Moving Abroad vs. Moving to Another Part of Your Country

Last Updated:  • Published  •

For a moment here, I would like to invite you to stop thinking moving abroad as a "cool" thing to do.

If you are not careful, moving abroad will derail your life.
Moving to another part of your country, on the other hand, is generally less risky.

Moving Abroad vs. Moving to Another Part of Your Country

If you are thinking of moving abroad, ask yourself this one question:

Why do you want to move abroad?

All of us would have different answers to this question, but it all comes down to one main thing:

We move abroad because we want to unlock something we think we cannot get in our country of citizenship.

The advantages you want to unlock in another country might be to...

  • Have a lower cost of living
  • Live in a country with values that align with yours
  • Earn a higher income
  • Lower your taxes
  • Be around people with values that align with yours
  • Own a more affordable home
  • Get better job prospects
  • Get better dating prospects
  • Live in a country that won't prosecute you for your values
  • and many more

It's easy to think about what you can unlock somewhere else...

But have you thought about what you will lose by moving abroad?

Social media has made it seem like moving abroad is a "cool" thing to do, and it's not rare to come across people thinking their problems will disappear if they move somewhere else.

Sure, maybe that can happen, but what other sets of problems will they have now because they're living in another country as a temporary visa holder?

Typically, the issues people have on moving abroad are about leaving their friends and family, or not speaking the language in their destination country. Personally, I think those are relatively small problems.

Here are 5 bigger problems people often miss:

  1. Becoming a Second Class Citizen and Losing Stability Abroad
  2. Why It's Not Easy Getting a Job Abroad
  3. Is Dating Abroad Easy? Depends on the Country You’re From
  4. Growing Your Finances Without Long-Term Stability Abroad
  5. Getting Healthcare and Education in Another Country

Having lived in 5 cities across 3 countries, I've had my fair share of problems that I've written in the 5 chapters above. Not all of them, but every time someone who has never lived abroad tells me they want to move abroad because it's "better", I really want to sit them down and give them a lecture about how they have to be careful because moving abroad carelessly will derail their lives.

This is also why I wrote this 6-chapter series on the Cons of Moving Abroad as part of my 30-chapter Universal Visa Guide.

On the other hand, moving abroad can also be one of the BEST decisions you make in your life, if you can properly:

Weigh both the advantages you can unlock by moving abroad against the risk you will have as a temporary visa holder.

You'd be surprised how many people are stuck on thinking about the advantages only.

It's so easy to think, "Oh, Country A has this, Country B does that for their citizens, I like how Country C is like that," and then forget about the challenges you will have there as a temporary visa holder.

If you've read or at least skimmed the 5 articles I linked above, then you should now understand that most of the problems you may have when moving abroad stems from being on temporary visas that expires in a few years in your destination country.

If you have permanent residency or citizenship in another country, then the problems described above won't really apply to you.

However, if you don't have permanent residency or citizenship elsewhere, and you agree that you'd experience some of the problems in the 5 chapters linked above, then:

How about moving to another part of your country?

Let's go back to an earlier part in this article, and re-evaluate the advantages you wanted to unlock in a different country.

Now, think about another part of your country, maybe another province, or another state, the countryside even... Can you unlock what you want there?

For example:

  • Is the cost of living lower there?
  • Do you think the population there tend to align more with your values?
  • Can you earn more income there?
  • How about your job or dating prospects?

Moving to another part of your country is less risky because:

  • You will most likely not experience becoming a "second-class citizen" when it comes to your rights to employment and in other parts of your life, and
  • You can also maintain your stability to make financial or family plans for the long term.

It won't be the same if you move abroad on a temporary visa.

At the end of the day, risk is relative.

What is risky for someone may not be for someone else.

I'm writing these articles to hopefully knock some sense into people who keep looking at moving abroad through rose-tinted glasses. They create a certain impression of a country in their minds and they talk themselves into moving there because it checks off a few advantages they want to unlock.

But they never really think about how being on a temporary visa there will affect their lives, finances, career, or relationships.

Travelling is not the same thing as moving. And being on a temporary visa in a country is not the same thing as being a citizen there.

Moving abroad makes sense when:

  1. It is nearly impossible for your country of citizenship to give you what you want in life. Not even in another state or province, or the countryside.

  2. You know you only want to move abroad temporarily for a few years to try living in another country without the expectation to live there for the long term.

  3. You are okay with being treated like a "second-class citizen" and losing stability in one way or another while on a temporary visa. Think about how this will affect your career, finances, and relationships.

  4. You are okay with the risk of never obtaining permanent residency or citizenship in your destination country.

  5. You have citizenship or permanent residency in another country.

Over and Out

By now, I hope these last few chapters have given you a more balanced perspective on what moving abroad really means.

As I mentioned in the first chapter of my Universal Visa Guide:

Moving abroad is a huge decision and you need to overthink it.

  • Moving abroad can be one of the BEST decision you make for your life, or it can derail it.
  • Weigh the advantages you can unlock by moving abroad, and consider the risk of becoming a temporary visa holder in your destination country.

All of these advice is from my experience, as someone who has done it.

I only hope this guide will be helpful to as many people as possible.

More on the Cons of Moving Abroad

The following 6 chapters take on a slight naysayer approach, to counter the notorious social media narrative that moving to another country is always a "cool" thing to do. Moving abroad can be one of the best decisions you can make for yourself... But if you're not careful, it will derail your life.

Back to blog

Hey, Ryan here 🇨🇦


Over the past 10 years, I've lived & worked in 5 cities across 3 countries (Previously in 🇸🇬🇮🇩).

More about me here.

27 years old

12 visas & residence permits granted

18 countries & territories visited

12 houses & apartments lived in