In today’s world we have the most mobile population in history. Though in times of crisis such as the pandemic, it may not feel that way it is still true that people have much more ability to move countries, than any other era in history.
It is more common to move from city to city or from a particular area or county of one country to another but numerous people every day take the larger plunge and move from the country they are living in to an alternative. To actually move countries is a big decision, especially so if it is your country of birth that you are leaving. There is a great deal of support infrastructure and familiarity that will be left behind. With all of the investment in family and friends built up over the years, the deep knowledge of the culture and geographical area you live in what are the factors that drive people to move and give it all up for something else?
One of the most common reasons people move abroad is to find a better life. When people talk of ‘a better life’ or ‘lifestyle’ they generally mean the quality of that life so we will look at just what goes into determining quality of life.
It should also be noted that moving to find a better life can be prompted by a pull towards something that fits better or by a desire to leave behind things that you now find undesirable. Some examples of aspects of a country that may prompt a desire to leave are prevailing politics that do not fit your moral compass, or weather that you find inclement at times or it may just be current social attitudes that have become normalised do not suit your own outlook on life.
All of these things are aspects of quality of life. A somewhat fuller list might include:
- A stable and peaceful political environment as mentioned above.
- Pleasant weather that facilitates the enjoyment of outdoor activities and does not need any great preparation to endure.
- An outdoor environment to enjoy in the good weather. For example, you may move from a landlocked country to one with a coastal seafront. It may be that great swathes of natural forest are what give you peace and enjoyment.
- Good health provision and infrastructure.
- Low crime rates giving an environment in which you feel safe.
- Great educational opportunities.
- A community of individuals both like minded and enough disparate views to provide ongoing stimulation and interest.
- More value for money in terms of property that is affordable at your income level.
- Plentiful job opportunities.
- Good transportation links to the region and the rest of the world.
For some a better life may mean moving to be with the one they love and have chosen to be their life partner. The bonding unit of two people can contribute greatly to the feeling of a better life.
Better value for money
Related to the point around more house for your money potentially is overall lower costs of living.
There are many demands that vie for our money. Housing, food, medical costs, transportation to name but a few. Differing countries have differing costs related to base income levels. If you are close to retirement and watching your income which you know is fixed, then being able to get and do more for your money is very important to you. If you are still earning but maybe have a family and are able to earn the same income as at present but have it go further this is a huge boon. It means that you can afford more for the family, you have to scrimp and save a little less.
All of these have at least two immediate impacts. Your lifestyle as per the first reason is likely to improve as you can afford more and have more options and flexibility. The other aspect is that your stress levels are likely to be lower. You are going to be less worried, if at all, about whether you can or cannot meet the monthly bills.
Opportunities to study
Another common reason to move countries is for the sake of study. Often academic endeavour. There are places that have become world renowned for particular specialities, MIT for science and technology for example. Or you may wish to enrol in one of the other greats of the world learning arena such as Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard or Princeton.
It may be not just the institution, but it may be a desire for full immersion in the culture while learning about it. An English linguistics student may choose to move to Germany or Spain for a year or more in order to study the language in the culture that spawned it.
Professionals in the field of medicine or nuclear physics have moved for decades at a time to areas where there are the resources and specialities for that particular study. Moving to a new country does not always have to be a permanent exercise, sometimes it is for a finite period even though that may extend to years.
In today’s highly mobile world opportunities for work are global. It may be that a position has come up either in your current organisation or at another that is just too good to pass up in terms of where you want to go with your career, but it is in another country and cannot be done remotely, maybe because of time zone considerations.
A surprising number of people do move to further career aspirations. Sometimes solo and other times moving entire families with them.
Going out there to see
The final reason for moving to a new country that we will look at relates to the immersion in culture as in the study motivation. Sometimes, especially after a holiday in a location, people can be bitten by the bug.
There is the desire to fulfil your curiosity, to find out more and broaden your outlook and horizons. To have new adventures and learn new things. Humans as a species are infinitely curious and sometimes a move can be to satisfy that curiosity itch and the desire for the new and different.