Relationships can be a challenge at the best of times, but when you throw moving to another country into the mix, it can present many different challenges. By Rachael Roberts
It seems like a romantic notion to move overseas in the name of love. Like something you see in a movie. In reality, it can be a difficult choice to take the leap to leave behind your family, country, and everything about your life to be with the person you love.
How it all began for me
Five years ago, I traveled in Bali, Indonesia, and met my husband. After dating for a while, I made the choice to stay in the country and get a job to stay with him so we could see where the relationship would go. Now we are married and have a child, and even though this decision has at times made me so homesick to the point where I feel haunted by my decision, I would make the same choice again if I had the chance because I love him more than anything.
The times when I feel like I made the wrong choice, times when I felt disconnected from my family and friends, or I felt like an outsider in a strange country, these are the ups and downs to living abroad for your love.
#1 Starting from the bottom in a new job role. Before moving to Bali, I had been at university studying psychology and felt unsure of what I would do afterwards. I figured I would spend some time with my partner and then figure it all out later. In the meantime, I enrolled in an online course to teach English as a second language (ESL).
I found a job fairly quickly, but you start again at the bottom of the ladder, no matter what your experience or previous jobs were back at home. It also seems these jobs are so readily available to working tourists who come and go, companies don’t necessarily pay well. Earning more money than what is enough to live month-to-month is difficult here.
On the other hand, the cost of living is much lower than back home, so an average expat’s wage is enough to get by. The best part about working for a school with other ESL teachers was that it gave me the opportunity to meet other westerners on the island, some of which have become very close and helped me get through some of the harder days.
When you live away from home, whether it be a different city or a different country, finding new friends is an essential part of feeling as though you belong.