Author Topic: Before you move: Things to really think about **2006 UKY Topic of the Year**  (Read 36365 times)

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12yearsandcounting

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This is a topic that I've been thinking about for awhile now.  I haven't posted it as a response to anyone, and I don't want anyone to think it's aimed at them.  It isn't.  It's just some honest advice that I think people should take into consideration before making the move.  I think that at times people get a bit carried away with being in love and don't think about the reality of moving to a different country.  And I also think that because our two cultures are similar and we speak the same language they think that it's going to be easier than it actually is. 

I also don't want to be too negative or scare people off.  You can move here and make a life and be happy, but there are some things that I think would be a good idea to ask yourself.

*Are you open minded?  Moving to a new country is remarkable experience, but you need to be able to look at things from a different viewpoint than the one you were raised with. You're going to meet people with different backgrounds, opinions and ways of doing things.  You need to accept that the American way is not the only way.

*Are you set in your ways?  Things are different here.  Schools, hospitals, banking and work practices are just a few of the many things that you're going to run up against that are 'not the way we do it'.  You have to be willing to learn how things work if you are going  function in a country that is totally not like your own

*Are you diplomatic?  You're going to come across people who are critical of your country and its government.  You are going to need to keep your cool and talk yourself out of some situations where you feel uncomfortable.  You're also going to have learn when someone's only joking and when someone's serious about this. 

*Are you good at watching and listening?  You need to learn everything.  The best way to do this is to watch other people, see how they do things without telling them how you think it should be done.

*Are you a homebody?  If you've never left the place where you were born, if you're very close to your family, then it's going to be difficult.  Really difficult.  You need to be prepared to have years between visits home, you need to be prepared to not see parents, siblings and nieces and nephews.  The most difficult part of being an expat is having bad things-death, illness, accidents-happen and not being able to be there.  You're going to miss good things too-weddings, births, family parties.  And not all family and friends are good about keeping in touch.  A lot of expats feel abandoned by their families when they move.

*Do you have family support?  You need your family to be behind you in a supportive non-judgemental way.  It's not impossible without this, but it sure makes it easier.

*Are you determined?  It's not easy making friends here. British people tend to make friends young and hang onto them for life.  You can make friends but it will take determination and a thick skin on your part.  You need to be outgoing and proactive.

*Are you adventurous?  You'll have to take buses and trains, and go to unfamiliar places.  Everyone will be a stranger to you.  You have got to be brave or you'll never leave the house.

*Is your career everything to you?  Because it's not always easy to find a job in your field and a lot of people have had to take jobs that they were vastly overqualified for.   And not all degrees and qualifications automatically transfer.  It takes a lot of perseverance to find the right job for you.


I'm sure there are more, and if anyone wants to add their own, that'd be great.   :)  But I don't want this to turn into a debate about which country is better. 
« Last Edit: February 10, 2007, 02:54:06 PM by Mindy »

expat_in_scotland

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2006, 06:39:49 PM »
Great post, Mindy.  Spot on, too.


Offline terriponeale

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2006, 07:13:00 PM »
Thank you for the well-written, thoughtful and non-judgmental post. It was an excellent check list as I contemplate this move. It showed many strengths...and a few weaknesses as well. I appreciate your time and effort.
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Offline Carrie

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2006, 07:20:21 PM »
I have three more, based on my experiences with studying there for 18 months, moving my husband to the US to live and now our decision to return to the UK.

* Are you choosing your country based solely on your preception of immigration issues?  Speaking about the US at least, yes it is a longer, more arduous process for spousal/fiance visas than moving to the UK.  But for most people it is not impossible.  The immigration issues will be over in less than 18 months.  Remember that you are looking for a country to call home for the rest of your life (or at least quite a few years).

* Are you running away from anything?  A job you hate, family problems, a bad relationship, depression?  Most people go through a very stressful adjustment period when they get to a new country to live - either for a set length of time or indefinitely.  While it is entirely possible to work through your issues during the process of moving, you need to be prepared for the fact that life might not be all smiles and roses right away. 

* Are you nearing a transition point in your life, and have you tried to study the way things will differ between countries?  For me this transition is starting a family.  I spent a lot of time reading and talking to a lot of people to begin to understand some of the differences between having children and raising them in the UK versus the US.  For me this included, differences in pre- and post-natal care, education, work-life balance, and access to healthcare.

persephone

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2006, 07:22:55 PM »
Oooooh... those are also some good thinking points! 

Offline Stella Marie

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2006, 07:25:31 PM »
This should be made a sticky, with a prefix to the title - Before you move: Things to think about

Offline NoNameHere

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2006, 07:28:21 PM »
Do you have realistic expectations of what life in the UK may be like?  Have you visited (yes, some people plan moving here having never visited!)?  Have you spent a significant amount of time here?  If not, make sure that your perceptions of everyday life over here are not based on books you've read, television shows, etc.  Remember that the UK is like any other country -- your way of life will vary according to the place you live and your income, amongst many other things.  Try to not build up a vision of life here based on stereotypes or you be disappointed.

CeltictotheCore

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2006, 07:36:35 PM »


*Are you open minded?  Moving to a new country is remarkable experience, but you need to be able to look at things from a different viewpoint than the one you were raised with. You're going to meet people with different backgrounds, opinions and ways of doing things.  You need to accept that the American way is not the only way.

*Are you set in your ways?  Things are different here.  Schools, hospitals, banking and work practices are just a few of the many things that you're going to run up against that are 'not the way we do it'.  You have to be willing to learn how things work if you are going  function in a country that is totally not like your own

*Are you diplomatic?  You're going to come across people who are critical of your country and its government.  You are going to need to keep your cool and talk yourself out of some situations where you feel uncomfortable.  You're also going to have learn when someone's only joking and when someone's serious about this. 

*Are you good at watching and listening?  You need to learn everything.  The best way to do this is to watch other people, see how they do things without telling them how you think it should be done.









A great post......deserves a sticky :)

12yearsandcounting

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2006, 08:04:32 PM »
This should be made a sticky, with a prefix to the title - Before you move: Things to think about


Good idea, Stella.   :)

And great posts, Lola and Carrie. 

Offline paula1219

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2006, 08:54:25 PM »
Excellent post, Mindy. From reading the threads on this board, I feel like I've had a very easy transition (so far) but I know that some in the group that I came over with are having a difficult time adjustmenting. I plan to use your post as my periodic "checklist" to see how I'm doing. Thanks!
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otterpop

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2006, 09:34:02 PM »
Great thread!

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2006, 09:00:45 AM »
*Are you marrying a partner you otherwise wouldn't be ready to settle permanently with? (I'm not saying that these marriages don't work -- they often do -- just that it can make the transition more stressful).

*Do you make new friends easily? Because you're going to have to.

Excellent thread, by the way! :)
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Offline onetiger

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2006, 11:23:20 AM »
* if you are moving over for a job, are single and don't know anyone here, you have to be prepared to be a bit lonely at times.  You have to make an effort to 'hang' with the work crowd or find a group/activity outside of work.  Pubs are the social life here more often than not. 

*if you are moving over with kids, make sure you know the differences in the educational system & if it would work for your kids.  Be prepared for some serious blowouts with them...or they may love it while you are unhappy.

* It takes time to make new friends once you leave college or the city you've grown up in.  Don't be frustrated if you don't have a great friend within a year - sometimes it takes a bunch longer than that.  And it's normal.  Remember that when you are nervous about meeting someone new, you may not come across as friendly as you'd like...really try and keep trying.

* Be open to the resources over here.  While they may be different to what you are used to, they do work (example, health workers). 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2006, 11:26:26 AM by onetiger »

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2006, 11:36:13 AM »
* if you are moving over with kids:  Is your nuclear family secure?  While you are adjusting to a new place, the only people you will have to rely on is each other.  Your kids will need that stability.

* do you find your security in your environment, or do you feel secure in your own skin?  If you move, you no longer have security in your environment as it will take at least a year to re-establish that.
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12yearsandcounting

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Re: Before you move: Things to really think about
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2006, 11:39:49 AM »
*Are you willing to try new things?  There's no good Mexican food, there's no Target, there are no corn chips or frozen yogurt stands.  You're going to have to try new food, find substitutes, shop in unfamiliar stores.  If this fills you with dread or you can't cook without Hamburger Helper it's going to be difficult.