Why Most Expats Fail With Overseas Relocation and What They Can Do Better

Why Most Expats Fail With Overseas Relocation and What They Can Do Better

By Rebekah Saunders

If you’d have asked me shortly before I emigrated “Do you think you might fail?” The answer would have been a resolute NO. Likewise “What will you do if you fail?” I genuinely have no idea what we would have done or how we would have dealt with it. The truth is we didn’t even consider it. I think like most people we got so caught up in the thrill and excitement of our new life abroad that we had no idea how we would truly feel leaving everyone and everything behind let alone the possible idea of failure.But the fact is, many do fail, many don’t cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s and ultimately, they fail. So what is it they are doing wrong?

It’s such a complicated, fine detailed procedure from start to finish that quite often, the plans you are making can and will run away with you. Somehow the extreme excitement takes over and engulfs you. You begin to eat, sleep and breath it. Not coping, not liking it or failure simply are not part of the equation. Then before you can say adios to England you’ve landed at your destination and are standing there like a deer caught in the headlights. Then what?

I suppose if I had to categorise the keys to failure, I guess they would look something like this.

Research, Research, Research

Whatever you do you can never do enough research. It’s vitally important if you stand any chance of success. Research absolutely every aspect of the move. I mean the list is endless of things you need to know and you should know. For example, it’s no use moving somewhere to take a job with a big drop in salary just to be able to move there, if you find out when you get there that the cost of living is twice what it was where you came from. That’s just one tiny detail. We spent hours, days, weeks, months researching and in all honesty, we still ended up with some surprises. Thankfully not too costly ones.


Before you make the decision to take that leap, ask yourself this one question. “Are you happy?”. I mean really happy, are you in a happy and stable relationship? Are you in a good place with yourself? Sorry, that’s three questions. Or are you surrounded by drama and issues and problems? (four lol) Because if you are emigrating to get away from an unhappy life, you should consider what it is that’s making you unhappy and fix it first. At the end of the day, running away does not work. The problems will still be there wherever you are in the world. You can’t run away from yourself.

Holiday Destinations Do Not Necessarily Make An Ideal Place To Live

Have you ever been abroad on holiday and fallen in love with the place, thought you could live there. I know I have. You have to be realistic. Of course lovely hot sunny weather for two weeks a year is beautiful, and white sandy beaches, you can’t beat it. But would you really want that heat 24/7, 52 weeks a year. It’s not the same when you have to work in it all the time. It’s not just that though. Spending 2 weeks in a lovely hotel will never give you a clue about what it will be like to live there. If you love a place, go home and research, research, research!

The Trailing Spouse

Trust me, it’s challenging to say the least being a trailing spouse. Suddenly you are uprooted from your home, family, friends and job. Thrust to another continent, you know no-one, have no family there and no job. Your husband/wife however get to go out to work and start their new life with new people. Basically it sucks. I’m not pulling any punches here. It’s not good. The key to many failures is simply this point. I see more and more support groups cropping up on the internet for the trailing spouses. If you think this may apply to you, be prepared to dust off the cobwebs and get yourself out there. Take a job, volunteer, do anything to keep you from becoming part of the furniture at home all day!


Another major key to your happiness I’m afraid to say is your financial situation. Again it mainly boils down to your research. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying having money will make you happy but you need a certain amount to emigrate or you undoubtedly will fail. Be prepared for all the costs that face you. It soon adds up. Trust me I’ve been there. The cost of (if you use one) an immigration specialist, your reccie (no-one should ever consider emigration without at least one), your removals, your flights to your new country, the costs involved with a new house purchase, you may lose money on your existing house sale if you need to sell in a hurry. Be prepared for your worst case scenarios. Or you could just rack up the debt. Not the best way to start your new life.

Ultimately, we were one of the lucky ones…it could have ended differently, so differently. We made our mistakes along the way but we survived it all. Was it the very best move we ever made? You betchya it was. Don’t let any of this deter you, just be prepared and RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!!

– End –

About Rebekah Saunders

Having moved to Nova Scotia nearly 4 years ago, Bex concentrates most of the time on her social media networking business, Social Network Solutions 4u. She specializes in social media and social and professional networking. Bex is also the Social Media Director for UK 2 Nova Scotia, the leading relocation company for Atlantic Canada. She provides the company with social media services to network and raise the company profile.


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