Five Tough Questions to Ask Yourself Before Moving Abroad

Be honest…you’ve wondered.

Your life.

Your new life.

You’ve wondered if you have what it takes to succeed in another country.

Moving to a new country is hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Each country has its own laws, regulations, and rules to follow. I still remember how nervous I felt when I decided to go abroad for college. And that was more than a decade ago.

Every simple detail made me anxious. I doubted myself.

Am I filling out my forms correctly?

How should I answer questions when I’m applying for my visa?

What if my visa gets rejected?

All of my doubts about moving came from not knowing what to expect.

By asking yourself these questions – and answering honestly – you will either be closer to removing any doubts you have about moving abroad, or you’ll save yourself some time and money if you decide that moving abroad isn’t the best decision for the current phase of your life.


Do you know why you’re going abroad?

Before we can even get into specific details about moving abroad you need to ask yourself a very honest question:

Why are you moving abroad?

Most people move abroad for one of three main reasons: work, education, or family.

Your reason for moving abroad would likely be one of those.

Yes, there are more exciting reasons for moving abroad: to fulfill your dreams, and goals, among many other reasons. But pursuing success is made possible through gateways like work, education, and family.

Today, another option is to take time off from responsibilities to travel as a tourist for a couple of months, even hopping from country to country and not being restricted to one place. This article focuses on moving abroad for relatively long periods of time (and vacations don’t count).


How long do you plan to stay?

Ok, so you know why you’re moving abroad.

That’s a great first step.

But do you know how long you plan to stay once you move abroad?

The length of your move abroad depends mainly on how long you’re allowed to stay in your country of choice. Visas provide the permission and the proof needed for your move. Some countries don’t require visas for short visits (usually under 90 days). But during that time, you aren’t allowed to go to school or work. So it’s best to know why you’ve moving abroad – it will help you determine how long you can stay.

If you know why you’re moving abroad, then it’s important to check with the embassy in your home country before moving for requirements that exist for your reason for moving abroad.


Do you want visitors?

Settling into a new place takes time. When moving to a new city or country, you have to get used to the customs, food, and culture wherever you decide to move. During that time, you’ll likely get homesick.

At this stage, you haven’t yet boarded the plane for the official start of your move abroad. But after a few weeks living abroad, you might miss your old way of life. You might miss your friends and family. You might miss little things about home that made you happy.

Visitors can help you to cope with being homesick. Knowing if you want visitors and when they can visit you will give you something to look forward to, and help you avoid feeling homesick.

If you know that you want visitors, but it will be difficult or expensive for a visit, you can also consider going home for a visit on your first vacation if you moved abroad for work, or long break if you moved abroad for school.


Who will you call in an emergency?

Unexpected events happen all the time. While it’s good to be prepared as much as possible, it’s hard to plan for an emergency.

You might miss the last bus.

You might miss a flight, and have no money left.

Or worse, you might get injured.

Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. By definition, an emergency is unexpected. What do you plan to do in an emergency?

In America, when you fill out important documents, you are often asked for an “Emergency Contact” or “Beneficiary.” If something unfortunate happens while you’re abroad, it’s a good idea to know who you can call in an emergency. You can call a family member. Depending on the type of emergency, it might be better to have someone to call whom you trust and lives close by when you move abroad.

How will you cope with setbacks and failure?

You’ve already imagined yourself living abroad.  Everything is great.

But then something unexpected happens. It’s bigger than an emergency. It can’t be fixed in one day.

You lose a scholarship that you need. You fail an important class. You didn’t get a promotion you earned. Or worse, you lost your job. And your visa is attached to it. You feel as though you’ve failed. You might even want to move back home.

How will you handle challenges when you move abroad?

Are you the kind of person who can rebound quickly after a setback? Or does it take you some time to cope or “get over it?”

Before you move abroad, it is helpful to define your work ethic, habits, and personality. Any setbacks or failures you suffer abroad may come as a surprise, but knowing how to bounce back can help turn the experience into a valuable lesson. More importantly, it might help you to continue on with your journey of moving abroad to pursue success.


These are tough questions to answer. You may not have all the answers now, and you don’t need to have them right now. But take a couple of hours to write out answers to each of them. You’ll not only be more prepared for your big move abroad, but you’ll be more determined as well. Answering these questions – and others that you might have – are what you need to answer to remove any doubts you have about moving abroad.

Are there other questions you’ve been asking yourself about moving abroad? What do you want to know?


Thanks for reading.

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Why Your American Dream Doesn’t Have To Be a Lottery

When I came to America more than 10 years ago, I heard a lot of sayings that people used to describe its history. And you’ve probably heard the same too.

“The Land of Opportunity.”

“The American Dream.”

“A Land of Immigrants.”

I could go on. And a lot of these sayings about America are still true, even today.

But it’s the last saying that’s a big hurdle for most people, isn’t it?

If you’re not already living and working in America, you’ve probably wondered How can I work in America?

And if you’ve already been living and working in America for a few years, you’ve probably wondered How can I stay?

One visa has been the most popular. For years, it has been the holy grail of foreign nationals who want to work in America legally.

It’s the H-1B visa.

Applicants in India even have a place where they pray for a successful application called The Visa Temple.

What’s the big deal with the H-1B visa?

Each year, more than 250,000 foreign nationals in the US and around the world apply for an H-1B visa. Only 65,000 are approved for foreign nationals who finish college or university, and 20,000 are approved for applicants who have advanced degrees. And there’s a deadline to apply too. The agency responsible for the visa process, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services even stops accepting applications for the 85,000 visas.

The process is a mystery. H-1B visa applications are approved based on a lottery.

I’m not lucky.

I don’t like those odds.

After spending years studying and doing internships, I would hate to leave one of the biggest decisions of my life up to a random lottery.H-1B Visa


Are there other options?

Yes. In the US, there are about 185 different types of visas. It’s a lot to choose from. Most fall into two categories: visas for immigrants and non-immigrants. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa. It means that the person who has an H-1B visa can only stay in the US for a set number of years. If a foreign worker holding an H-1B visa quits or gets fired and does not change to another non-immigrant visa status, then s/he has to leave the country.

Pack your bags. Bye bye, Uncle Sam.

That’s risky.

It’s even more risky as the US government plans to change how H-1B visas are used by American companies.

Fortunately, with all of these different visas, there are tons of other options for foreign nationals who still want to work, study, or live here in America – legally. And depending on how long you want to stay in America, some visas are even easier to get.

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credits: (1) Janaka Dharmasena; and (2) Stuart Miles at

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