Hike in nature in winter- Auf Wiedersehen- four challenges of moving abroad2
Travel Stories & Inspiration

Four challenges of moving abroad – and how to deal with them

This article contains some of the moving abroad challenges, such as language. Millions of people have moved abroad and are planning for different reasons, such as love, job, and experiencing different cultures. In fact, in 2017 alone, about 258 million people, or one in every 30, lived outside their country of birth, according to Global People Movements. Regardless of the country you choose to move into, there are some common challenges you would be facing. Here are four challenges of moving abroad and ways to deal with them.

Four challenges of moving abroad challenges- and how to deal with them

There are many challenges of moving abroad. I wrote four of them. This is an article I wrote for joining a writing event. It didn’t win. But it’s okay, so, I would like to share it with you. I moved to Germany in 2019, and while it’s not my first time moving or living abroad, moving to Germany was a big challenge for me. It took me nearly three years to make myself used to everything. From foods, to language, people and lifestyle. But, I’m happy to report that, I have finally adjusted and overcame the challenges and obstacle of moving and living abroad. So, here are four of them.

Lifestyle change

Lifestyle change is one of the most significant challenges of moving abroad. Your daily routine would change drastically from the way you used to live back home. Adjusting to a new environment could be very stressful, especially when you realize that you cannot do things you used to do in your country, like doing things on your own such as shopping for groceries, cooking, or cleaning the house.

But there are certain things you can do to help you make the transition. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings. While living abroad can greatly impact your lifestyle change, you can also use it to take advantage of endless opportunities to discover plenty of fresh things that give you a brand-new perspective. 

Hike in nature in winter- Auf Wiedersehen- four challenges of moving abroad
A trip to nature has become part of my lifestyle

Related read: Stunning photos of winter


Living abroad means dealing with new people who grew up with customs and cultures different from yours. This in itself may pose a challenge as you try to understand and learn about how they do things. You may also have a hard time meeting new friends. But doing nothing to associate yourself with the people will take you nowhere. 

So make your move. If you’re a little shy about making friends due to the language barrier (if you haven’t mastered it yet), you can try making connections with your fellow ex-pats or immigrants. Who knows, you might even enjoy learning about the different backgrounds of these people in the process. You can search for some group online like Facebook groups. There, you might find interesting people with whom you share some common interests. 

Octoberfest Munich
The Germans on Octoberfest, Munich, Germany


Another challenge of moving or living abroad is missing the traditional meals that you grew up eating from your country that are not readily available in your new home. For example, if you move to Germany, they will eat lots of potatoes, bread, and cheese. In the Philippines, these food are considered appetizers or snacks, but in Germany, they are the main dish. 

Don’t fret, it’s not the end of the world. Explore the restaurants around your city and sample some dishes. It may take some time but eventually, you will learn to adjust to the food in your new country.

Most importantly, don’t be hard on yourself. There are some foods you will like and some that will not pass to your liking, which is okay. 

“Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don’t forget the food. You can go for a week without laughing.”― Joss Whedon.

Fish and Obazda and Pretzel
Smoked Salmon with Salad and Pretzel with Obazda

The local language

Learning the local language before moving abroad is essential as it will help you communicate with the people there. This one of the challenges of moving abroad you’d be facing is hard to ignore. 

Technically you might not then be able to use your native language as you have to communicate and use a different one unless otherwise you came from an English-speaking country and moved to a place where people use the same language. There are so many ways to learn and practice the language. For instance, you can watch youtube video tutorials, use language apps like Duolingo, or take online lessons. Most of these options are free. As Nelson Mandela once said,  “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Some people say that moving abroad is an act of courage, and they are right. The process is not always pretty, it is sometimes chaotic, confusing, and at times, depressing and it takes courage to deal with all of that. 

“The best way to get through any challenge is to step back, look up at the sky, breathe deeply in and out, smile if you have to…then dive in.”

― Waylon H. Lewis

Auf Wiedersehen- four challenges of moving abroad
Auf Wiedersehen – A German word for See you again in informal way

Moving abroad challenge in a nutshell

Whatever the reason for your move is, it helps to remember that moving and living abroad is something you can deal with like any other challenge in life. Just be patient, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Embrace all the challenges. One day, you’ll get used to your new life without even realizing it. 

Lastly, as Anthony Bourdain once said, “Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.”

In a nutshell, lifestyle change, language, foods, culture, and people are nothing if you are determined to make the best of moving and living abroad. Remember, Inhale. Exhale. Breath. Deeply. You chose this. You got this. 


Born, raised, and forever loyal to the Philippines. Catherine is a teacher and a BA in Mass Communication graduate who loves anything child-friendly. She loves writing in her diary every day and is in love with beaches, books, Safari, and Tokyo. Her ultimate dream destinations are Madagascar, Mongolia, and Hawaii. Check out her van camping adventures in Europe at vancampingguide.com.

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