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The Migrant Experience: 5 reasons why people move abroad

Moving abroad is no mean feat. It’s challenging and demanding and yet, many of us still do it. Why? Well, it’s incredibly exciting, rewarding and adventurous. It broadens the mind and often, it opens up a whole new world of opportunities. 

As part of our Migrant Experience series, we’ve covered everything from missing home to the best things about moving abroad. And today, we’re looking at the reasons why people do it in the first place.

After speaking to our Transfernauts (over 50% of whom have moved abroad), we learned a lot about the reasons why people might decide to migrate.

Here are 5 motivations behind people’s decision to move abroad.

Finding a new job

The most common motive for moving abroad is landing a new job. In fact, according to Statista, this accounted for 13% of the leading motivations behind expats’ decision to move abroad in 2020. 

This motive rings true for a lot of Transfernauts. In fact, it’s why our Marketing Manager, Iurii, moved from Ukraine to Poland two years ago. “I was living in Ukraine when TransferGo offered me a job here in Warsaw,” he says. “It was a difficult decision as I’d already made a life in my hometown and I had to leave lots of stuff behind. But I don’t regret it. There are no special plans to move home so long as I continue to like living here.”


Falling in love is another big factor in people’s decision to move abroad. In 2020, moving to a new country to be with a partner accounted for 11% of situations in which migrants moved abroad.

It was what brought our Principal Product Designer, Vinod from Dubai to India to Germany to Lithuania. Now based in Vilnius, Vinod says, “I moved here as this is where my fiancé is from. We plan to stay indefinitely, but you never know. I believe everything is temporary and things can change at any point. I feel so blessed to have met someone like her in the unlikeliest of places and times. She’s the love of my life and I wish to marry her. Moving abroad has had its ups and downs, but it’s an adventure. I’d recommend anybody thinking about it to be brave and just do it.” 

Better quality of life

Leaving home in search of a better life is another popular reason why people move abroad. In fact, it accounted for 8% of the reasons why people moved abroad in 2020.

So what constitutes a better life? Well, it can mean a number of things. Some migrants move for healthcare, safety and security reasons. Others move for the weather. Meanwhile, many migrants move to countries where the costs of living might be significantly lower. Another reason might be for a more stable economic environment or a higher employment rate.

Studying at university

Moving abroad for the purpose of education is another popular motivation. In 2020, it roughly represented 7% of situations where expats moved abroad. 

For Svetlana, our Growth Manager for Russia, it was what took her from Siberia to Germany six years ago. “When I moved for my studies, I didn’t know if I would stay in Germany or not,” she says. “Emigration is always a difficult decision to make, but I wanted to have more challenges in my life. I also wanted to live in Europe, where the commuting time is five times faster than where I’m from. But now, I consider Berlin to be my home. And I want to stay here for a very long time.”

Personal growth and adventure

Migrants looking for adventure or a personal challenge accounted for 5% of moves abroad in 2020. It certainly makes sense. Moving abroad is a fantastic opportunity to discover a new self and gain a better understanding of who you are as a person. 

According to a study made by AFS and the University of Essex, those who have moved abroad report higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of stress and anxiety. Migrants also reportedly feel more confident as a result of forcing themselves out of their comfort zones. Because of this, they’re happier and more mature, independent and responsible.  

And what better reason to move abroad is there than that? If you’re planning the move yourself, we wish you the best of luck!


Once you’ve moved abroad, sending money home is easy. Sign up now for easy online money transfers with TransferGo.


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