My husband and I have just moved back to Scotland after living in Korea for 2 years! We have been planning for this for 2 years now. We made the decision to go to Korea to work and save money before relocating to Scotland so my husband can finish his law degree and start working. This is not the first time I’ve come back “home” after living abroad so I am a little more prepared for what to expect and the ups and downs of re-settling. Now you would think that moving home after living abroad would be an exciting and thrilling time, and it is! But there are also a lot of ups and downs in the process. This is a big transition! It takes time to move into the next part of your life, and for most expats it can be a difficult and unstable time.
The truth is, moving back home can be even more difficult than moving abroad! Especially for expat teachers who usually have a job and accommodations set up for them in country. Although you’re dealing with cultural differences you have stability in having a job and an apartment which really helps to get you off to a good start. Coming back is a very different experience because there is a lot more unknowns. You basically have to re-settle into your home life again. Everything has changed, you’ve changed, your friends and families lives have changed….and you have a lot to do to get your life set-up again.It's easy to just focus on being excited to be home again, but it's important for you to be aware that it is a big change, it's not always easy, there is a lot of uncertainty, and it takes time! Click To Tweet
After moving back to Scotland and out of Korea for the third time. I want to help you be prepared for this transition and hopefully help you stay grounded as you move through this unstable (but still exciting) time. I’ve put together some tips and advice to help you through this process. I am using these techniques as we speak, to help me with the transition to Scotland.
My Top 5 Tips and Advice for Moving Home after living abroad
1. Have a plan for when you get back
Having an idea of what you want to do when you get back whether that be applying for jobs, going back to school or even traveling again! Think about what you want to do next so you can be prepared for the next chapter! This will help you feel a little more grounded and stable. You’ll have an idea of what your intentions are and how to move forward.
Don’t forget, this plan is allowed to change when you move home. Not everything will go as planned, and that’s okay! Make changes, adapt and figure out what will work best for you. My husband and I initially wanted to buy property right away when we moved to Scotland. However, after talking to some realtors and financial advisors we’ve decided to rent initially and take our time to buy something in the new year. Not what we planned, but we think in the long run it is a better decision for us.
2. it will take time to get settled back into your life
Don’t expect everything to fall into place all at once when you get back. Personally, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to get everything done right away! This can lead to putting a lot of undue stress and pressure on yourself. It can also lead to making less than desirable decisions. There is no shame in taking your time to make the right decision, even if that means it takes you a little longer to get the job, house, apartment car etc.
For example, don’t rent the first apartment you see just because you want your own place. Take your time, think about what you want, do research, consider your budget and long term goals. It may take longer and you may need to couch surf or live with your parents during this time. But! Making sure to get the right apartment will be worthwhile and more beneficial for you in the long run. Trust me this is coming from experience! I have to keep telling myself this just now, while wildly searching the apartment rentals on a daily basis. Just keep working through your to do list and remember to make the right decision for the long term not the decision for right now.
3. Accept help from friends and family
Pretty straightforward here…you’re in a transition ask for help, accept help and be thankful and grateful for friends and family. Just like you reach out when moving to a new country with questions and assistance, you have a built-in community back home. Don’t be afraid to use them!
You can even reach out online to expat facebook groups for tips and advice. I just joined an amazing Expat facebook group for women. You can vent, share your experiences and connect with people going through the same experience. Isn’t social media great sometimes??
If you’re interested in joining the FB group click you can do that HERE (Sorry guys…women only!)
4. Set a daily routine to create a sense of normality
Okay, so ultimately the first couple weeks after returning home can tend to feel a but like a holiday. You’re back home after being abroad, you’re visiting with friends and family. Everyone is excited to see you and you’re not working so you have time to visit and just hang out with everyone. First off. Yes! Give yourself this time. It’s okay to take this time to enjoy being back. I’m telling you….after those first couple weeks, it begins to get real!! So enjoy it and soak in the family and friend time.
After the “Honeymoon Period” wears off it’s important to set up a kind of routine. Especially if you’re not working right away. Get up have a coffee, read the paper, look for and apply for jobs, go for a walk/to the gym etc. This will help you feel a bit more productive and get you back into a more normal routine. Also, do things you normally like to do! Get your nails done, go for a run, join a gym, take tennis lessons, do yoga. Not only will this help you feel normal, it will help you meet new people and get involved in the local community again.
5. Don’t compare yourself to other people
This is the worst! And is the hardest one for me! Getting set up back home can feel like you’re starting from the beginning. It is easy to come back home and see all your friends settled into their life with a job and place to live etc. While you’re just getting these things set up for yourself again. It can make you feel like you’re behind, or need to catch up. Remember why you chose to move abroad in the first place and all the wonderful experiences and lessons you’ve learned from doing so!
Now that you’re back it will take time to re-build your life back home. Relax and just keep moving forward. I promise you (I’ve done this 3 times), you will get back on your feet and settled. But it does takes time, patience, and persistence. Keep working towards your goals, keep learning and reaching out. You WILL get there!
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I hope these tips and advice help you with your own transition and help prepare you for the transition of moving home. Keep in mind these are from my own personal experience. You may have a different opinion or experience yourself. I’d love to hear from you!
Any questions feel free to comment below! What have you’re experiences been moving home after living abroad?