Hey there! My name’s Ricky Garcia and I totally get the appeal of wanting to moving abroad alone. Believe me, I’ve been there!
When I decided to leave my small hometown and relocate overseas by myself a few years ago, I was equal parts thrilled and terrified. Who just picks up and moves to a foreign country where they don’t know a soul? Apparently me!
But let me tell you—as crazy as it sounds, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Sure, those first few months were no picnic. Being alone in a place where I couldn’t even read street signs or make a doctor’s appointment without help felt incredibly isolating at times.
However, I pushed through the hard days and eventually built an amazing life abroad. I made wonderful friends from all over the world, became fluent in a new language, traveled to places I’d only dreamed about, and learned so much about myself along the way.
If you’re thinking about taking the solo leap overseas, I want to help make your transition easier. In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything I wish I’d known before moving abroad alone—from the practical logistics to dealing with homesickness. Consider me your expat life coach! By the end, I hope you feel equipped to turn your travel dreams into reality.
Let’s do this together. Because moving overseas alone just might end up being the adventure of a lifetime!
Deciding to Move Abroad Alone
Moving to another country by yourself can seem like a daunting prospect. Unlike relocating with a partner or family, you won’t have your usual support network to rely on when you arrive. However, living abroad independently can also be an incredibly rewarding adventure if you go in with realistic expectations. Here are some key considerations when deciding if moving overseas alone is right for you:
Weigh the Pros and Cons
Make a list of the potential benefits and drawbacks of relocating solo compared to moving with others. Some pros of moving abroad alone include:
- Complete independence and ability to make all your own decisions
- Chance to fully immerse yourself in a new culture and lifestyle
- Opportunity for profound personal growth and self-discovery
- Freedom to be spontaneous and adventurous
Some potential cons are:
- Increased loneliness and isolation, especially at first
- Lack of immediate help if any issues arise
- Added stress of handling all logistics and paperwork solo
- No one to directly share experiences with
Think deeply about whether the pros outweigh the cons based on your personality, life stage, and motivations for moving abroad. Know it won’t always be easy, but the experience can be incredibly rewarding long-term.
Manage Your Expectations
Be realistic about what life abroad alone will be like. Don’t envision an Instagram-perfect adventure every day. You’ll likely face challenges like culture shock, homesickness, difficulty making friends, linguistic barriers and more. However, managing your expectations helps avoid becoming too disillusioned in difficult moments. Research the ups and downs of expat life thoroughly before relocating solo.
Prepare Mentally and Emotionally
Take time to get your mindset and emotions in order before a solo move overseas. Build up mental toughness and resilience by reading expat memoirs and accounts. Start fostering independence and resourcefulness in your daily life at home. Strengthen ties with family and friends who can support you from afar. Save up enough money to weather unexpected emergencies. With the right mental preparation, you can handle the rollercoaster of relocating internationally solo.
Logistics of Moving Abroad ALONE
Handling all the logistical details of an international relocation solo requires thorough preparation and organization. From visas to shipping your belongings, here is what to expect when orchestrating a move overseas entirely on your own:
Visas and Paperwork
Securing the right visas and paperwork is crucial when relocating abroad alone.
- Research visa options extensively – Figure out which visas you can apply for based on your nationality and destination country. Consider visas for work, study, investment, retirement, or extended travel.
- Gather required documents – This may include bank records, health exams, police certificates, passport photos, and more. Organize paperwork carefully.
- Consider hiring an immigration consultant – They can advise you on the best visa strategies and handle the application process for you. Useful when navigating complex immigration policies alone.
- Apply for visas well in advance – Processing times can take weeks or months for some visas. Avoid delaying your move abroad.
Read Also: UK CITIZENS ABROAD JOBS
Look into one-way vs return tickets when relocating solo:
- One-way – Gives you flexibility but can raise suspicions at immigration. Have onward travel plans ready.
- Return ticket – Reassures immigration officials but locks you into set dates. Changeable/refundable tickets are an option.
Also utilize flight search engines and airline mileage programs to find deals. Consider baggage limits carefully when packing for a solo move abroad.
Shipping Your Belongings
If you want to bring more than airlines allow, explore:
- Sea shipping containers – Cost effective for moving large household goods overseas. Slow transit times.
- Air freight – Quicker option for essential items you need soon after relocating. Expensive.
- Luggage shipping services – Forward extra suitcases door-to-door. Customs duties may apply.
Settling In After a Solo Move Abroad
Once you arrive in your new home abroad, the real adventure begins. Adjusting to expat life in a foreign country without guidance or support can be challenging. Here are some of the key aspects to get sorted when settling in overseas by yourself:
Banking and Finances
Managing your money independently in a new country takes some navigation.
- Open a local bank account – Makes paying rent, utilities and more easier. Look for English service options.
- Transfer savings – Move adequate funds to your new account for accessing cash easily. Keep an emergency stash.
- Understand taxes – Learn if you must file taxes as an expat and how it differs from home. Complex when freelancing.
- Budget wisely – Track spending diligently. Costs add up quickly during relocation. Build savings habits.
Building a Social Life
Loneliness is common after a solo move abroad. Make an effort to meet people:
- Attend expat events – Join newcomer groups and meetups in your city. Great way to find friends.
- Connect with coworkers – Bond over being new if you get a job abroad. Suggest socializing outside work.
- Meet neighbors – Say hello next door and invite them over. Locals can give insider tips.
- Try out clubs/hobbies – Join a sport team, volunteer group or class to meet like-minded residents.
- Consider dating apps – Browse expats and locals online. Vet carefully when meeting one-on-one.
Making meaningful connections takes time. Be patient and open to new types of friendships.
Working Abroad Solo
Finding employment in a foreign country by yourself can seem daunting but is very achievable. Here are some tips for getting a job overseas solo:
Understand Your Options
- Work visas – Some countries allow expats to apply for employment visas sponsored by local companies. Research requirements.
- Freelance or remote work – Offer your skills online to companies back home or third-party clients. Flexible and location independent.
- Teaching English – Popular option in many countries for native English speakers. Doesn’t always require a degree.
- Seasonal jobs – Look at ski resorts, summer camps, cruises, hotels. Provide food/lodging.
- Internships – Great for career experience abroad, especially if you are younger. Stipends help offset costs.
Transfer Your Qualifications
- Get transcripts/certificates officially translated if needed.
- Learn about qualification recognition policies for your profession abroad. Additional exams or training may be required.
- Research in-demand skills where you are moving. Local shortages you can leverage.
- Show international experience – Even volunteer work abroad can impress foreign employers.
The Job Search
- Use recruiters – Hire specialized expat agencies to match your skills to jobs overseas.
- Check job boards like Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, and expat-focused platforms. Set alerts.
- Network locally – Attend industry events, join alumni groups, and chat up everyone to make connections.
- Polish your interview skills – Prepare to highlight cross-cultural teamwork abilities.
Succeeding in your career abroad hinges on your grit and adaptability. With the right mix of preparation and persistence, finding work overseas independently is completely feasible.
Challenges of Living Abroad Alone
While relocating overseas solo is an incredible experience, you will inevitably face difficulties along the way. Being prepared for certain challenges can help you handle them better as an expat living independently:
Loneliness and Isolation
It’s normal to feel lonely or homesick, especially right after moving abroad by yourself. Here are some coping tips:
- Stay busy exploring your new home and finding local hangouts.
- Make an effort to meet people and be friendly to strangers.
- Schedule video calls with supportive friends and family back home.
- Join expat meetup groups or register on a friend app to connect with others.
- Consider adopting a pet for companionship if your housing allows.
- Seek professional counseling if loneliness becomes severe.
The disorientation you feel when immersed in a new culture can be amplified without your normal support circle. Combat culture shock by:
- Reading up on your new country and learning greetings in the local language.
- Observing cultural norms and etiquette before interacting socially. Don’t assume similarities.
- Asking locals respectful questions about customs that confuse you.
- Immersing yourself in local arts, food, music, events to understand the culture.
- Joining a culture exchange to share your own customs too.
Take extra precautions when navigating a foreign country solo:
- Choose safe neighborhoods and read up on any areas to avoid.
- Be wary of scams targeting tourists and expats.
- Avoid risky situations like isolated areas at night.
- Learn emergency numbers and monitor any travel alerts.
- Consider a safety app with features like location tracking when going out alone.
Coping with challenges ultimately builds resilience and skills. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help from locals or expats around you when needed.
Personal Growth from Moving Abroad Alone
One of the most rewarding perks of relocating overseas solo is the enormous potential for self-improvement. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and learning to thrive in a new country without guidance results in incredible personal growth.
When totally responsible for yourself in a foreign land, you rapidly gain self-reliance and develop problem-solving skills. Daily tasks like booking a doctor’s appointment, filing paperwork, managing finances and more make you fiercely independent.
From mastering a new public transit system to making friends across language barriers, your confidence skyrockets. You gain a can-do perspective fueled by successfully navigating life abroad on your own terms.
Freed from your usual environment and social circles, you can objectively analyze your strengths and preferences. Experimenting with new activities, relationships, and ways of thinking helps you grow exponentially.
Immersing yourself in a different culture and landscape, you gain unique perspectives. You realize how large and multi-faceted the world is. Moving abroad solo inevitably makes you more open-minded, tolerant and curious.
Relocating internationally by yourself is not for the faint of heart. But embracing the journey wholeheartedly can unlock life-changing wisdom and self-knowledge. The challenges abroad help you discover who you truly are.