The ExPat Returneth

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When Family Doesn't Want You to Move Abroad

Today at the ExPat Returneth, we have a helpful guest post by Melanie Slaugh for those of you preparing to move far from home. The hardest part of moving overseas is the separation from family and friends. The internet has made this situation easier, but skyping doesn't placate everyone. I think most expats have dealt with this situation, and I thank Melanie for these great tips.

Tips for Dealing with Family Who Don’t Want You to Move Abroad
Deciding to move abroad is an exhilarating feeling. The decision is not one that’s made lightly, and can open up an array of opportunities that you would have never been exposed to otherwise. However experiencing new countries and cultures isn’t something that everyone is on board with, and you can get a lot of flak from family members who are against you moving abroad. While you probably will never be able to fully convince everyone that what you’re doing is right for you, there are some ways you can deal with family who is against you moving abroad.
  1. Don’t react negatively to their negativity: By getting defensive you will only fuel their fire and start a war that doesn’t need to be fought. Instead remain calm, disagree with respect, and then move on to a safer topic. If they can’t get under your skin then there’s no basis for continuing the argument.
  2. Let them vent to you: Whether they just want to be heard, are scared for you, or are secretly jealous of the fact that you are able to take such a huge life risk, they likely want to at least tell you their feelings. Is it selfish? Yes. It’s your life and you should be free to make the decisions you want. However it will at least quell some of their misgivings if you hear out what they have to say.
  3. Do your research ahead of time so you are prepared to answer any questions they may have: At some point you’re probably going to be bombarded with questions about the country, its safety, what you’ll do for work, how you’re going to survive, if you’ll be in contact regularly, etc. Do you research ahead of time so that you are able to answer all of these questions knowledgeably. Knowing that you’ve done your homework and aren’t just leaving the country without a plan can help put worried family members at bay.
  4. Avoid voicing any concerns you have to them: While you may want to confide in your family members about any concerns you have about moving abroad, this will only give them fuel to continue to support the idea that you shouldn’t go. Instead talk to supportive friends or contact people you know who have already been through the moving abroad process and voice your concerns to them.
  5. Have family members come visit you: Either before you move or once you actually move abroad, invite skeptical family members to come visit the country with you. Being able to show them the country you are living in can help negative family members put a visual to where you’re going, and see how happy moving abroad makes you. 
No matter how supportive some people will be about your decision to move abroad, there will always be naysayers who disagree with your decision. However it is ultimately just that: your decision. Don’t let negativity sway you from reaching for your dreams, and deal with any negativity with tact and poise and armed with knowledge. At some point people will either begin to understand why you’re doing it or begin to trust that you know what’s best for you.
Author Bio
Melanie Slaugh is enthusiastic about the growing prospects and opportunities of various industries and writing articles on various consumer goods and services as a freelance writer. She writes extensively for internet service providers and also topics related to internet service providers in my area for presenting the consumers, the information they need to choose the right Internet package for them. She can be reached at slaugh.slaugh907 @


  1. Wow, thinking about my own experience I can see how very blessed I was. My family was very supportive of me going to college in the US. (we're from the UK) Then when I met my husband there and stayed they were on the whole very happy for us. It helps now that they can see how well we're doing and even though there are two grand kids and cousins who live an ocean apart Skype really does help.

    1. Hey Natalia,
      So glad to hear you had such great support from your family. And Skype is a wonderful thing, isn't it? The first time we moved to Japan, I don't think the word "internet" was a common expression (I am dating myself) and we made those expensive calls once or twice a month with many handwritten letters between. Technology has certainly made it easier to live overseas!

      I think the support it depends on the family, circumstances, and possibly the place to which you are moving. So glad yours was such a good experience and you found love abroad! And I hope your family enjoys visiting. Thanks for your comment!

  2. I have had to do a huge move myself and it was not easy. It is hard to leave so many people behind but as long as you have the support and look positively you will make it and be ok.

    1. Hey Savannah,
      Where did you move to? We had mixed support when we moved, but we've moved back to Japan three times and I think our family got tired of it the last time.