In 2016 I graduated from high school and just a few days after graduation I packed a tiny bag and flew to Madrid and then onwards to Liverpool. Which I decided was my new home. My experience moving abroad was a disaster. Not the city of Liverpool, but my experience. So here I am today to tell you how not to move abroad in Europe so that you can learn from 18-year-old me and not make the same mistakes.
I wish I knew planning ahead actually can be a good thing. I have a tendency to dive head first into projects and not thinking about consequences, which can be a good quality sometimes. But it also gets me in all kinds of hard situations that I then have to solve in like 2 minutes. This was one of those situation. I had a living situation sorted out, but that was it. I had about $200 in my bank account and no source of income what so ever. Don’t think of me as a spoiled child because in my adult life I’ve always made my own money and I have not lived of my parents.
Okay, so I just graduated after 12 years of school. I was tired. But as I mentioned earlier; I had no source of income. And I procrastinated finding one. I procrastinated searching for jobs and getting my National Insurance-number, so that I actually would be able to get a job (spoiler: I still don’t have it). So I did not make it easy for myself. Also remember that I was 18 and never had a “real” job before. Eventually I got a interview for an internship at a museum (which I obviously didn’t get) and after failing the interview SO HARD. I pretty much gave up on life. When I look back I feel sorry for myself.
Realize when things doesn’t work out
You can make it work. No doubt. But I just couldn’t. All trough high school I had been struggling with depression, anxiety and my senior year I was even on sick leave for the most of the year. And let me tell you; to move abroad to a new, foreign country did NOT make it better. So after about a month of panic attacks on the kitchen floor, crying myself to sleep, not having found a single friend and about $0 in my bank account. I gave up. I flew back home and saw myself as a failure for a very long time. I started studying at a university in a new city and tried to forget all about Liverpool and England. But today I’m proud that I tried and also proud that I took the decision to move back home and stop torture myself.
I am not yet at this stage but I will definitely move abroad again in the future. Maybe not in Liverpool but somewhere. I love adventure and I think I would manage much better now. I’m today healthy from my mental illnesses, have work experience and I’m a much more mature human being. So I have not given up. One day I will move out of the country again but I will be better prepared.
Some actual tips on moving abroad
- Be active. Go to the local pub, talk to people and you will probably find friends for life!
- You don’t have to work a traditional job. I wish I realized that I could work online when I was still in Liverpool. Then things probably had turned out different for me. This makes moving abroad easier!
- Save up some “if everything goes to hell”-money before going. I didn’t do this and the fact that I had no money was constantly in the back of my head and made me get severe anxiety. I actually wouldn’t recommend to move abroad without some back up money.
- Plan somethings ahead. I’m all about being spontaneous but when you’re making big life changing decisions, a back up plan can be a good option.
- If you want to move abroad and not have to worry about all these things I just mentioned; trying going as an Au-Pair.