When I first moved to England, I cried the first night. And the second. And probably the third.
I was so surprised that I felt homesick, overwhelmed and anxious when I had spent lots of time here already. When I started reaching out, I realized I was not alone. The feelings of isolation or anxiety are plenty common with anyone moving abroad. So don’t panic!
I’ve officially survived four months in England and while it doesn’t seem like much, I feel like I’ve jumped the first hurdle of living abroad: feeling overwhelmed. It still creeps up on me from time to time but I’ve conquered the worst of it.
I got in touch with a few fellow Canadian expats.
Here’s how they felt when they first arrived in the UK.
“In my case I was a bit numb when I came to England as it was a not organised or planned trip! I was happy to be the new kid on the block (apart from when people asked if I was American!!) but regularly feel lost/lonely when I feel people don’t get me. I have been here for 15 years and don’t think like them still!” – Sandy, Ontario
“Honestly I loved my first few months here- it was exciting, new but still reminded me of home. I have lived in Japan, South Korea, Australia, and South America and I felt most comfortable here. I had just finished a 21 month contract in Seoul and I knew I would never ‘fit in’ there as a permanent expat. But living in London seemed like a place that I could call home.
Now I have been here 2.5 years and my partner and I are looking for a house to buy, which is pretty depressing as you can’t get much on civil servants’ wages in central London. I have made some friendships here but not as many as I would have liked. However I have been very accepted into my partner’s family and that is amazing.” – Ellie, Ontario
“Its hard to entirely describe how I first felt when I moved to London. It can, I guess, be summed up by excited/scared/nervous/elated. It was a daunting, yet rewarding experience and I have no regrets. I left a great life at home – good job, a nice flat, lots of possessions, and my family & friends.
What London offered me was the ability to live abroad & explore the world from this side of the Atlantic. I was desperately craving some excitement and this move offered that in bundles! There were times I felt alone and overwhelmed, but its all been worth it in the end.
Even now, 10 months later, I still have moments of nervousness or worry, but I am the happiest I’ve ever been, and am embracing all that London (and the rest of the UK and Europe) has to offer.” – Erin, New Brunswick. Check out her stories over at www.expaterinblog.wordpress.com
“I was overjoyed to be here in the UK where my father was born and I am settled and loving every minuite of it. I came over in August and have no regrets at all moving to the UK.” – Marie, Nova Scotia
“When I came here I was excited as I was now living on the other side of the world. My plan was to work and travel for 2 years, needless to say my plan did not work out as I intended. I married the man that I originally came to the UK to go travelling. 16 years later I find myself missing Vancouver a lot, however I am glad I took the chance!” – Stephanie, British Columbia
Everyone has different experiences but I think a lot of expats can agree: it’s an emotional roller coaster. Don’t forget to enjoy the view along the way!