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  • Writer's pictureSean

The Most Common Challenges When Moving to Europe and How to Overcome Them

Updated: Feb 29

Travelling is exciting, and many people jet off on holiday each year. However, living abroad in Europe can be incredibly challenging but equally very rewarding. It brings new experiences, including customs and cultures, new languages, and making friends.

This transition can take longer than you realise and can be pretty stressful. So, it’s worth considering the most common challenges that occur when relocating to Europe, as well as our best advice on overcoming them.

1. A Culture Change

Going on holiday can be a very home-from-home experience. Although you might be staying in a hotel, it is catered towards people from the UK, and many familiar things will be in place. Integrating into a new culture is quite different, and it can shock the system, leaving you feeling somewhat isolated and, in some cases, homesick.

However, if you can be patient and open-minded, you will soon get used to these new ways and feel like a local in no time. The fastest way to settle in is to immerse yourself in the traditions and customs of your new country. Even if you are not quite sure you understand them yet. Be sure to check out local events, and be brave when speaking to locals and getting to know new people.

2. Lost in Translation

The language barrier is one of the most commonly cited challenges when settling into a new country. People may move to another country because of family or friends who already speak and understand the new language. But for most people, it’s all-new, and things get easily lost in translation.

Thankfully, there are many ways to learn languages before packing your belongings and moving. You can download apps, join evening classes and have DVDs or CDs running in the car for your commute. Again, immersion is always the quickest way to acclimatise, so hearing a lot of native tongues speaking the language is going to help your learning progress.

One trick is to watch some films made in your new language with English subtitles so you can follow along and get used to what they say. The most significant difference for most people is the speed at which locals talk compared to the very slow and deliberate conversation you will have as a learner.

3. Differences in Work Styles

If you’re moving to Europe to retire, this doesn’t necessarily apply to you. But if you are working in your new country, you may find more culture shocks await in the workplace. Hours of work can vary; the siesta is still a part of life in some European countries. You may find communication styles are different, and even the etiquette used in business.

To try and avoid any conflict about different working styles. It’s essential that you remain open and communicative with your new colleagues. Rather than blundering your way through, it’s better to ask if you aren’t sure and apologise if you seem to make a mistake. It’s OK to admit that you are new and the work style differs from everything you are used to. Most people respond positively to this, which will help you make new workplace friends.

Different working styles can be avoided entirely by working over the Internet. The new digital nomad scheme enables people to continue their job. No matter where in the world they are working, provided the country is participating in the scheme. The good news is that many European countries are, which means you can continue to work for your employer remotely and not have to shift your work culture at all.

4. Home Seems Forever Away

It’s funny how you can have lived in a new country for a few months or possibly even longer when it suddenly hits you just how far away from home you really are. It takes a long time, and we’re talking years here, to feel at home somewhere, so it’s no surprise that you will miss the place you grew up and lived for most of your life.

Even if you have moved abroad with a partner and children, you can still feel incredibly isolated because you no longer have the familiar support network of extended family and friends. It’s essential that you put plans in place to combat this. A regular Zoom chat with your family might help, and texting your friends.

You can also take the familiar comforts of home with you. Whether it is English teabags, a room fragrance that makes you feel nostalgic, or just your favourite pictures of loved ones left behind, don’t worry if you can’t find your favourite brand of biscuit on the shelves of the local shops. Many websites offer international delivery specialising in classic expat food that nobody wants to give up.

5. Relationship Strains

Everyone deals with change in different ways, and even if this is 100% the move you have planned as a family, relationships can feel the strain while you are getting used to a new way of life. Perhaps one of you finds it easier than the other; maybe someone is out working while the other person is at home with children feeling more isolated. You must work on your relationship during this period.

An excellent way to combat this is to have a weekly family get-together and see how each person feels about the move. Children can feel isolated in a new environment, although generally, they are more robust than adults. But it’s worth having a chat and seeing how everyone feels and whether there is anything you can do to support and help each other.

It can also help to find local expat communities in the area. Europe is a popular destination for people leaving the UK, and most countries have expat groups and events that you will be able to join. Be careful that you don’t isolate yourself from the locals, as it’s really important to fit in with them as well, but joining ex-pat groups can give you more confidence and help you feel a little less lonely if you are struggling in the early days.

6. Navigating Finances

We are all pretty good at managing money and paying bills in our home country. Moving abroad can topple all of your organisation and logical thinking. Make a list of all the monthly bills you must pay, including your utilities, rent or mortgage, food and social budgets. There may be bills like council tax or the equivalent, so you must ensure you understand what the country requires from you.

If you’re currently living in the UK, you are very used to the pound's value and how much most things cost. You would have an educated ballpark guess and almost anything you could need to purchase. However, once you move to a new country and remember that Europe operates in euros, it can be tricky to juggle your finances.

Websites like numbeo.com can be a handy tool. This is a comparison site for currency. It helps you understand the cost of living compared to your current situation. All you have to do is enter your money as British pounds, then select the euro as the new currency, and you will be presented with lists of comparative bills. It is updated regularly, so it stays current and offers information on the average cost of renting, electric bills, a newspaper, a cup of coffee, and anything you need to spend money on.

Before leaving for the UK, you can start thinking in euros. Learn the exchange rates and develop a quick way of converting this in your head. You don’t need to be good at maths; particularly, it will soon become second nature. Think about how much you are paying for your cup of coffee in pounds and then convert it in your head to euros. When you go for a coffee in your new country, you can easily recall the cost at home and see if it is a good value or whether you need to find a new café.

The Takeaway

Above all, remember to stay calm and accept that feeling at home in a new place will take some time. Lean back on your support network, and keep talking about how you feel. Pretty soon, you will feel like you have been there forever.

If you are looking for a European removal company to ensure you get to your new destination stress-free and safely. Why not consider the expert international removal services we offer here at Pinnacle Removals?

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