Incidences of young single men and women moving abroad to further their career have been on the rise over the last decade.
So much so that a new phrase has been coined exclusively for this dynamic group of professionals; Generation Expat or Genxpat.
Far from being a daunting prospect, the idea of moving abroad alone as a singleton has become an easy choice to make.
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Should I Move Abroad On My Own?
These days, emigrating to a foreign country for work can offer significantly greater opportunities for a single person than for someone looking to relocate both their partner and family.
Firstly, the faster and simpler mobilisation of just one person offers greater flexibility and speed. Less to worry about.
Companies relocating staff also do not have to pay out extra in terms of remuneration for bigger houses, schooling and extra healthcare cover.
As well as being easier to facilitate a move alone, singles also experience less pressure on them to make the move work.
The conscious burden of trying to integrate children and your partner in to a new country, home and culture can place enormous stress on an individual as well as relationships. By contrast, those making a move abroad on their own only have to satisfy their own expectations and aspirations.
Of course, there are always challenges when moving anywhere new, particularly when you are beyond the immediate support of your family and friends from home. It is therefore important to approach any relocation with the right preparation to enjoy the best opportunities from this unique experience.
With social networking offering us an instant connection with the familiar world of our friends and family, being abroad can no longer feel as isolating as it did a decade ago.
Technology brings people together and can play an important part in maintaining relationships back in the UK as well as offering important emotional, as well as practical, support.
However, the same technology can also play a big part in some people’s lives to prevent integration into their new way of life. The fact is that social media, however entertaining, useful and comforting it is to stay connected with loved ones, cannot and should not replace human interaction.
One of the most important ways in which to make a relocation to a foreign country work well is to establish a network within the new community in which you live.
For some, the importance of this may be based solely on the ability to socialise and explore the local nightlife safely. For others, networking can bring career advancement or identify other opportunities.
There are also those people who would like to maintain a certain degree of routine in their life and wish to find people with common interests (football teams, reading groups or yoga clubs).
The fact is that integrating into your new way of life is an important factor in making the move abroad a success.
Depending on where you relocate to and the environment in which you are working can make this easier or not. Countries where English is a first language or widely spoken are clearly going to offer an easier way for foreign nationals to be able to access local communities.
Companies that employ a similar demographic will also offer a greater opportunity to socialise.
Expat Communities Abroad
If you are relocating to a country that has a very different lifestyle, culture and language to the UK then expat communities can be extremely important in getting the best experience from your move.
To many people, expat communities can signify an outmoded and narrow way of living abroad; one which creates pockets of ‘Little England’.
Whilst, for some, this can still be the case and there are plenty of expats who eschew the chance to experience new cultures and countries whilst travelling internationally. However, most expat communities are organised with a view to encouraging integration with the local way of life and are best placed to be able to help you to do this safely, quickly and affordably.
Having much more experience in living in that location, the community offers an extremely useful network of people who can help in ways you may not even have thought of.
Getting the Right Location
How do you choose where to settle?
When relocating anywhere new the location is an important factor and this is particularly true in a foreign country.
Understanding in advance where expat communities and social scenes are based can make a big difference. There is little point in selecting an environment that isolates you if it just as easy to find an apartment in the heart of an English speaking part of a city.
The same factors should be taken into consideration when selecting any new home; the affordability, the commuting time to work as well as access to conveniences and entertainment such as pubs, shops and restaurants or facilities like air-conditioning, broadband and a swimming pool.
Find out in advance of any move where the expat communities are situated and, even if you don’t intend on immersing yourself within them, make sure you are within easy reach of these for you when you need them.
Being a Women Alone Overseas
Whilst many countries are incredibly safe and offer good gender equality there are also plenty of areas in the world where being a lone woman carries important considerations.
This very much depends on the country you are travelling to but it is recommended that women look carefully at the implications of their relocation to certain areas.
Travelling to parts of the Middle East require careful logistics; for instance, lone women arriving in Saudi Arabia must be met by a male sponsor or relative. In addition, women cannot travel anywhere in the country with a man who is not her husband, relative or sponsor.
The same region can also have restrictive dress codes for women.
Of course, both men and women should exercise sensible safety precautions when living in a foreign country but women should take greater care in being familiar with local laws and cultures.
Would you consider moving abroad on your own? Have you done so in the past?
Let us know your thoughts and views below.