Throw Caution To The Wind: 3 Ways To Successfully Move Abroad

by Sienna Brown

We all dream of that moment when you gracefully hand in your two-weeks notice and decide you’re going to quit your job, follow your dreams and move abroad.

Shortly after graduating from college, I was living in New York City, working at a company I loved and taking home a great salary.

Some would say that is the dream, but I wanted more. Although I was extremely content with life, I still felt something was missing.

Fast forward a year and a half later, and I’m sitting on my balcony in the south of Spain, drinking coffee, enjoying the sunshine and cool breeze.

Since my move abroad, there’s been no looking back. Spain has always been close to my heart. After living in the country for six months in 2012, I knew I had to find a way back.

Being a calculated risk-taker, I figured out the pros and cons (hint: there were very few cons) and then started making moves.

I’ve decided to share some important things to keep in mind when making the decision for yourself, whether you want to move abroad for a year or for the rest of your life:

Find Community.

When I was preparing for my European journey, finding a community of women of color was one of the most important things on my list.

I began Google searching, and nothing really came up. There was a helpful Facebook group and a few outdated blog posts, but that was about it.

Instead of being discouraged, I decided to create the space I was looking for. Before my trip, I started the groundwork to launch Las Morenas de España, a groundbreaking initiative to redefine black travel (and expat life) in Spain.

During the months before my journey and once I arrived, I already felt like I had a community of like-minded people I could connect with in a country I was so excited to start a life in.

Since its launch, Las Morenas has brought together hundreds of people of color who are living, moving or interested in Spain, igniting an extremely welcoming community to those who might not already have one.

Take the time to do the research and find the people you want to be surrounded with when you move abroad. Don’t be afraid to take the extra steps to reach out and make connections.

Use Your Skills To Earn Extra Income.

By moving to a different country where English isn’t the predominant language, you have a skill set that many residents long for. Use being a native speaker to your advantage.

I moved to Spain as a part-time English teacher, but I’ve also been able to use my other skills to bring in multiple streams of income.

Whether it’s through private English lessons or freelancing with different small businesses in the area, I’ve capitalized on the fact English is currently the “most influential language” in the world.

Some people view moving abroad as a way to take a break, but don’t let that mindset take over. Since moving abroad, I’ve encountered so many professional opportunities that weren’t available to me in the past.

There are endless ways to have your lifestyle abroad accommodate your professional career. It might just be the smartest career move you’ll ever make.

Push Fear Aside.

Before making a major life change, there will be a few hesitations, but I encourage you to push your fear aside. You don’t have to be “young,” “well-off” or any other stigma society pushes us to believe you need to possess in order to make the move.

If this is something you’re passionate about, it’s worth it. There will be good and bad days, but moving abroad will be a life-changing experience that will teach you about yourself and the world around you.

Yes, it might mean being away from friends, family, potential business partners, lovers, etc. While that might be a great excuse to not go, remember how beautiful the Internet can be.

As I manage two international teams and want to maintain close relationships with my family and friends, Google Hangouts, FaceTime and Skype have become close companions of mine.

You’ll not only be able to maintain your old relationships, but you’ll also gain so many new ones. You'll be sharing experiences of a lifetime with people you previously would’ve never imagined you'd know.

Push fear aside, keep an open mind and realize this is a journey that shouldn’t be put off any longer. If you’re being drawn to move abroad, take the leap.

And know that I’m here if you have any questions!