Choose your destination

Having the desire to go abroad, to change life, to travel, to discover a new culture, to speak another language, to meet new people, it’s good! But you need to know where to go.

You defined your motivation (I’m talking about it in the Choose Expatriation section), and you are finally ready to leave. Yeah but… Did you choose your destination? If yes, did you really know on all aspects of your life that are going to be impacted by such change? Is this chosen country right for you, even if you really want to go there?

Let’s see together how to choose a country (at least regarding my own researches). You’ve heard a lot of things about a country in particular, and you also would like to live a perfect adventure… Yeah but here’s the thing, are you asking the right questions according to your lifestyle?

Please see below some questions you can ask to yourself and they can help you to eliminate/to focus on some countries:

Is hygiene a very important aspect of your daily routine?
Are you often sick?Can you manage hot temperatures? Or very low temperatures?
Are you extremely social and like to have a drink in a beer garden? Are you lonely?
Do you speak the language (or at least basic sentences)?
Is work important to you?
Do you have a phobia on certain animals?
Etc.

I think you guessed what I wanted to tell you.

However! Don’t be a rebel saying this is part of the adventure and that you have to take risks! I am talking about expatriation. Not taking a sabbatical leave or holidays. Expatriation is a settlement. It won’t be easy to come back.

If you want to succeed your expatriation, I warmly advise you to ask a lot of questions. Otherwise, this is the ideal solution to fail. Nastily. The huge fall.

Let’s have a look on the questions you can ask to yourself and the reasons you should ask them to do your researches:
Are you close to your family? Your friends? It’s simple to take the Eurostar from London or EasyJet (there isn’t any advertisement in this sentence) from Bruxelles. It’s not so easy (and more expensive) from Beijin with a stop in Doha…
Do you like the heat? Or low temperatures? Do you know your limits? Going on holiday to Egypt is not the same thing as living several months under a burning sun. This example works on this opposite as well if you thought about moving in Siberia.
Does hygiene have a special importance to you? If so, Japan will be a right country for your lifestyle, and perhaps you should avoid certain regions in India or certain countries in Africa (these are still examples of course).
Are you sick or often sick? In this situation, find information on health services and the quality of the medical treatments. (or sign for an excellent international insurance with repatriation if you have the money for it).
Are you social and like to spend nice time with friends with a few drinks? Welcome to the UK and to Ireland! However, you probably won’t be attracted by the countries that have strict laws on alcohol consumption. Have a look on the countries where the Muslim religion and culture prevail. The consumption of alcohol is still possible for expatriates. But, most of the time, between expatriates only… Not the best to meet the local people.
Do you speak the language? Or, at least, ask directions? You can go without speaking a single word. Learning the language is also one of interesting challenges of expatriation. But in this situation, ask yourself if you are not going to panic if you can’t communicate.
Do you have a phobia on certain animals? If so, avoid the countries in particular! I think Australia is the perfect example!
Is work important to you? If the work environment is not your cup of tea, avoid the countries where the culture of work is very important and where you won’t find a 37-hour week contract. Like China or Japan.
Do you have savings? You are going to need some to start your adventure. Avoid going to the other end of the world if you don’t have any savings and don’t have someone to welcome you or a really good bank to help you.

This list of questions is exhaustive and these questions are just examples you can ask to yourself to be prepared. I kindly remind you that the examples of countries and cultures I’ve added are… examples! I don’t do any focus in particular and I don’t stigmatize.
And, of course, this is just my opinion, I am not omniscient, and you don’t have to agree with everything I say. This is your adventure after all!

Another helpful advice for a successful expatriation, is to go on holiday in this country/region before moving in. It will give you an idea on the way of life, the culture, the people, etc.

However, I specify this isn’t the perfect solution of course. Let’s take the example of Canada. You will be warmly welcomed as a tourist, but as an expatriate, you might have troubles to make friends! Canadians take their time before giving their trust and will be offended if you insist to have a drink with them every week.

Finally, be careful with the following solution. The shared experience. These are lived experiences by other people that are inspiring you (reading blogs, comments, or chatting). These persons will give you their feedback, positive or negative, and it will probably influence you.

But be careful, for several reasons:

The lived experience is a personal and unique adventure. What happened, good or bad, to someone, might not happen to you. It depends on many things of course. I rather not giving any details as I could speak about some many examples…

The people sharing his/her experience may not be sincere. He/she still a human being. Some people could tell lies because they want to, others to hide a truth, embellish a fact, etc. It also happens that people could simply try to hide bad experiences, because they lived them as a failure and are scared of the opinion of others if they confess.
Motivations might be different too. Maybe these persons didn’t really want to expatriate. Finding a job wasn’t so important to them. Etc.

All this to tell you that you should be careful. It’s not a good idea to want to expatriate following someone else’s adventure. The disappointment could be tough. Bim! Like a slap on your face.

To end this section: To Succeed in your Expatriation.

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