If there were a prize for moving abroad as a young, single adult, I think I may be in the running. Since turning 18, I’ve lived in France, Italy, Australia, the UK and only three weeks ago, I packed up and headed to the US.
When you’re young with no ties, moving abroad is an exceptional opportunity that I fully believe you should take. But the ‘no ties’ label, also means you’re doing it alone.
So, how do you know it’s the right decision? Personally, my moves have had varying degrees of success. From being 18 in Italy, which I found extremely hard. To my time in Australia, which saw 2018 as the best year of my life.
I do know, however, that if I hadn’t boarded the planes to each new destination, I would’ve regretted it for the rest of my life.
If you’re moving abroad long-term, it’s important to become as settled as you can as quickly as you can, which means scoping out the best place for you.
The location within the city/town you choose will be as big a deciding factor as the city itself. Do you want to be somewhere social, or somewhere quiet? Will you be commuting?
For this reason, it’s really important to research properly. Obviously, the best way to do this is to visit where you’ll be living, but that’s often not possible. If this is the case for you, the internet is your friend.
Start Googling the area, make sure you won’t be living somewhere dodgy, and find out the general vibe of where you think you want to live.
If you want extra precaution, you could short-term let, or stay in an Airbnb when you first move to the area, so you can experience it first hand and figure out where you’d like to base yourself more permanently.
One of the biggest issues of going anywhere solo, is the safety risk, particularly – although I hate to say it – for women. After-dark is always going to put you at higher risk, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the area.
For this reason, I always try to make sure I get to know the area in the daytime, before I venture out alone at night. This isn’t too bad when you’re in a busy area and have lots of people around, but if you live somewhere a little more desolate, make your safety the highest priority.
I truly believe the main perk of having a partner manifests itself when you move in together – halving the rent! The weight of paying the whole rent may be less when moving abroad if the exchange rate is better, or if your new home is cheaper.
Other ways to lessen rent is to search for spare rooms, rather than whole apartments, and to find private landlords – particularly in the UK – who don’t have the admin fees. You may decide to completely furnish your new home, or you may choose to ship over some of your belongings for a touch of home.
Making friends in a new job, city or country, is tough. There are no two ways about it. You either have to hope you get on extremely well with your work colleagues, or you have to bite the bullet and try and find friends.
Your best bet, without attaching yourself to random groups of people whilst out shopping, is by using apps such as MeetUp or using Facebook to find local expat/travel groups.
If you’re brave enough and the opportunity presents itself, you can always strike up a conversation with people. I did this whilst in a café in Italy, after hearing the group of girls at a table next to me speaking in English. My Italian friend had just left, and the girls had assumed I was also Italian, so were delighted to meet another native-English speaker in our small town! They ended up being my closest group of friends whilst I was out there.
For 99% of us, the idea of meeting a tall, dark, attractive stranger in our new home will have crossed our mind once or twice.
Okay, maybe more.
Okay, okay, it might have been a motive to move there (British accents, hey).
Dating in a new country is almost exactly the same as dating back home. And you’ll be disappointed to know, the people don’t change all that much either.
Whether you view it as a good or bad thing, most countries have now progressed into the world of dating apps. This means they’ll be your best bet at meeting someone – sorry to crash those dreams of catching their eye in a cute Italian coffee shop.
You’re new to the area, you’re exotic, and people love exotic. But as always, make sure you take all the precautions necessary when meeting somebody new
There’s no better time to move abroad than when you have no ties. It’s a unique opportunity, and one you may only take once in your life, so make the most of it! You’re completely in control of coordinating your own move – and if planned in advance, that can make for a stress-free process!
Don’t forget, if you’re looking to move to Europe, it’s important to find a reliable international mover to take you through the paces of emigrating.