Transition Abroad

Making the Transition Abroad – The Do’s and Don’ts

I often wonder, what makes people make the transition abroad, but I don’t think there is a simple answer. We all have our own reasons for wanting to try something new, or for suddenly acquiring a need for change. For me, it was more than the desire to simply collect stamps on my passport, I left home because I wanted to see what existed on the other side of my comfort zone; a burning desire for something more, a curiosity for the unknown. I still have it; I don’t think it will ever go away.


It’s one thing just wanting to change – or recognising that change is necessary – but it can be difficult to then take decisive action, and pursue what it is you really want.


“Leap, and the net will appear.”
– Zen Proverb

I figured I would put together a list that may or may not help people along if they ever did find themselves at a crossroads. It doesn’t matter if we’re thinking about taking that job teaching English abroad or going back to college to study. Sometimes a gentle nudge in the right direction is all we need.


Dwell on negative repercussions

Try not to worry about the what-ifs- the possible consequences of leaping. You’ll likely just psych yourself out, end up staying put in that little comfortable place of restrictive refuge, never moving forward, with little or no opportunities to learn and grow.


Allow others to influence your decision

Ultimately, the decision lies with you. You are looking to do something for the betterment of yourself, and in turn, those closest to you. The reality is that things change and people change, and the right people will stay by your side. You are on your own journey, keep moving in the direction in which your inner compass directs, no matter what.


Put it off any longer

Don’t wait for things to maybe get better in a year or two, don’t wait until you have just a little more money, don’t wait for something to happen. You shouldn’t have to put your happiness on hold; your life begins now, take control.


“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
– Chinese Proverb




Focus on the positives

Think of the endless possibilities, the many benefits of taking a chance. There is so much to be gained from pushing our boundaries and stepping into the unknown. Yes, it’s scary, but it’s also exhilarating.


Take the first step

Pay for the flight. Apply for the job. Reach out to someone. Whatever it may be, that initial action will set the wheels in motion, and the excitement will start to build.


Be open minded

Your expectations may not match up to the reality of the situation as it arises, that’s OK. Keep all avenues open and expect the unexpected. Embrace the change, and ride the wave.


Everyone will have their own unique experiences, and it’s not fair to compare one with the other

One thing that can be said as being true for everyone, however, is that by moving forward with a decision to try something new or to make a change, you will undoubtedly experience some element of growth, and you will learn something about yourself. That fact alone has to be reason enough to go for it, I think.


If there is something you have been thinking about doing for some time but have been putting it off- for fear or uncertainty, or otherwise- whatever the reason for your resistance to change, there comes a time where you just have to listen to your intuition and act accordingly. Your soul will thank you.

“At the centre of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”
– Lao Tzu



Teach, travel and work abroad with EF English First




Post by Patrick Hyland, EF English First Shanghai

Patrick Hyland EF English FirstPatrick Hyland is an Irish native who now lays his hat in Shanghai. He looks to seek out new experiences, learning processes, and methods of progression- physically, mentally, and spiritually- in ways that bring happiness and joy. You can check out his blog, The Irish Introvert.

Click here to learn more about Patrick.