7 Emotional challenges you are likely to face – and how to handle them!

It's always encouraging to hear how moving to live and work in the UK can change you for the better, but this usually means dealing with some intense personal challenges too. Here we discuss what these could be and how to deal with them if they arise.

I talk a lot about the immense personal growth you are going to experience from living and working overseas. One of the main contributing factors to this growth are the emotional hurdles that you will have to face and overcome. The more challenging they are to you, the stronger they will make you. No pain, no gain as they say!

Whilst in written form these emotional challenges are all going to sound pretty terrifying they really are part and parcel of moving overseas. So don’t panic! It’s just important to be aware that there is a chance you will experience one or some of these. But like I keep saying, forewarned is forearmed! If you know what lies ahead you can hopefully be more prepared to manage them more effectively.

1. Overwhelmed – It’s so easy to feel like a fish out of water when you’re in a brand-new environment with no solid idea of how you are meant to be filling your day. Back home we don’t need to think about our day to day schedule, it’s just habit. Move overseas and woah! Suddenly you’ve no idea where to begin. What‘s the most valuable way to organise your time? What should you prioritise to tackle first? Couple this with adjusting to a new city, that is likely bigger, faster and more crowded than you are accustomed to and it’s no wonder you feel adrift!

My advice is to firstly remember that the familiar environment and routine back home that you now so crave was likely one of the reasons you moved overseas in the first place! Take some time out and dial down the pressure on yourself. Make a concentrated effort to remember the reasons that made you want to come here and most importantly remember all the things you have planned for your time here. Rome was not built in a day, so set some achievable goals for each day and remember not everything has to be done at once. Or come and see us at the BritBound Base for a fix-all cup of tea, or something stronger!!

2. Frustration – as I mentioned above, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the number of things on the ‘to-do’ list when you first relocate to a new country. But what is even worse is the feeling of frustration when you’re close to checking something off only to be foiled by nothing more than unfamiliar circumstances. Be it the reliance on public transit, the lack of knowledge on how to get places or something as simple of not knowing where to buy things or which brands to use! Such small things that you aren’t accustomed to thinking about can add up and it can start to feel a bit like the universe is conspiring against you.

The most important thing to remember is that this is a totally normal experience when adjusting to a new country. Lots of people feel a bit of culture shock when they move overseas and learning these things will come with time. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask. Here at BritBound we’ve pretty much heard it all so there’s no need to worry about asking a ‘stupid question’ – there really is no such thing!

3. Homesick – I think it is fair to say that most of us can be rather starry-eyed about moving overseas. We go into a quasi-holiday mode and coast along loving our new life until suddenly, crash! Bang! We’re missing our home town, our friends, our family and wondering what the hell we are doing over here!

The biggest tip I can give you is to manage your expectations of what moving to live and work here will be like. It's lots of fun, yes, but there are definitely challenges ahead. Just remind yourself that not only are you likely to experience homesickness, but that you are also not alone in this. Everyone goes through moments of it. So you mustn’t beat yourself up for not loving every minute of your experience. Just know that it is something temporary and it will pass.

4. Loneliness – the idealistic view for most of us moving overseas is that we are going to have this instant social circle made up of friends who we’ll stay in touch with forever. And to be fair this will be true, but it takes time. Yes, you can expect to come away from this experience having made some incredible relationships, but they don't happen overnight. You are more likely than not to experience some loneliness, it's tough but it's part of what will make you stronger and develop your social skills.

It can be very difficult to leave your own social circle, friends whom you have known since school, college or uni. Now you find yourself like a duck out of water, having to actually make friends and this might be something you have not had to do in a long time!

What you also might find is that during your first few weeks overseas you’ll probably end up spending a lot of time with people who are fun and exciting, but who you don't perhaps bond with on a deeper level. It takes time to build meaningful relationships, you have to work at them and yourself too! So be ready!

5. Dejected - Relocating to a new city means there are plenty of times where you'll have to experience rejection and it can be incredibly disheartening. There’s nothing worse than finding the perfect room in a flat share or having a great interview only to find out that they’ve decided to go with someone else. Cue the internal reflection, 'what's wrong with me?', 'what did I do wrong?', you ask yourself! It’s so important to remember that these decisions are often not personal. It's simply that for whatever reason, you were not the right fit. Move on!

London in particular is so busy that there can be a lot of candidates vying for the same position and similarly, lots of people competing to get the same room, so of course they can be filled quickly. It can honestly be a bit ruthless! But you'll get there, you might just need to change your strategy!

Sometimes after experiencing the rejection a couple of times you may find yourself afraid to put yourself out there again. It’s such a shared common experience over here and honestly the best advice I can give you is to persevere. While the speed of London in particular can mean more rejection, it also means that there are so many unique and differing opportunities out there. You may not immediately, get the exact position or career job you were planning for, but it’s important to keep an open mind and stay positive. So much of living overseas is about having a bit of flexibility and we see again and again that the right opportunity can be just around the corner.

6. Unfulfilled - We often have some pretty grand ideas of what our overseas experience is going to be like. Visions of European weekend getaways and glamorous nights out in London dominate the fantasy of the overseas experience. But this is often far from the reality. We often have BritBounders come by after a few months into their visa, feeling like they’re just doing the same thing here in the UK that they were doing back home. It's and easy trap to fall into, you crave a familiar routine and all of a sudden you realise you've built a very similar routine to what you left!

It’s important to remember what your goal was for your time over here and to know that you may not get it right the first time! If you’re unhappy in your job or find you don’t have the free time that you were expecting, it’s okay to find another job that will. You need to find the right balance between work and travel for you as it differs for everyone. If your goal was to travel as much as possible you need to make the concentrated effort to prioritise the time and funds for this. If your intention here was career experience and you feel stuck in your current position, then continue looking for the right fit. You really want to make the most of your time here as it’s very likely limited and going to go by so quickly!

So have a strategy for your time here, and know what you want to get out of it. Because there is one thing I can guarantee, your time here is going to fly by!

7. Panic - At some point you are probably going to have a situation that challenges you to the point of wanting to go home. The fight or flight response is going to kick in and your resolve is going to be put to the test! Remember that dealing with challenges and finding yourself way outside your comfort zone is part and parcel with moving overseas.

The key here is to recognise when you are in this situation and then just be ready to remind yourself of the reasons you came over here. The moment of panic is temporary and will pass and you’re a lot stronger and more capable than you think you are.

There are some people who do take flight and head home, it's such a shame when you consider the amount of time, effort and money that goes into coming here. But having spoken to so many people over the years there is one thing I can say for those that take flight (literally!), they'll regret doing so for the rest of their lives!

Remember that if you join BritBound you will have a place to come to when you're feeling out of sorts. Whether it's a cuddle with Henry (the office therapy dog!), or a cup of tea or something stronger, we're here for you. You won't be the first to walk in needing a bit of TLC, so don't ever think you have to deal with these things alone.