Do you regret moving abroad?

(99 Posts)
ODearMe Thu 06-Feb-14 06:59:07

We are considering a move to Australia for two years only initially.

I wanted to ask about your experience of taking the leap-was it the best thing you ever did (and why) or do you wish you had stayed put in retrospect (and why)?

Thank all

SissySpacekAteMyHamster Thu 06-Feb-14 07:04:06

Been away for 6 years and can honestly say it was the best decision to make the leap.

My husband has more time with the children as no more commuting, weather is better, schools are great, children are happy, and we have lots of opportunities we wouldn't have had back home.

Not sure how long we will stay away or if we will ever move back to the UK, however, I would say when we first moved we said we would give ourselves a year at least before deciding whether to stay or go, as you will go through a settling in stage/homesickness stage, and you do get over it!

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Thu 06-Feb-14 07:12:55

No, not at all. But I usually live in the moment, no planning the future and no dwelling on the past which makes it easier for me not to have regrets.

I took the leap almost 15 years ago and I am still not back "home". And I probably never will be back to my native country
It was good because it allowed me to be free and to be myself without the constrain of my family whom, I now realise, I disagree with on almost every thing. It might be selfish but being far from them is good for me.
After 3 years I met DH who was/is also a serial expat. Fate it is!

snowqu33n Thu 06-Feb-14 07:15:29

Best thing I ever did

glastocat Thu 06-Feb-14 07:19:04

We moved to Oz exactly a year ago, best move we ever made, should have done it years ago! But you have to have the right mental attitude and decide this is your home now, otherwise it's much more difficult to settle. so glad I'm not back in the freezing rain!

scottswede Thu 06-Feb-14 07:47:37

Do I regret moving abroad? No
Do I regret moving to the country we moved too? Yes
I have spent most of my adult life working/living abroad (US mainly) so
I (wrongly) assumed this move would all be hunky-dorey.
We have a minute chance of dh getting a transfer down under, which I would jump at.
At the moment we are making plans to return to the UK.
As long as you have done your research and it suits YOU then yes go, have the experience.
A lot of people think just by moving abroad your life will automatically be better. You don't get handed your new life all wrapped up in a pretty box when you arrive at your destination.
Peoples experiences of moving are all so individual. Some love it, some not so much.
If it's only for 2 years though then yes I would do it.2 years will fly in.

LeMousquetaireAnonyme Thu 06-Feb-14 08:10:04

Scott is right, not to have any expectations is a good way to have a good start!
If you think the grass will be greener or that australia will be easy because it is "english" you will set yourself up for disappointment.

SavoyCabbage Thu 06-Feb-14 08:15:48

I do. I regret the gradual erosion of my family relationships.

Despite working hard on them, my mum etc. have a far closer relationship with my sisters children than she does with mine. My dds have never had anyone but me and dh at the school play or to show their gymnastics awards too.

To me, that is more important than any of the things I have gained. I've made lots of friends, but it's not love. Each of the people in my family have three other people who love them unconditionally. Who know us and share our history.

I've also lost my own place in the world. My sense of belonging. First generation immigrants don't tend to feel as if they totally belong. And in the meantime life in the UK gently moves on without you.

Robfordscrack Tue 25-Mar-14 01:29:08

Do I have regrets? No, I don't believe in life you should stand still, you should move forward. Do I feel lonely? Yes, sometimes I have bad days.

TheZeeTeam Tue 25-Mar-14 01:34:12

Absolutely not! But it takes effort, a bit of balls and remembering those close to you who you left behind to make it work.

Skype is your friend. And always have the cost of a return flight home in your checking account, in case of emergencies.

nooka Tue 25-Mar-14 01:36:42

We moved to Canada almost six years ago and are generally very happy, although I do miss family get togethers. My sister on the other hand moved to Australia and was absolutely miserable and has just returned to the UK after four years.

Lots of factors involved as to whether moving is successful or not. You take all your troubles with you and it is a hugely stressful experience, so if there are fractures in your relationships then they will almost certainly grow. If it's a proactive move for all of you and you support each other, treat things as a bit of an adventure and expect things to be different in all sorts of unexpected ways then you are in a better place to enjoy the experience. What is very difficult is if some of you really like the new country and others hate it.

have4goneinsane Tue 25-Mar-14 02:47:55

We moved to Australia almost 4 years ago and haven't looked back. Our move was eased by the fact that my parents had moved here 10 years before (and I'd spent bits of my childhood here), and hindered by PIL that have been so negative and nasty about it all that it's beyond belief

It's not going to be perfect, the first few months will be bewildering, filled with bureaucracy that seems meaningless and circular (Australians are excellent at extremely odd bureaucracy). The food will be different, the supermarket will take you hours because the brands, the packaging and the prices have to be interpreted ... you won't know where to buy school shoes, clothes ... you will miss your friends and your old routine. Some things will seem hideously expensive (bras for example) other things will seem ludicrously cheap (petrol). You will need to learn the local culture and language (yes, even lots of words are different)

But, if you roll with all these things and aren't afraid to ask questions you will very quickly get on your feet and then you can start to live and enjoy and one day you will go somewhere and someone will ask you where you are from and you will answer "Melbourne" or "Sydney" or ... and realise that actually you have settled and it is home.

I would actually advise that you see yourself as going 'forever' if that is a possibility, but with a 2 year get-out clause if all else fails. As a PP said - treat it as an adventure rather than a trial and be prepared to roll with the punches.

Use Skype and cheap phonecalls, some friends and family will stick with you, others will not - you have to be prepared roll with that too.

invicta Tue 25-Mar-14 03:50:47

www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15799571

Why people return back to Uk

GlobalNomad Tue 25-Mar-14 05:42:46

I don't regret it, we've had amazing opportunities and adventures, but I do agree with SavoyCabbage about missing family and losing my place in the world.

DH and DC x3 are all very happy.
But I want to go home.
I've worked part-time for most of the 6 years we've been abroad, and I have friends here.

But now I want to go home before it's too late to pick up out UK life again. However getting back is not so easy from a work point of view (especially as DH needs to take the lead in that and he's in no rush)

In summary, do it ... but don't expect that you can necessarily come back when you want.

KTP Tue 25-Mar-14 06:15:02

We moved to Australia 9 years, initially for two years, see how it goes kind of thing. I don't regret it at all. I miss my sisters terribly at certain moments, and feel very much out of the loop of their lives (can't complain though, as I did the moving). My kids do talk constantly of wishing to visit UK (which is too expensive to do most of the time). They have a rose tinted view of the place as they were too young when we left to remember much of our lives there.

I do know of families who have found themselves bobbing between here and the UK, unable to decide where is best. I feel very sorry for them and their children.

So....overall.....in the words of Midge Ure .......There's no regrets......
We are very happy. DO IT!

No - but you have to be realistic in your expectations, and accept that you will have quite dramatic mood swings / ups and downs in the first year (and in all honesty won't be fully settled even in 2 years) as others have said.

The people who move abroad and hate it are usually the ones whose lives are very intertwined with those of extended family on a day to day/ regular basis or those who expect their new country to be just like the the UK with better weather/ more spending money/ more free time or similar...

echt Tue 25-Mar-14 06:51:13

DH and I moved in our early 50s, and were aware that this probably meant for ever, mostly because we wouldn't be able to get jobs at our old pay grades if we moved back.

I'm sure this coloured our sense of engaging with Australia because we sort, had to. I don't imply that Aus is shite and we'd be back to the UK like shot; we genuinely like it here, for its own sake.

I felt more in with the swing because I was in full-time work within four months of getting there, but still feel the lack of friends. Some of this is because when I look at my UK friends, so many are of many years' standing, and I have nothing like that here. Maybe I'm not so good at it.
Fuck it. I'm crying now.

On the whole though, no regrets. As a pom friend said to me - you have to live where you are.

atthestrokeoftwelve Tue 25-Mar-14 06:58:23

My sister emigrated many years ago leaving the rest of her family behind. I was 11 years old at the time and it was live a bereavement. Mum slid into a depression thta lasted several years ( my sister knew nothing of this) and our Dad died shortly after without ever seeing his older daughter again. my sister has missed family funerals, the birth of my children, we have missed the birth of hers.
My nieces have grown and now have children themselves, but they are strangers. The divisions that emigration has brought to our family have been profound and unhealable.
Now that my sister is a grandmother with little grandbabies around she has now seen the enormity of what she has done. Robbing our mother of the chance to be a part of that greater family, photos and Skype doesn't do it- it's the day to day involvement of he little things that we have missed.
My older niece particularly feels she has never "fitted in" she feels she missed out while she was growing up, having no grandparents, no cousins, no aunts or uncles. She visits the UK, and bizarrely is considering emigrating to the UK- even though she was born in Australia, she feels more at home here in the UK.
My sister is devastated a the thought of her leaving Australia, a bizzare twist.

DrankSangriaInThePark Tue 25-Mar-14 07:02:49

I earn far less now.
The schools are fine for my daughter, but not a patch on the system in the UK.
The universities are deplorably bad and I just hope dd has it in her to want to go abroad herself when the time comes.
Corruption is rife, the country is in deep economic crisis, our flat is tiny.
The weather is either damp or too hot to go out in daylight.

Regret it? Never.

DrankSangriaInThePark Tue 25-Mar-14 07:03:58

Oh, and 2 yrs isn't moving abroad really, it's going for an extended work experience/holiday.

You will just be settling in after 2 years, so be prepared to decide to stay "one more year" like I did. 19 yrs ago. wink

PossumPoo Tue 25-Mar-14 08:26:17

I did the reverse, moved to the UK from Australia just for a few years and we have now been here 5 years, had a DC, bought a house...am I settled? Sort of but it's definitely not where I want to grow old or raise my DC to be honest so we will move again. I was really miserable for the first 2 years, the weather, the food, the sheer size of London etc seemed too much but if you persevere over that 2 year point it does get easier.

And the fact that I know it's not forever helps, even if I'm here for another 10 years smile. But as a pp said, your relationship needs to be strong to start with, you need to be able to find positives in complete negatives and really be up for an adventure.

Good luck.

Pupsiecola Tue 25-Mar-14 09:25:46

Sangria, where are you if you don't mind me asking?

DrankSangriaInThePark Tue 25-Mar-14 09:32:48

Italy. smile

CharityCase Tue 25-Mar-14 12:40:39

We moved to Dubai nearly 6 years ago, lasted 10 months (nothing against Dubai but Dh's job was not as promised due to financial crisis), then moved to HK and have been here ever since. I'm glad we moved here, both my children were born here, I've got a great PT job with my former UK employer and Dh has a much better work-life balance than in the UK, partly because we both have a 10 minute commute. We have made a lot of friends and have a good social life, not least due to having live-in help so never lacking a babysitter. This has been a massive plus for me, as DH travels a lot, so in the evenings I can still get out and play sport or see friends rather than sitting in alone. In short, our quality of life with 2 small children is measurably better than if we were in London.

However, there are sadnesses, such as not being closer to the GPs- my sister actually randomly lives here too which is great. Also, I have drifted apart from some of my UK friends (although not all- some I can still just pick up with on returns to the Uk like I've never been away), and my bestie actually lives in Taipei so she's closer than if I was still in the UK. I go back to the UK every summer with the kids for 3-4 wks and we alternate Christmases. Mum usually comes out once a year as well.

Perhaps it helps that we definitely consider ourselves to be expats (will probably get the right to remain indefinitely in 2 yrs but unlikely to stay more than another 6 yrs). Therefore I can shrug off things that might piss me off/ worry me if I was here forever, like the political situation.

Without wanting to worry you, we moved with the "Let's go for 2 years, make some money and come back" mentality, but actually, it's not a bad way to think about it, because it stops you freaking out. If I'd known in advance that we'd still be here 6 years later I'd have panicked and not come. My advice is to go, enjoy it, and then reappraise at the 18 mo mark.

FromKansasToOzMaybe Tue 25-Mar-14 14:13:06

OP we're in the same boat. Looking at going over to Australia next year, it is very daunting and worry it'd be the biggest mistake we ever make. Then again, if we don't go it might be the biggest opportunity we ever let pass us by....

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