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The Migrant Experience: The best things about moving abroad

Moving abroad can be tough. But it’s often the best thing a person can do. Whether you choose to move abroad for work, money, relationships or your relentless thirst for adventure, the experience is often life-changing. And boy, do you learn a lot.

Many of our Transfernauts have made the move abroad themselves. In fact, 50% of our workforce are migrants. So it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about moving abroad.

As part of our Migrant Experience series, we spoke to our team about their favourite highlights of moving abroad. Here goes.

It’s easier than you think

Moving abroad is such a momentous thing to do. Often, you can go into it expecting it to be harder than it actually is. With friends and family so far away, how will you build a new social life? If you rely on home comforts, how will you adapt to a brand new country?

Well, the ease of it all might just take you by surprise.

Our Marketing Manager, Iurii moved from Ukraine to Warsaw, Poland two years ago. Now, he’s more settled than ever. Reflecting on the experience, Iurii says, “I’d made a life for myself in my hometown and I had to leave lots of things behind. But I don’t regret it. When I moved, there were so many new discoveries, new emotions and new people. There was a whole new energy. Finding an apartment and meeting new friends was easy. Luckily, I already had some acquaintances so I didn’t feel lonely at first. But then I made sure to make even more friends through meetings, clubs and hobbies. It all helped me to build and live a full life.”

By making an effort to meet new people and try out new experiences, moving abroad is likely to run a lot more smoothly. You, like Iurii, might be surprised by how easy the transition actually is.

Discovering yourself

The term ‘finding yourself’ may be overused, but it’s one of the few certainties about moving abroad. You do discover a whole new side of yourself. By putting yourself into a new situation where most likely everything is different and many things are challenging, you’re testing your confidence, adaptability and social skills. And most likely, you’ll pass these ‘tests’ with flying colours.

Our Growth Manager for Russia, Svetlana, moved from Siberia to Germany six years ago for her studies. She still lives in Berlin today and plans to stay indefinitely. Reflecting on her experience, Svetlana says, “Moving abroad taught me so many things about myself and my culture. Back then, I would never have even thought about certain things I think about now.

“Before I moved to Germany, I worked as a journalist in Russia and one of the last jobs I had was interviewing a space engineer. I asked him, ‘Why do we need to travel to space?’ and he responded with ‘To understand our planet and ourselves better’. I think the experience of moving abroad is a little like going to space.”

The kindness of strangers

Moving abroad often brings another great surprise—the kindness of strangers. Vinod, our Principle Product Designer based in Vilnius, found this to be the case when he relocated from Dubai to India to Germany to Lithuania in the space of 1 year and 5 months.

Reflecting on the experience, Vinod says “One of the things that took me by surprise was how helpful strangers can be. I was laid off from my job in Dubai because of an acquisition and so I moved to Germany after months of struggling to find a new job. To weeks into that job, I was then laid off again because of another acquisition. Feeling desolate, I headed to a bar in Kreuzberg, Berlin. The bartender and I got into a conversation and I shared my story with him. As it turned out, the bartender was also learning how to program and worked at a coding boding camp. The next day, he introduced me to the organisation and I landed a part-time job teaching design as a result. The bartender is no longer a stranger to me, but a very good friend.”

You too might be pleasantly surprised about the kindness strangers provide when you’re living in a new country. Whether it’s somebody helping you up the stairs with your three loads of luggage, or providing some support when you’re struggling with the language barrier in the sandwich queue—random acts of kindness can restore your faith in humanity.

And if Vinod’s experience is anything to go by, you’ll likely come across lots of it when you move abroad.

Memories for life

Finally, throwing yourself into a new life abroad brings the perfect opportunity to discover new passions. And with new passions come new experiences. And with new experiences? You guessed it. You make memories for life.

Whether it’s the thrill of learning to make your favourite local dish alone or meeting new friends you’d never have met back home, there are so many things to learn, discover and explore when moving abroad. And with the culture of your new country being so different to what you’re used to at home, you’ll learn so much about the world and yourself.

Moving abroad might be tough at times, but there really is never a dull day.


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