what to expect when living abroad πŸ€”

change, new beginning, renewal

We are moving!

When the news arrives at home that you and your family have the opportunity to move to work and live abroad, you may feel surprised, excited, confused, happy, sad, thrilled, worried, or maybe all of it together!. 

It could be a very appealing experience, mostly if you have never done it before and you are an adventurer spirit. But, at the same time, it could be challenging and a bit overwhelming. 

For me, it was inevitable since I fell in love with a person who was moving away. So I got married and moved with him! 

Many aspects of your daily life will be different, and that might impact you emotionally. Routines, habits, comfortable and known surroundings will change for the excitement of a new country, another language, exotic food ( any cuisine that we are not used to is exotic!), and new people.

Dealing with the change in your life might be challenging, but with the right mindset, we can all thrive with the experience.

Deal with the change

Ends are not bad things, they just mean that something else is about to begin. And there are many things that don’t really end, anyway, they just begin again in a new way― C.Joybell C.

Many of us are happy with our lives, at least we are used to our routines and daily schedules. Having a job, a house, taking kids to school, driving them to the extra activities. Going out with friends, spending the weekends with your spouse and kids, and holidays with family. Knowing that most likely next week will be very similar to this one gives us a relaxing mindset because we are in control of our lives.

The more we build up our lives- the longer we do our jobs and get better and skilled at it, the longer we live in the same house, the longer we know our friends and neighbours- the more we want to hold on to it. It is comfortable, and we feel safe. It is not challenging. Nor disturbing. We are very accustomed to it, and we like it. We convince ourselves that there is nothing better than this life. So we want to keep it and prolong it because it is good. Why should we change anything?

So, when the change arrives it is disturbing and disrupts our routines and organised lives. We may feel annoyed by the sudden changes in our lives, and we may even react against it.

Accept the change

What I believe is very important to learn is accepting the change. We know life changes, and we have loved many of those changes! : we graduated from school ( or not), we got our first paid job, we fell in love and started a new life with our partner, we became parents!! That was a huge change. We usually embraced those changes in our lives, and we learned from them. We are more rounded people because of those experiences, even though it wasn’t always easy. But the changes were worth it. 

Do not grieve when something good ends, be glad that it happened.― Jeffrey Fry

You may say that we chose those changes, that we had a say on them. Maybe the changes we are facing now with moving abroad are not our own decision, but somebody else’s decision, and that makes it a bit more difficult for us to welcome the change. You may be right! But your life is yours, and you are the person who enjoys it! So take the opportunity as a gift that is presented to you by someone else. Like is your birthday and a friend buys you a book you have never thought of getting yourself. Will you read it? Or will you put it away on your shelf? I would encourage you to read it!

For me, one of the considerable changes in my life was when I moved from Barcelona (my hometown) to Tokyo as a newlywed. Not only I had to adjust to being married, but I had to accept the fact that I was starting a new life away from my closest friends and family. I had to quit my job and start learning Japanese instead. It was very stimulating, of course! , but tiring since I had to be alert all the time. Nothing was done “on automatic” I had to think about every action and simple daily routine like taking the train or buying at the grocery store. 

By the time I got home in the evening, I was exhausted!. It felt like running a marathon or having to take a long exam every single day. 

Then I realised I was so tired because I was not accepting the fact that my surroundings were different. For instance, I had to get the idea that going to class was taking me an hour. That was a fact, on its own. If I were to compare it with the fifteen minutes commuting time in Barcelona, the comparison would not help me. Why do I need to compare it? – I thought. Well, I didn’t have to! 

These were two different commuting in two distant places, one in Barcelona and one in Tokyo. No needed to compare them. I only needed to point out that they were two separate trips. Only then, I began to flow with my new commuting times and went on with my Tokyo life.

board, school, self confidence

Adapt to it

When you start flowing with your new environment, you become more relaxed. That makes you more aware of the people, the architecture, the nature that surrounds you in the new place. Because of that, you start enjoying different aspects of your daily routines. Maybe a new beverage or snack, a new way of transport, the skyline of the city, its lights, its flavours. The way neighbours greet you in the morning is new. I remember that I loved how in Tokyo, everyone waited in line to get on the train. Nobody cut the cue. They would stand on the spot marked on the platform where the train will precisely stop. They will then patiently wait for everyone to get off the train before going in without rushing or pushing. Their politeness marveled me! And I loved it! So different from Barcelona, ha, ha, ha!. Taking the train even at the rushed hour was not stressful for me because I appreciated and valued the consideration everyone had for each other. It made me want to act the same way. I added patience in my daily life. Very new to me. =P  

subway, train, train station

I felt good, more comfortable moving around, so I took the chance to explore unfamiliar neighborhoods, check different stores, and start new hobbies. I met people like me who were from abroad and new to Tokyo life too. We were sharing our experiences and funny stories that occurred to us while trying to communicate in the newly acquired language. We felt like toddlers learning how to speak! The challenge was engaging, and every test passed a recognition of the journey. When you move in a new direction, the flow helps you find rewarding experiences. You start feeling fulfilled, and even small recognitions fuel your day.

Learn from it

β€œDo what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

Now that we are getting used to our new life and enjoying the process, it is time to realise how many things we can learn from this change. It is not only getting new skills like learning another language but knowing that we can steer our minds to take actions that keep us balanced and fulfilled. We will be amazed to see that we can try new approaches on how to socialize, how easily we can meet new people that would have taken ages in our previous life. Because we don’t have a full plan, our time stretches, and we are willing to try new things. We see that doing the same things we used to do at home is not doable now. Instead, we have to try new ways of communicating and socializing. If we were a quiet and introverted person, we now need to push ourselves out of our comfort zone to make new friends. If, on the other hand, we used to lead conversations and cracking jokes, now could be the time when we learn the art of socializing by observing and listening to others before we master the language. You will see that you can learn to adapt. You may need patience and consistency but is worth keeping trying it rather than remain still. It takes some practice to excel in your new you, of course. We all need to exercise in finding the balance. Remember that we can be as authentic as we are, not because we are adding new ways to our doing it will mean we have denied who we are. Our goal is to enjoy the change and the positivity that it can bring into our lives.

Grow from it

My first move was the most powerful and revealing. Since then, I have felt like I kept growing as a person, and I don’t mean only aging! =P 

After the first move, learning, adapting, and enjoying the experience, I start to understand how I could do it all over again. Because what I learned was the process of adapting to the change. I knew what to expect. 

It didn’t mean missing my daily routines or saying goodbye to friends were less painful. But knowing what was coming made it easier to face it, and I managed it with more expertise. 

Breath and be aware of every moment. 

I believe that all of us are capable of not only gaining skills but able to become an improved version of ourselves.

After living in Japan for almost two years and welcoming our first son, we had to move back to Europe. Not Barcelona, but Brussels. And it was great! Again, I had to learn new skills and be a mum! That was gigantic! Ha, ha, ha. 

Because this time, I knew my ability to adapt to the change, I felt stronger. My confidence was higher. So when a local company offered me a job, I didn’t hesitate. My son was looked after by an angel dropped to earth. She was a very professional and most caring lady who not only took care of him but also taught me to be a better mum. Do you see how many good things came from accepting the change and moving to Brussels? It was a chain of events that led me to a unique experience.

Now is your time

footbridge, go, traffic lights

Now has arrived the chance for you and your family to enjoy a new chapter of your life. Take this as a gift for yourself. You can learn and become an improved version of yourself. It Is Not only excellent for yourself but the positive implications for your family. Because you feel stronger, you will be happy to support your family as well. It probably won’t be a straight journey. I am quite sure you will face up and downs, but knowing that those will come makes it easier for you to take action.

I would encourage you to start making a list of all the things that you believe you need to sort it out. 

Go through the list and search for information about the main topics that will have the first impact on your daily life: housing, school, and healthcare.

You could start through your social media like Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. There are many social groups that share their experiences and suggestions. It is a simple and easy way to start!


I would encourage you to subscribe to Abroad with Susana, my page. You will receive emails with topics that will encourage you. Having this great opportunity to live abroad gives you the chance to improve your social skills and further your studies or even start working on something new.

Internations, Meet other Expats worldwide! 420 Global Communities. Local Events & Activities. Local Forums. Services: Theme Groups, International Meetups, City & Country Guides, Forums, Professional Networking.

Expatica offers essential expat guides to moving, working, and living abroad, as well as features and tools that bring the expat community closer together.

SixFiguresMentors is an exclusive private community platform providing tools, training, coaching and mentorship to support their members in creating a life and business that they love. They provide access to over 6500 e-Learning courses in Business, Marketing, Creative and Technology. You can start your own online business and take it with you anywhere in the world! Let me send you a FREE video series for you to get acquainted.

I’d like to suggest a book for you to read called β€œWho moved my Cheese?” by Dr Spencer Johnson. It is a simple parable that reveals profound truths- as the publisher says. It Is very easy to read, it may take just an hour! and it will help you anticipate the change, adapt to it, and enjoy it. 

I wish you a smooth start in your journey and hope to hear from you soon!

1 thought on “what to expect when living abroad πŸ€””

  1. Pingback: Tokyo Life. A BIG SHOCK IN THE BIG WORLD πŸ—ΊοΈ

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top