3 Reasons why moving to a new country or state can be emotionally difficult

Reason 1: Existing emotional issues

When we move to another country or state we take our emotions with us. It is easy to believe that the move, the new beginning will also take away our existing emotional problems, however this is not the case. We take our emotions with us. The stress of a move can in fact enhance any emotional problems, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope with a new situation.

What to do: Deal with the emotions today, don’t wait until you make the move or feel more settled. Find a therapist or coach who understands the emotions involved with a move, as well as the present day emotions that you may be experiencing. Join a group of people in the same situation as yourself. Remember you are not alone; there are many others who feel this way.

Reason 2: Unfamiliarity

When the excitement of a move begins to wear off we can often experience a feeling of unfamiliarity. We no longer know where to buy certain products, where to meet other people, where to go for walks or fun and many other scenarios. The unfamiliarity can lead to a feeling of insecurity and perhaps homesickness.

What to do: Spend some time getting to know your new home town and surrounding areas. Go for walks and drives in your free time and build familiarity. Find a group of people in the same situation as yourself or even start one. Migrant/expat groups are often advertised on the internet, through you embassy or through schools and community centres.

Reason 3: Missing family and friends

It is only natural to miss family and friends when you move to another country or state. Sometimes you may miss them so much that there is a longing to return to the place you have come from. This issue is so common that many people often change their minds about a move within the first few months.

What to do: Decide on specific times to talk to family and friends to keep in touch. Make trips to visit when you can. Make new friends who are in the same position and who understand the emotions. If it all feels too much talk to a therapist or coach who is aware of these issues.

All the above issues and more are addressed in “The Happy Migrant” book available as an immediate download below or on Amazon. I guarantee the book will answer some of the questions that led you to this post …

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About Kama

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55 Responses to 3 Reasons why moving to a new country or state can be emotionally difficult

  1. Sanda Ionescu February 15, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Funny, I was having this discussion with my husband the other day. He was claiming that he has moved easily to four countries, while I was saying that of course it was easy, because he always had the support of a wife or department or friends who spoke the language, handled all the logistical stuff for him, and he just never moved outside the comfort zone of his office and home. It is much harder usually for the family of the career expat, especially since they may not quite see the point of the move.

  2. Kama February 15, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    The responsibility of the move often falls on one person which causes a lack of balance. One person thinking it is easy to move and the other finding it stressful. This is why it is so important to arrange the logistics together and more importantly to agree on the terms of the move before leaving. This is not an uncommon discussion or scenario. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Annie February 17, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    There is a progression of culture shock, much like grief in these situations. It has been established that many of us experience this I know I have!

  4. Kama February 17, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Yes we often forget that grief can be experienced in these situations. We can grieve friends and family we leave behind, familiarity and the life we thought we were going to have. This is a very important topic so thank you for mentioning it. I will write more on this topic.

  5. Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot February 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm #

    I think missing friends and family should be explored now as you can’t do much about emotional issues here – so many to deal with potentially! Too often new expats don’t get out and meet new friends sticking with the old ones on Facebook and endless Skype calls.

    Making new friends is crucial – with friends you can handle anything. But it takes time:)

  6. Kama February 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm #

    Yes Annabel I agree making new friends is crucial! This topic is covered in all the sections of my soon to be released book The Happy Migrant – guide to coping with moving to a new country or state. The quicker you get out and explore and find new friends the quicker you settle in to your new environment.

  7. chris March 6, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    thank you for this article, im presently 2 months into moving to a new country. I did not realise that the difficulties i feel now are very common. I must admit i completely under estimated the move. However, your suggestions bring some relief to the situation.

  8. Kama March 7, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    I am glad the article helped Chris. Yes most people struggle with the same issues after a move yet we all tend to believe we are alone. I hope you start to feel settled soon.

  9. pris March 12, 2011 at 8:56 am #

    If language is not the barrier, the process of adapting is not so much of a problem. At least that is how I felt on the first day I move here. I moved here because of my husband. He did not have problems with the situation. But I did.
    My hobby helped me to cope with moving problem quite a lot. In the sports club I met foreigners too. We communicate in English because we were not yet able to speak local language yet. Although they are no longer here now. Try to find some activities that interest you most, it will somehow help and most of all, learn the language (if the new homeland does not use the same language as yours).

  10. Kama March 12, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    You make some good points. I agree it is important to learn the language and I encourage people to start if they can before moving. Hobbies and attending classes of interest helps a lot. Making friends is really important as you discovered. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Danielle March 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    I’m so glad to have found your blog and to see that you discuss moving interstate in a similar way to moving overseas. In 2007 we were transferred from Melbourne to Sydney, given all the financial and moving help but not cultural or social instruction whatsoever and it is a very different city! In the 18mths we met no-one, not even through hubbies workmates who knew we were new to the city, and we both, frankly, became depressed. In 2008 we were transferred to Nagoya Japan and, even with very little language, it took me 3 weeks to find my way and feel at home, there! It was very similar to Melbourne in many ways, always people happy to point you in the right way and I’d been studying Japan since I was a child. There were an abundance of invitations from Japanese proud to show off their city/country, formal information centres and informal gathering spots for expats and we easily made friends for life. We got back to Sydney in Jan 2010 where, this time, we have at least met our neighbours but no-one else, and certainly noone has suggested they show us around. I tried joining a book club but most people come with a friend and have no interest in making new ones and seem to turn their noses up at someone who isn’t from Sydney, and isn’t staying. I wonder if it’s the same for people moving interstate in other countries, or even within Australia to other cities than Sydney.

    A couple we made friends with from Japan is coming to visit for two weeks so we will be playing tourist with them, and we hope to see Sydney in a new light, through their eyes. I’d try making friends some other way but we’re off to Bangkok for two years from September, so I think I’ll just wait till then!

    • Kama March 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

      Thank you for your post Danielle. Yes often people find it more difficult to move interstate than overseas. Moving interstate can be just as difficult if not more difficult than moving overseas. Everything is different yet familiar which can be a bit disorientating + there is no Expat community to mix with . When I lived in Norway I really wasn’t very happy living where I was living for the first 10 years, I then moved 10 hours drive further South in Norway and I felt like I was in a different country with a totally different culture. Thank you for sharing your story, it is very enlightening and confirming of how an interstate move can be difficult. Have a great 2 years in Thailand!

  12. Meg July 21, 2011 at 12:03 am #

    ’ve moved to a new country more than 1 year ago, happy and cherished every moments of living as I always believe in. But a few months ago, I realized I wasnt as contented as before. I feel empty, though I have many good friends (foreign immigrants as well) but still feel empty, I am not as joyful as before though I am still trying to. I tried to work on it myself as I believe it comes from within, but few months past now, I do not see any sense of feeling better. I have a very beautiful life with my husband (that’s why I immigrated to Europe) but it is the progress of settling in to this country. Culture shock – expected and thought I would just handle it well but there is just too much of differences in every way. Not only the language barrier but dealing with the bank, the government offices, the customer service of the internet service provider, you name it. It is just so different. It left me frustrated, surprised, shocked and wished I could be `immune’ to it. I am working on it being very positive about the changes here, experiencing it, stretching myself to the maximum to accept, I finally broke down today. I hope I could be enlightened very soon.

  13. Kama July 21, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Thank you for your post Meg. I want to tell you that you are not alone with these feelings and that the majority of people who come to see me say the same thing. Often this is a stage of life that we may have experienced even if we had not moved but a move can enhance these feelings + the added frustrations as you have mentioned. I have discovered that in many cases when someone feels the way you do that there is little or no time set aside for the person to do something that is important to them. I don’t know if this is true for you or not as I only know what you have written. I can relate to what you are saying as I have experienced it myself and I would like to encourage you to find some time for you, some breathing space and something you enjoy. If you are not sure where to begin perhaps there is someone like myself nearby who can help guide you or I am available via skype. Please know that you are not alone and there are ways to get past these uncomfortable feelings. Kama

  14. Ryan September 24, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    The hardest thing about moving is losing our friends I belive and the familiarities we got acustomed to over the years. The best thing i belive is to go out there and make an effort to meet new people, join a gym or take up a new sport, Always remind yourself that experincing new people from diffrent backrounds and adjusting to a new enviourment will change you and cause you to evolve to wiser more international individual. Good luck! and remember its not the place you love….its the people !!

  15. Kama September 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm #

    You are so right Ryan, it is the friendships you make along the way that you remember the most and there are several ways to make connections when we really want to. I also believe that these experiences help us to evolve our wisdom. Thank you for your comment.

  16. Kellianne October 13, 2011 at 8:24 pm #


    My husband and I moved to Perth WA Australia from London a month ago and up til today everything was great, or perhaps that’s what they call denial! I can honestly say I know this was the right move for us, but wow i really do miss friends and family soooo much! I’m not going to fall into the ‘whinging pom’ category because Perth is absolutely amazing and the people here have been nothing but welcoming and friendly. I’m not really sure there is any way to prepare yourself for missing those close to you when you move. I guess everyone deals with it in their own way. I look forward to our new life here and have already started meeting people through work / clubs, you really need to put yourself out there which is hard but worth it.

    Good luck to everyone else and it’s good to know I’m not alone!


    • kama October 13, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

      Kellianne. Yes nothing can prepare you for how much you can miss friends and family. My advice for now is to arrange a regular time to skype call with your family and friends. Just knowing that you will be able to talk to them and see them at those set times can make a big difference. What you are feeling is normal and it will get better as you meet new people and venture out. I wish you the best of luck in Perth and hope you have a wonderful time.

  17. Regi October 17, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    Hi there — can really relate to your article with regard to emotional issues & shyness. I moved from Australia to Spain and so there has not only been the usual changes (finding work, friends etc) but also a new language & culture to adapt to. I feel I have tried and do try to establish my new life here but man it’s hard & I feel so useless because I find it so hard. I know you have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and just go for it but lately I know I am suffering from depression as I go through it. I know that being this way will make it even more difficult to make new friends (cos who wants to be with a sad case?) but I can’t deny my feelings. I know I’m able to survive this change but for me personally, it’s really trying. In Oz, although I’m emotionally unstable at times, I had a structure that kept me going – work, friends etc. Here, without that structure, the emotional difficulties & shyness etc are completely magnified. It’s like I have nowhere to hide from them! I feel for others who can relate to me & feel they have no outlet for this internal struggle. It’s tough & yes though I whinge sometimes & feel like such a sad case, I also know I have a fight on my hands to get through this. I hope I get there in the end! Thanks for your article.

    • kama October 18, 2011 at 9:44 am #

      Hi Regi. Thank you for sharing. I have also experienced the different language and culture barrier and yes it can be tough. Sometimes it helps to evaluate whether the move is something you really wanted and to get a new perspective on the situation. If you have a coach nearby perhaps make an appointment and discuss options. A coaching session doesn’t have to focus on emotions or looking at your past etc. A session can be used for discussing ideas, options and possibilities that you may not have seen. I always find it useful after a move to set times when I can chat with friends and family via skype, could you do that? I wish you all the best settling in Spain.

  18. Claudia October 24, 2011 at 5:10 am #

    Being a veteran of living in foreign countries I would like to share some of my still persisting difficulties with the different approaches to life and the different connectedness to a people without the network of extended family.

    Since our first child was born abroad 11 1/2 years ago we have made 5 far moves for professional reasons. I have been able to establish our family in all those settings successfully, we have made friends everywhere and have been part of society everywhere. The children are evolving as successful well rounded versatile individuals, while I have been able to get back in touch with my professional realm after the years with very young children. In some locations I have even been involved in public community planning processes. Despite this success story of ours I have to say that our integrity as a family partly depended on a certain island existence, because there is nobody else who can understand the path we have walked.
    In all those years we have visited our country of origin yearly, maintained our native family language and have kept family relationships to the best of our capabilities. Within the last year I experienced that our extended family relationships cannot be maintained any more, because our limited personal time together is not able to give us a sufficient update of each other’s current lives and communication media can only do so much. Skype conversations do not work with as much time difference as we have in conjunction with the commitments of our life here. Our daughter spent extended time in our country of origin this last summer and starts to feel the different intensity of the connections there.

    Our last move has happened just 1 1/2 years ago and we still have difficult conditions in our current life. I experience exhaustion, feel I will always be subconsciously very different from my environment here and need constant energy to adjust that. I will take your advice to somebody else to take more time to set time aside to recharge sufficiently- I have certainly not gotten to much of that with all the different demands in my life.

    We have had so many great experiences and have certainly become different people in the process of immersing ourselves in differentness. I feel, for us the time is hopefully approaching that we can go back and find good applications for the insights gained. I hope we can still be at home there.

    • kama October 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

      Claudia, Thank you for your open and honest reply. Having lived that life also with children I can very much to relate to your comments. In my book I talk about the need to take a proper holiday every now and then and to keep the connection with family. I thank you for talking so honestly about your experience as so often people will pretend that all is OK. You are right the experience does change us and it is important to be understanding of the changes that will take place. Like you I also feel that I will always be a bit different and wont quite fit in in my own environment. If you would like to write more on this subject I would love a guest post from you. Let me know if you would like to contribute as what you say is very important. Thank you kama@thehappymigrant.com

  19. trish December 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    what if you are moving all on your own after living somewhere for 50 yrs. It’s easy to make friends when your young but leaving everyone and everything you know is devastating. No other choice though.

    • kama December 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

      Hi Trish. Yes indeed that would be difficult to move somewhere new after 50 years. Do you have any hobbies or something you have always wanted to learn? Joining a class is a great way to meet new people.

  20. lady J December 30, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    Hi! I so agree with most of the statements expressed here in your blog and thank you Kama for bringing us to a place online where we can find others in a similar experience..

    I migrated to north america 6 years ago and truly the difference in language and culture barriers are simply too real to ignore. Just as one has shared earlier, it is really tough to go through (better yet, develop) emotional issues that perhaps were very manageable in our home country because you have all the tools, knowledge, support group and just the innate absolute ‘know-how’ in dealing with things and be able to ‘let things roll of your back’ is not a task at all. I came across a a comment on another site of which I truly can identify with.. this woman said: ‘I used to really see myself as a secure person, a capable and intelligent woman, but when I migrated, that is starrted to dwindle.. I find that the more challenges I face which is just partly on the cultural scale has made me more insecure and disconnected to my new environment.. ” She went on to mention that the ‘cultural differences are just part of it, there’s a whole lot more into it and sometimes because you can not express yourself completely without being lost in the process, you are though of a little bit “out there”.’ I can only agree completely.

    Someone also cited the lack of structure like work, friends, familiar places or just the total familiarity of things, the nuances you can and have always navigated and the commonalities that make you feel at home. So I thought moving to another country, knowing how normal, stable, whole, complete and capable I felt and having just quit a month before from a really good and stable job and career, that I was emotionally prepared to embrace my new life with my new husband (but was my long-time boyfriend) in his country.

    All I can say is I have tried everything, I have tried as much as I can to integrate and even try to ‘speak their language’ which would sometimes backfire because maybe I completely translated a joke into english and got lost in translation and it was misunderstood (oh! that’s happened too many a time!!!) I am all ears, all thoughts to find better ways so that I won’t face the next six years or more to just existing, constantly navigating and be stuck to a conversation that’s only filled with safe comments in least thoughts ;-)

    What you said is also beginning to resonate:
    ‘Sometimes it helps to evaluate whether the move is something you really wanted and to get a new perspective on the situation’

    If I may ask, If you’ve tried everything, does it mean the best answer then is just to ‘return home’?
    I love my husband so much that that would be toughest but when should you choose if it involves your happiness and stability in the long run?..

    • kama December 31, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

      Hi Lady J … Thank you for your post. That is a difficult question, is it best to return home? Before making that choice I would suggest looking at your values. What is really importnat to you rather than what should be important to you. There is a values exercise in the first section of my book, or in the mini e-book “Preparing for your Move” once you have completed the values exercise you can then evaluate how many of your top values are present in your life now. What is needed is a true and honest look at your situation. If you are unable to do this on your own then I would suggest finding a coach to help, someone who doesn’t know you and can see the whole perspective. http://www.thehappymigrant.com/e-books/ I will soon be adding a forum to this website for people to have these discussions and find support :)

  21. Cheryl January 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    Lady J, what resonates with you, also resonates with me, ‘evaluate whether the move is something you really wanted.’ My husband, I and my two daughters left South Africa in 2000 due to the fear of crime and moved to Ireland where we lived for 8 years. I never felt settled there and always questioned the move, because now, 12 years on, the people we left behind are still alive. I am not naive to think the crime is not there anymore, but makes me wonder if we over reacted. Anyway, my sister moved to Milton Keynes in the UK and after visiting her there, I really wanted to move there too, it was in my opinion a much better environment for us, a far cry from the little village we lived in in Ireland where there was nothing for my children to do. We moved to Milton Keynes and we absolutely loved it. We lived there for 3 years and then my husand got offered this job in Perth, Australia. We moved last June and 7 months on, the girls and I are very unhappy and just want to go back. I originally did not want to move to Oz, but everyone was saying what a wonderful opportunity it is and that we would be fools not to take it. Husband was very keen and absolutely loves the lifestyle here. He says, what’s not to love?, the beach just 2 minutes away, sunshine, the outdoor lifestyle. And yet, we girls are unhappy. When he first brought it up, I was like ‘No’. We were all really well settled and I asked him what we were teaching the girls about stability, where do we really call home. The day came when the decision had to be made and I was left in the middle, if I say yes, I dissapoint the girls (they didn’t want to go at all), if I say no, I disappoint my husband. I eventually said no, through crying eyes, feeling terrible for my husband, only for the girls to come out of their rooms saying we must go, otherwise we will always wonder. Now we are here, it is extremely difficult. We have gone to some social events and it just isn’t working. I can’t find work, the girls are having a hard time settling in school. Now, the only way back is to leave my husband behind until he works his 3 year contract back because the company paid for the move and we have no way of paying it back. So, ultimately I have to decide to leave him and potentially live without him for the next 2 and a half years, my girls without their father. Very hard decision to make. But, one thing I have learnt, is if you don’t do it with your whole heart and it isn’t something you really wanted to do in the first place, then don’t do it, no matter how much people tell you how wonderful it is. I really wanted to move to MK and I had no regrets. I didn’t really want to move to Perth and I now regret it and have a huge mess to try and fix up because of it. If it doesn’t feel right girls, do something about it. The feeling won’t go away. Ask me, I did it for 8 years in Ireland and I completely immersed myself in the life there and it made no difference. If it doesn’t sit well in your bones, get out. Thanks for reading. x

    • Kama January 13, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

      Cheryl Thank you for sharing your story. It is so good for others to know they are not alone when they feel this way. Sometimes as you say, it doesn’t get better and we know we have made the wrong choice. It’s ok to change our minds and to return home, there is nothing wrong with that. In your case is there a way that you could make the most of the time left in Perth while making plans to move back to the UK?

  22. Sarah Glaspole January 16, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Lots of useful information here, makes you think of what really matters, this post will definatly help with my descision.

  23. Aimee January 18, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    Hello, my name is Aimee And i am 19 years old. i have moved from my home in New york were my mother, twin, 4 sisters, and 6 neices and nephews live to California were i now live with my father and step mother. They are nice people and are helping me get a job school and learn how to drive and i am glad i am here, but every now and then i feel very sad about loosing the friends and familiarity of new york. I have been trying to find place were teens like me who moved hang out to make friends but it has been unsuccessful. I cant go to school until i have been here for one year and a day but i cant wait that long to make friends and i dont know what to do.

    • Kama January 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

      Hi Aimee Thank you for your comment. It can be difficult to make friends in a new place especially if you are waiting before going back to school. Do you have a hobby? If so maybe you can join a class. Sports clubs are a good way to meet people, are there any sports you like? YOur local library and community centres may also have groups or classes that you could join.

  24. lady J January 20, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Hi Kama, thanks for crystallizing the difference between “What is really important to you rather than what should be important to you”.. That is already has brought an internal exercise already and i thank you for that.. I have often found myself in a place to prefer what’s best for someone else thank my own real needs and wants. Perhaps because I came from a culture where saying ‘NO’ is extremely difficult ;-) it has become more empowering though to be able to assert decisions and choices (which is one of the good things though I’ve learned through integration) and to know you have a ‘voice’. I wish though i had learned about this earlier because of the overwhelming situation I now find myself in.. I actually have began seeing a coach once a month (started last October) and she also brought up that suggestion but I have to really study through it because I can not imagine living apart from my husband.. I will get your your e-book (Incidentally, is it available in Amazon?). Thank you so much for your site! You are being used to help many of us :-)

    P.S. to CHERYL — Thank you so much for sharing your own story.. It made such a difference to also find someone in a similar predicament.. and yours by far must be more challenging since you have your daughters to think about. I admire your bravery (this is something I am still trying to develop more to a level that can help me get to a firmer decision) and your statement is true: ‘If it doesn’t sit well in your bones, get out’ — it almost parallels ‘when in doubt, Don’t!’ I will have to really think this out more or I’m leaning towards trying more alternatives.. I am planning to give myself another couple of years since we moved to a more half-suburban and more laid back area than being in the city. This, for the first time in our marriage, has brought my husband and I to a place where we are both in a ‘new environment’ together, so it will give us a chance to build together. Hoping for the best. Thank you again Cheryl.

    AND Sincere thanks Kama :)

    • Kama January 20, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

      Hi Lady J Thank you for you follow up comments. I am glad you are looking at what is really important to you and thinking of your own needs. I really hope you find a solution that suits you and your husband. I have started a forum if you would like to start further discussions as I know you are not alone with these feelings. You can find the forum here http://www.thehappymigrant.com/forum/ The book is available on my website http://www.thehappymigrant.com/e-books/ and on Amazon. Let me know if you have any questions. Thank you for sharing here, I know your post will be beneficial to others :)

  25. Rachel January 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    I was born and raised in Texas. I am the type of person that just staying the night somewhere other then my home would give me the feeling of running. I have a Anxiety and panic disorder. But I fought through all that to move to Colorado, with the person I fell in love with and my three beautiful kids. They seem to adjust better then I am! Going back to that comment of, If it dont feel right or in doubt get out. Well I have been here a year now. It does not seem that long, but it has been. I still feel like I want to go home. The man I fell in love with, all we do is fight. I have a sister back in Texas. Thats all I have left in my family. I lost all my family slowly over the past 6 years. I just wanna go home with my kids. And My Fiancee will not move back to Texas at all! I dont know what to do! I feel lost, lonely lossing control over my relationship. My kids are great thought. I dont understand… He has been all over the US. I have not! Its like he does not understand when I tell him I just dont belong here. I feel so depressed. I am not sure what to do! Any advice would bed great…. Thanks Rachel.

    • Kama January 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

      Hi Rachel. I can be very difficult living with someone who does not understand what it feels like to not belong. If he is used to travel then it is quite likely that he really doesn’t understand. We can’t solve your dilemma in a blog comment but hopefully I can give you a few things to think about. You have mentioned that you and your fiance fight, is this due to your relationship or the fact that you want to go home? I would say that the first call is to find out if you still wish to be in the relationship. If the answer is no then maybe you can easily return home? If the answer is yes then you will need to dig a little deeper to discover how much compromising you wish to do and what is really more important to you. I can’t give you an answer or more information without knowing more about you but I can say that at the end of the day you will need to do what feels right for you. There will be some emotional pain with either choice, which pain can you most live with? Kama. I have started a forum on the website if you would like to discuss further. You can find the forum here http://www.thehappymigrant.com/forum/

  26. Olivia January 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Good article, some great points. I have just moved from Perth (where I was born and raised), to Melbourne. I’ve only been here two weeks, and I’m thinking of home all the time, my parents, sister, brothers, pets (especially my poodle, who i’ve had since he was 8 weeks old, he’s 5yrs old and slept on my bed every night since).
    I moved here to do a 2 year course, not available in Perth, otherwise honestly, I would have stayed there, now that
    i’ve realised Melbourne isn’t that fantastic, it’s just got a lot more shopping.
    My course doesn’t start for another two weeks, and i’m still searching for a job, staying with my older sister and her boyfriend (paying rent once I get a job).
    But I keep walking past a travel agent in the local shops, and seeing cheap one way tickets to Perth………

    • Kama January 30, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      Olivia, what you are feeling is quite normal within the first few weeks. Once you start your course and find a job then you might start to feel more settled.

  27. EV February 21, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    I just came across this article for a while. I really enjoyed reading it. I am about to move to new country and this blog is so inspiring and positive. Thank you so much & Great work!!

  28. RG April 26, 2012 at 6:47 am #

    This relates a lot to me. I’m an exchange student from New Zealand in France and though I don’t feel stressed I am showing all the symptoms. My hair is falling out in clumps, I’m eating heaps, sleeping less and less. I miss home a lot and it’s difficult to be in a country where you don’t speak the language.

    • Kama May 5, 2012 at 8:10 am #

      RG Have you got someone to talk to, perhaps find and expat group?

  29. sad July 22, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    I moved from Melbourne, Australia to London, England. I was excited about the move, I would have my Mum in England who’d moved there 2 years prior, and my new boyfriend was already living there.

    I created my own business which I now work from home, and find that even though I have been here a year and a half, I still feel like I haven’t settled.

    It’s a saturday night, my boyfriend is away on a gig (He’s a comedian), the house is empty, I have no friends and no way of knowing how to make them. The area I live in is cheap as it’s all we can afford, and with it come cheap and nasty people if you know what I mean.

    I work from home so much, I barely leave this small town, I don’t know what I am doing with my life anymore. I am SO lost. I keep thinking about home and everything I left behind.
    I keep thinking it will get better, but I’m so young and time is ticking by, I find myself wondering how to be happy…

  30. sad July 22, 2012 at 6:21 am #

    I should add on to my comment, my Mum moved back to Melbourne after her split with her husband, so I don’t have anyone else besides my boyfriend here now.
    I’ve been seeing a councellor to try and help me get through some of the issues I am facing.

    I have gained so much weight in a year and a half just because I barely get out of the house. I miss everything about home but I am scared if I go home, I’ll lose the love of my life, and feel like a weak person who couldn’t make something of herself in another country.

    I feel like everywhere I turn, I can’t move, I’m stuck, and these feelings make me resent England.

    • Kama July 22, 2012 at 6:31 am #

      Hi, You really are not alone! There are so many people who feel this way. It is good that you are seeing a counsellor when you are feeling this way. I would like to suggest finding an Australian community near you. Here are a couple http://www.okinuk.co.uk/Your-Country-in-UK/Australian-Community-in-the-UK.html, http://www.expat-blog.com/en/nationalities/australian/in/europe/england/ I am quite sure there will be others who also wish to meet some friends. I know you said you live in a rough area but is there anywhere you can go for a walk each day? Walking can be soothing for the soul. Do you have hobbies or a class you would like to take as this can also make a difference. I will soon be in the UK so if I find any other resources I will let you know. Kama

  31. Claudia July 24, 2012 at 2:02 am #

    Hello sad,

    I can very much understand, how you are feeling in your currrent isolation. Living abroad for already a long time, I have noticed, that I sometimes build up my own barriers to finding commonalities with people around me. If you say, that there are a lot of nasty people around, I encourage you to find some organisation that has a higher goal- like churches or social associations. There must be a lot of need for social improvement around you and if you dedicate even a small portion of your time to change things, you will find likeminded people in doing so. It takes a bit of guts, but is bound to get you out of your isolation in a meaningful way! You really are not alone, but need to find a new way to connect!

    • Kama July 24, 2012 at 3:44 am #

      Hi Claudia, Thank you for your comment. I agree connecting is necessary in this situation. Thank you for taking the time to reply to this post. Kama

  32. Man And Van Hire August 4, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    great post.. I really enjoyed going through it and thanks for tips and information!

  33. Sadsuri September 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Hi there. I was reading all this and some of it helps in my current situation. I’ve lived in LA for ten years and five years ago I got married and moved to London, it took me a year to get used to it there but overall I was happy there. My husband and I always planned to move back to LA (he’s from London himself) and this year we welcomed our daughter to the world. So whilst on maternity leave we decided now may be the time to try and move (plus the fact that being a first time mum I was desperate to get to my parents for some support) do in May we came here with the plan that my daughter and I would stay and hubby would remain in UK till mid Sept and I I found work we would make the move. Well I found a job and care for my little one but have now been back in LA for 5 1/2 months now and am unhappy. It doesn’t feel like home to me anymore and I feel like London is home and where we would overall be better off. My husband is coming over in a few weeks and because he is so keen to make this move happen he hasn’t/doesn’t want to take in my experience or feelings for the time I’ve been here…..it’s been rel frustrating and has caused a distance between us as he is excited and I am unhappy…..it’s so odd to come to te place I thought was home only to realise it isn’t home for me anymore. I feel real lost and alone and like no on understands. Any advice would help!

    • Kama September 11, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

      Hi Sadsuri, Sorry for the delay in responding, I have been travelling. This is always a complicated issue. My first thought was that you and your husband have been separated for a while so at the moment your reality is not clear to him. Maybe when he gets to LA then it will be easier for your both to discuss. My suggestion is that you both find out what is important to you individually and together. YOu can find this information in my book http://www.thehappymigrant.com/e-books/ or you can try a simple version. Sit individually and write down 10 things that are really important to you in regards to where you are living. Make sure they are really important to you and not what should be important to you. Next narrow your list to 5 and put these 5 in order. When you have both completed your lists, compare notes. This should give you a clearer picture. Remember there is no right or wrong answer and if your answers are completely different, it doesn’t mean the end of your relationship.

  34. Melinda September 4, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    Hi. Very good post. I actually cried while reading some of them. This is the first time I have read anything to help with coping moving abroad since I arrived. I moved to Europe a month ago and was on the “holiday high” until last week. Now I miss home and friends terribly. I have only met a few people outside of work and I am really homesick. I do not like the country I live and am upset because I don’t know what to do and how to go about making myself fit into this new culture. I miss the simple things back home. This is my first time moving away from home and it is more emotional than expected. I live in Belgium and the drinking, fattening food eating, and smoking are very different. Also the language barrier is frustrating. I miss home and feel very isloated and alone. Should I go back home? How do I cope with the feeling and the process of moving forward and letting go of what was and embracing what is today?

    • Kama September 11, 2012 at 10:25 pm #

      Hi Melinda, Sorry for the delayed response, I have been travelling. The first 6 months are always the most difficult. I would suggest finding a language school for two reasons, one you will learn the language, two you will probably meet others who feel the same way. See how you feel in a month or two. My book on this subject is available as an e-book. Because you are new to the place you will want to start viewing with different eyes. The book is full of tips on how to do this. You can also find a lot of the information in past blogs. The most important right now is to find some friends so you know you are not alone. http://www.thehappymigrant.com/e-books/

  35. Margarita September 7, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    Hey guys, im really really scared probably more thab anyone in hre because well its a long
    story, My parents bought me and my sister from Peru 13 years ago,i was 9 years old back then and we came with a tourist visa but after a few months it expired and so we became illegal. Recently, about 4 months ago , my parents went back to Peru because they were tired of struggling to pay bills, every day it was a struggle for them because they were no longer working and my dad was 58 years old and breaking his bones for 40 dollars a day. So my parents ended up leaving U.S. and they took my 2 year old baby with them, because my parents have always been taking care of him and i feel bad for this because i abandoned my baby to be with the father of my baby. To make a very long story short, i got a plane ticket for December 14 sameas my sister and i’m scared and i feel like i’m not ready to get on that plane, i know my baby needs me and that the right thing for me is to go back , but i hate the though of leaving my baby father (now my husband) and never seeing him again..
    He won’t go to Peru with me, i asked him many times but he says no because America is bad enough to go back to a third world country. I’m already depressed and i’m sure that if i go back to Peru i’m going to want to come back in a matter of a few Weeks…

    • Kama September 11, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

      Margarita, is it possible for you to make an appointment with a coach or counsellor on this matter? These are big decisions you are making.

  36. Chef William April 7, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    i have not read all the comments but I am sure that someone has already pointed out that it is a good idea to take a long vacation of two to three months and stay in the location that you want to move to. Get a feel for the place before you invest any money in it,

    • Kama April 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

      Good idea Chef William :)


  1. The Happy Migrant Social Network ... Soon - January 25, 2012

    [...] to the amount of comments I receive on a particular post I wrote almost a year ago. The post is “3 Reasons why moving to a new country or state can be emotionally difficult” Some of the replies to this post are heartfelt, emotional and full of decision making [...]

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