Moving to a new country is always exhilarating, fun and exciting. The idea of meeting new people, learning new culture, exploring the world and many more sound like a dream. It’s about living the dream and experiencing the world at its best. 

Unfortunately moving abroad is not all rainbows and unicorns. There are so many unspoken things about it so here’s my thought.

  1. There are so many paperworks
    I went through a 1 month waiting game for my visa to be approved then another 1+ week waiting for my entry approval. Not to mention some back-to-back email to confirm and ensure that my application is filled with the relevant details and required supporting documents.
  2. Moving abroad for studying and working are slightly different.
    Depending on your reasons, each move is different. When I moved abroad to study, it’s all about excitement, traveling, new friends and crazy adventures. The moving process was less stressful and I didn’t have much to think about. Today, when I relocated for a new job, it’s half excitement and half nervousness. It feels like economy theory, high risk, high return. I might end up liking the country and the job and stay for a little while or I might relocate to another country or back home. There’s no expiration date, not like studying.
  3. I have so many stuff
    I only had a week less to pack – which was a bad idea. So if you’re moving, please spare more than a week. In the past few years, I’ve successfully filled up my apartment with many practical but also unimportant things. So, the whole week the only question that matters is ‘Does it spark joy?’ .

  4.  That I’ve done a great job
    Whether it’s for studying, working, family relocation or anything. When you move to a new country you’ve done a great job. It is because whatever you wish and work for makes you deserve this. Second of all, you’ve successfully nailed the administration, packing and all that emotional happy tear that comes along with it.

  5. The incredible support-system I’d never take it for granted
    Since this was not my first relocation, I didn’t want to make it a big deal. However, in the last two weeks before my moving day, I had received so many gifts, wishes and kind words about my decision. Even friends and colleagues I haven’t talked to for years sent me their kind words. There’s no other words I can describe how grateful I am for this.

  6. Everybody is growing up
    It’s not a farewell, it’s a see you later. Although it’s sad to part ways with family and friends, it’s also important to realize that humans will keep growing. We grow to become a better version of ourselves.This ‘see you later’ moment is like a road intersection. I’m taking a different turn now but I’m gonna meet them at the other road someday and maybe ride on the same street again. That being said, for a while some things might not be as related as it used to be. The people won’t leave.
  7. It’s not like the movies (or series)
    In the movies, moving abroad is always portrayed as swift, smooth and filled with happy-cry moments. No, people. It’s hard work to earn it and it’s only the beginning. There are many hours spent on screen to find an accommodation, many awkward texts/ calls to some friends-of-friends asking for advice or coffee meet up because you know no one in the city and not to mention much money you’d spend to get everything settled.

However, 2020 is a special year for anyone needing to relocate, including me. The pandemic really brings it to another level. As most of you might be aware that most countries closed their borders and the rest have super strict rules for foreigners/ expatriates to enter. It seriously raised all the anxiety up to the roof. 

Kudos to everyone who’s getting through this now. I hope your relocation plan goes as smooth as it can be.



Alifa is a marketer who ended up in tech. A newbie expat in Singapore. She tries to turn her complaints, struggles and memorable moments being a 20-something millennials into a life 'win & learn'; hoping that maybe others would benefit from it. When she’s not writing, she enjoys beaches, workout and pizza.

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