Mastering Mental Preparation: Navigating the Challenges of Moving Abroad with Family

Embark on the journey with a clear understanding of your 'why.' Delve into the emotional and practical aspects of moving abroad, ensuring a smoother transition and a fulfilling experience.

Mastering Mental Preparation: Navigating the Challenges of Moving Abroad with Family
Have you mentally equipped yourself for the move overseas?

Moving abroad, especially with a family, is a huge challenge – more than many people would think. It's a journey of self-discovery with vast fluctuations, one that is impossible to be fully prepared for. Most people also do not give enough importance to mental preparation.

Challenges associated with moving abroad can include culture shock, feelings of being lost, burnout, marital issues, and problems with self-esteem — just to name a few of the most common ones...

Although many families meticulously plan and consciously prepare for moving abroad, few consider the importance of mental preparation.

I often ask the those  who come to me why they decided to embark on this journey, and many are unable to answer; they don't have their reasons clear.

Find your why

When considering a major life decision like moving abroad, "finding your why" is crucial. This understanding of your underlying motivations not only helps in preparing for the transition but also in sustaining you through the challenges of adapting to a new country.

Is it about seeking a safer environment? Are we looking for a stable political environment?  Are we pursuing better educational opportunities for our children? Perhaps it's about exploring a new culture or expanding our worldview? Or could it be the desire for a higher quality of life, with access to better healthcare and public services? Each of these reasons reflects deep-seated values and desires that can greatly influence how we experience and adapt to living in a new country. Understanding these motivations can provide clarity and resilience, helping us to navigate both the logistical and emotional challenges of moving abroad. 

Consciously articulating and reminding yourself of your reasons for moving abroad can also guide you in making decisions that align with your goals, such as choosing where to live, what communities to engage with, or how to manage your time and priorities.

For instance, if your "why" is enhancing your children's welfare and educational opportunities, this can motivate you to actively seek out the best schools and extracurricular activities in your new environment, even when adapting might feel overwhelming. It serves as a compass that keeps you oriented towards your personal values and aspirations, even when faced with the diverse challenges of living in a foreign land.

As I raise my children, I always think about the quality of life and opportunities I want them to have, which also extends to the life I envision for myself as I age. Observing retirees in New Zealand, I see people in their seventies-eighties leading incredibly active and fulfilled lives—hiking, participating in community events, and fully enjoying the breathtaking natural beauty. This inspires me deeply. It's not just about ensuring my children have a great start but also about setting a precedent for healthy, active aging.

Align Your Core Values with Your New Environment 

When considering relocation, especially to another country, one of the most crucial aspects often overlooked is the alignment of one's core values with the new environment. This alignment is not just about adapting to a new culture or learning a language; it's about ensuring that the fundamental aspects of your identity and what you value most can thrive in your new home.

For instance, consider the importance of religious or spiritual beliefs in your life. If practicing your faith is central to your well-being and sense of community, moving to a country where your religious practices are restricted or culturally unsupported can be profoundly disorienting and isolating. Similarly, if you highly value freedom of expression, a country with stringent censorship laws might not be the right fit for you.

Moreover, for families, considering the values you want to instill in your children is vital. If you value education highly, you'll want to choose a location known for its educational facilities and supportive learning environment. Or, if you believe in a healthy work-life balance, a country that encourages long working hours with minimal vacation time might conflict with your vision for family life.

Embracing the commitment

According to to commit means “to carry into action deliberately”. Once you've committed to moving abroad part of your life's journey, your path begins to unfold with clarity and purpose. When I realized that living in New Zealand was the right choice for me, I dedicated all my spare time and effort to making this dream a reality. I immersed myself in everything related to New Zealand—connecting with both current residents and those who had made similar moves. I absorbed a wealth of information about the country, from its rich cultural heritage to its stunning natural landscapes, aligning my daily life as if I were already there. This deep dive into research transformed any daily apprehensions into genuine anticipation. The more I learned about New Zealand, the more excited I became about the adventures and new beginnings that awaited me. On our website, we offer a wealth of resources designed to assist you at every step of your journey. You can explore our frequently asked questions (FAQ) section for answers to common queries about moving to New Zealand.  We also provide Resources, these are designed not only to prepare you for your move but to also help you integrate into your new community in New Zealand smoothly and successfully.

Additionally, we offer personalized relocation coaching and comprehensive visa services to address any challenges you might face and to streamline your relocation process.

Managing Costs and Maximizing Opportunities

A lot of the fear or anxiety most of us have about moving abroad also has a lot to do with finances. We let finances dictate our lifestyles, and money guide our decisions. That type of programming makes it hard to fathom that you can “succeed” without having much.

Emigrating to New Zealand can be a significant financial undertaking, and it's essential to approach this aspect of your move with a clear plan. The cost of living can vary depending on your lifestyle and location within New Zealand, but a general estimate for a single person's monthly expenses could range from 3,000 to 4,000 NZD. This includes average rent, meals, and typical living expenses. For families, I often recommend having at least 15,000 NZD in reserve funds upon arrival. This sum should be distinct from the costs related to airfare, visa applications, agent fees, and initial housing deposits; it's intended to serve as a cushion during your initial period of settling in.

Having said that finding the funds to plan a move 30 hours away by plane felt unrealistic even for us. But going back to “Step 1:commit,” all my research led me to realize there are effective ways to ease the financial anxiety that comes with moving abroad.

One effective strategy is securing employment in New Zealand beforehand. English proficiency is a valuable asset in many countries, including New Zealand, and can open doors to career opportunities that might have seemed out of reach back home. Utilize resources like LinkedIn to find job opportunities overseas.

Alternivately if you like security, talk to your current employer. Living in a post pandemic world where many companies are more open to remote and virtual work, your current job may grant your permission to keep your current employment while you live elsewhere. How much of your plans  you disclose is up to you, but it can’t hurt to give it a try.

Find something that you’re passionate about and plan.

Money is only a major stress factor if you let it be. 

Now that you've taken the leap to live in another country, you're on the brink of discovering the income source you need. Yet, there's a bit of hesitation lingering as you contemplate discussing what some may perceive as a "quirky" idea with your loved ones, friends, and colleagues. But rest assured, chances are, those closest to you already recognize your adventurous spirit. Whether it's orchestrating group excursions or embarking on solo weekend getaways, you're the one known for your love of beaches, mountains, and eco-friendly accommodations. Whatever your passion, know that there's nothing to fear when sharing how you're pursuing what brings you fulfillment. Ultimately, this journey is about you and your happiness.

Reflecting on my own experience of revealing my plans to move to New Zealand with 3 young kids, I encountered a mix of reactions. Some viewed it as unconventional, others were curious about my decision to leave a stable job, and, naturally, there were a few detractors. But I refused to let negativity deter me. Instead, I used it as fuel to uphold my commitment.

Undoubtedly, the most challenging conversations will be with close family members. Some may struggle to understand your choice, rooted in tradition or fear of losing your support. Yet, amidst this, there will be those who unwaveringly believe in you. This is the ebb and flow of life, and it demands strength and conviction to stay true to your path. Remember,

 you have what it takes to navigate these discussions and see your commitment through. You've got this!
Honour your emotions

Keep on smiling and embrace the dark side to keep the balance

Certainly, there will be setbacks along the way, especially in your new country where challenges may seem even more prevalent. It's important to cultivate resilience and not allow mishaps or others' delays to throw you off balance too much. Approach each obstacle as an opportunity to learn and grow, maintaining a positive attitude throughout.

Moving abroad is an adventure, akin to living in an empty house with only a mattress on the floor—a situation that can be daunting for some but viewed as an exciting journey through the eyes of your children. Embrace the uncertainty and focus on what you can control. Rather than dwelling on what isn't possible at the moment, channel your energy into embracing the novelty of your surroundings, nurturing your creativity, and finding joy in the unique experiences that come your way.

Do you often debate with yourself? On one side, there's the reassurance that everything will turn out fine, that all the hard work invested will lead to success. Yet, on the other hand, there's the recognition that your departure may be challenging for those you leave behind, and you hesitate to burden your children and partner with your own uncertainties. But it's crucial to acknowledge those doubts; they're a sign that you're on the brink of something truly courageous.

Embrace your apprehensions; they indicate the threshold of bravery. By addressing them, you can preempt them from materializing into actualities. Take the time to dissect your concerns, identify potential solutions, and discern who in your network can offer support. This applies doubly to your children. Naturally, you desire their happiness in this new chapter, yet it's essential to grant them space to articulate their feelings, whether it's sadness, frustration, or reluctance about the move. Encouraging them to express themselves fosters a sense of inclusion and allows you to provide comfort and devise coping strategies together. In doing so, you impart a valuable lesson: embarking on this adventure as a cohesive unit means honouring everyone's emotions, supporting each other through both the highs and lows.