Moving to a foreign country can stir up various emotions.
You might feel excited about the new opportunities, but at the same time, you may have concerns about how this significant change could impact your life and whether you are prepared for it.
In 2020, nearly 40 million people moved abroad from Africa. So, if you’re wondering whether to make the move, we wrote this article for you.
We interviewed four individuals who relocated from Nigeria for work or school abroad. Keep reading for their top relocation tips!
What you should know when moving to another country
- Be prepared
Most immigrants we spoke to advised being prepared before moving abroad.
Moving to a new country can be unpredictable, and there will inevitably be some unexpected challenges along the way. Being prepared will help you deal with these challenges more effectively and reduce your stress levels.
If you're hesitant to relocate, Efeturi, who moved from Nigeria to Germany, says, "Do it, but be prepared. Know what you're giving up for good internet and a 24-hour power supply."
Remembering why you decided to move helps keep things in perspective when you face challenges.
David, who relocated abroad for school and stayed, adds, "Make sure you're financially stable and have your plans planned out."
Besides financial preparations, you can also find an apartment, go on a job hunt, and learn the language or customs of your new country before you move.
In addition to the practical benefits, being prepared for a move abroad can also help you emotionally. Knowing that you have done everything you can to prepare for the move can give you a sense of confidence and control. It can also help you feel more excited and optimistic about your new adventure.
- Be patient
Moving to a new country is a big change, and it takes time to adjust. It's important to be patient with yourself and with the process.
“Patience is important because when you rush the relocation process, you’re bound to make mistakes or miss some key details,” says William, who moved from Nigeria to Asia.
Whether it’s getting your documents in order, learning a new language, or getting comfortable with your new environment. The process of settling into a new country takes time. So, it’s essential to set realistic expectations on what it would take to relocate to another country.
- Join or build a community
“Having someone solid wherever you plan to relocate to is a huge plus as it makes it easier for you to settle,” says William. “In the absence of that, make sure you have more than enough funds; this is very important.”
David explains that it’s essential to have someone in your new country who can help you get familiar with the new place.“Have somebody that's already here and can give you some sort of orientation, or else you're going to start from ground zero, and that's quite the struggle.”
It's normal to feel homesick and out of place when moving to a new country. It takes time to feel comfortable in your new surroundings and to develop a sense of belonging. Connecting with others who have been through the same experience can be a great source of support.
“Make good friends, try to be open, try to talk to people, tell them about your problems, and not just keep a closed mouth,” says Efeturi. “Be involved with the (likely small) community you'll have. Don't be afraid to interact/mingle.”
- Invest in your professional development
“Look for ways to advance yourself professionally, get these specialized degrees and certifications,” says David. “Try to be better than the average folk because there's a lot of competition, and you do not want to be the one that stays away at the back, so just keep advancing yourself.”
There are many different ways to invest in your professional development. You can take online courses, attend workshops and seminars, or read books and articles on your field. You can also network with other professionals and seek out mentorship opportunities.
No matter how you choose to invest in your professional development, it is important to prioritize it. Taking steps to improve your skills, knowledge, and experience sets you up for success in your career.
- Find a good admission agency if you’re moving abroad to study
“A good tip would be to get a good admission agency if you’re going to school. They really help,’ says Ene, who moved to the UK for her Masters.
Admission agencies can be beneficial for students who are moving abroad to study. They have expertise and guidance, strong relationships with universities, visa assistance, and pre-departure support.
Using an admission agency can increase your chances of success when applying to study abroad, save you time and money, get you personalized advice, and reduce stress.
- Stay on the right side of the law
Relocating to another country is often in pursuit of better opportunities. But breaking the law, intentionally or not, can result in serious consequences, such as fines, imprisonment, or deportation.
Even minor offenses can harm your immigration status and ability to live, work, or study in the country.
Efeturi advises new immigrants to learn the law, or at least enough to understand their rights and responsibilities. This will help them avoid breaking the law and getting into trouble.
David adds, “Look for ways that you can make money legally because, obviously, everybody's primary aim abroad is to make money. It may be tough in the beginning but you are going to make it, be it in six or seven months, you're going to be fine.
- Stay connected to home
Our final relocation tip is to stay connected to home. This is so important for immigrants because moving abroad can make you disconnected from people who matter to you.
As Efeturi puts it, “Maintaining your connection back home is hard but necessary.”
When you move away from home, it is easy to lose touch with family and friends. By staying connected, you can maintain these important relationships and feel less isolated in your new home.
Feeling like you belong to something is important for your mental and emotional well-being. And if your culture and heritage are an important part of your identity, staying connected to home helps you preserve these things and share them with your new community.
Relocation can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, but it doesn't have to be.
By following the tips in this article, you can make the process easier and more enjoyable. Remember to start planning early, stay organized, and be prepared for unexpected challenges. And most importantly, don't forget to enjoy the adventure!
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