Moving to Another Country?
THE idea of emigrating is by no means new. Especially since the end of World War II thousands of people have emigrated to other countries. Expressions such as “I have had enough of Europe; it is bursting at its seams—I am leaving!” have not been uncommon. In their search for peace and security many have struck out for other lands, leaving behind their place of birth, friends, homes and relatives.
Ports in Australia, Canada and South America have been the destinations of many. The population of Australia has increased during the past twenty-five years from 7 million to over 12 million, of which more than 2 million inhabitants are immigrants.
Of course, Australia, with four persons per square mile, as compared to 564 per square mile in Europe (excluding European Russia), has good reason to want to increase her population. Right at her doorstep stand Asian population giants, teeming with hundreds of millions of inhabitants—a possible threat, it is thought, to Australia’s vast stretches of virgin territory.
In addition to the motive of dissatisfaction, others have emigrated because they sought adventure, excitement, advancement and riches.
Not everyone has had his dreams come true. Many have learned that you have to work wherever you go, in new locations at times even a little harder and under more difficult circumstances than at home. Some have had their hopes and ideals shaken, and they have returned disillusioned to their homelands. To others the right approach to the matter of emigration has at least brought a limited amount of satisfaction and success.
Problems Encountered in a New Country
We might use as a comparison a tree that has grown for thirty or more years in a certain spot where the soil is rich and the climate warm. Dig the tree out now and replant it in a poor soil and in a cold climate. How will the tree fare? It has been taken out of its natural habitat. After it has been replanted, it may appear to have taken root again. However, soon its leaves may wither and die. Eventually we may be forced to admit that the climate did not suit the tree. One who leaves his place of birth is comparable to that tree. He trades familiar surroundings for a location he may never have seen before in his life.
All can look very attractive on travel folders, but the true picture is not always the same. A photograph does not tell you how hot it will be in the summer or how humid during the night. If you are not used to it, such a climate can make sleep difficult, so that you get up in the morning still tired, with another hot day ahead of you. Nor do pictures tell you of the different customs and foods, or of the problems of learning a new language. And then there is that certain feeling that may start creeping into you in the course of time: “homesickness.” These words are not intended to discourage you from planning to emigrate, but they may help you to take a more realistic view of the subject.
What to Do Before a Decision Is Made
If you are married, consideration should be given to your mate and children. It may be that you want to emigrate, but is that what your marriage partner wants?
If you have reached agreement on moving to another country, go to a good library and get some information about the land of your choice. There you should be able to find helpful material about the climatic conditions, living standards, housing and so forth. Perhaps the embassy of the country to which you want to move can supply you with additional information as to working conditions and the availability of employment. (Some countries give employment opportunities mainly to their own citizens.) In what type of work are you skilled, and is there any demand for such work where you plan to go? Of course, highly skilled workers are in demand almost everywhere.
Then, too, your age should be considered. It is evident that a younger person usually finds it easier to adjust himself to new surroundings than someone up in years. School facilities are poor in some lands. That is something for parents to take into account. The family’s health and medical facilities at one’s destination are further factors that should be thought through carefully before one departs. Anyone who requires constant medical treatment should think twice before going abroad. Also, consider whether the particular climate of the country is going to agree with you.
Do not be misled into thinking that simply because a country is in South America, for example, it must have a tropical climate. Climates may vary drastically even within a country. In Australia there is everything from snow in the south to steaming tropics in the north, the temperature dropping below zero in some places, but rising as high as 110° F. in others.
After you have settled all of these questions affirmatively, further arrangements need to be made. Perhaps you will be in a position to pay for your own passage. If that is not possible, you may be able to obtain assistance through a government program. Of course, in this case certain agreements have to be made. It may be that you already have some friends in the country who will assist you in finding a home and work. Or perhaps a firm that you will be working for will provide living accommodations.
What Shall We Take with Us?
When the time for departure has been set, the big question arises: “What shall we take with us?” Many have made the mistake of selling most of their belongings and then have had to buy the same items again at their new place of residence. Of course, one cannot take everything along. Furniture, for example, will usually have to be sold. However, household goods, tools and clothing will be useful wherever you go. Moving to a hot area does not necessarily mean that no warm clothing will be needed. Many have had to purchase such clothes again from hard-earned money. As regards baggage, keep in mind that if you travel by ship, your luggage will not be limited to a certain weight, and you can take much more than if you make the trip by plane.
How to Make a Success of It
Your success in emigrating depends greatly on your attitude and what you expect. Keep in mind that the way of life in your country of choice may be entirely different from what you have been accustomed to. The first year is usually the most difficult. Constant comparison with how things used to be back home will not help you to adjust yourself to the new surroundings. Make up your mind before you leave that you will like your new home. Try to adjust your way of thinking to the people where you will be living; do not expect them to conform to your way.
Your first step in this direction would be to learn the new language as quickly as possible, if you have not done so beforehand. Make new friends and do not limit your associations to people who have come from the same country as you. Ask others to assist you with the language. Get acquainted with things. Enjoy varieties of food that you have never tasted. Have you ever eaten papaws? Possibly you do not even know what they are. Or how about a pineapple, freshly picked, its juice running down your fingers as you enjoy its delightful sweet flavor?
Perhaps you have come from a mountainous country and are now living by the sea. Enjoy what the sea has to offer. Just as mountains present a breathtaking sight, the sea provides an ever-changing scenic view. Learn something about the background of the country and the people, too. Show interest in their way of life. You will thus make many appreciative friends who will gladly accept you into their community.
So, count the costs in advance, before you ever decide to take up residence in a strange land. And, if you have made your decision, be optimistic and adaptable.