can be said that it’s important not to lose your goal out of sight. Be patient, stay tough, believe in yourself and always see the positive. Only then you can succeed!
I hope that the above questions could help you with your decision-making and bring you more clarity. Please let me know if I’ve forgotten something from your point of view or share your personal experiences in the comments.
I look forward to your message.