Seven things expats should consider before moving back home

  • reuniting at the airport
Published 2018-06-01 09:35

Expat life can be equally intimidating and interesting. You are filled with motivation to start afresh in a foreign land, which is exhilarating and stressful at the same time. Sometimes, you may even think about moving back home, either out of homesickness, or after having spent a considerable time abroad exploring new cultures and experiences.

Moving back home after having lived abroad is what I call the closing of the circle. You started your career in your country and then gradually felt confident to move to another country seeking better opportunities. You are learning and growing continuously, making progress every day. You have created memories and experiences that will last a lifetime. But for some expats, you start to feel the void of your roots as you start to settle down in the host country. The comfort and ease of the home country make you want to go back to your roots.

But practically speaking, moving back home may not be as easy as it sounds. As an expat who has made great contributions to society in a completely new setting, adapted to a new way of life and way of thinking, you may need to re-evaluate things on a different level.

To help you make an informed decision, I have gathered 7 factors that will help you decide whether or not to move back to your home country:

moving back home
Sketch note by Piyuesh Modi

Check your finances

Think about your finances and whether you can sustain yourself in the host country with the current cost of living. It’s important to also consider the costs of moving back. Consider every aspect of moving back to your home country, the salary you would get for a similar position, rent, mortgage, car payments, the costs of public transportation, etc.

Look at the social circle of your home country

If you have established a social circle in your host country, it might be hard to leave your new friends behind. That being said, a lot of people consider moving back home because of their existing friendships. However, one thing to remember is that as you move countries and discover new cultures, your perspectives and mindsets change and it might be challenging to adapt to people back home, or if there even is a social circle waiting for you.

Are you mentally prepared for the change?

This might seem obvious, but this is a very important question you need to ask yourself before considering moving back home. There are many potential changes in your home country to consider, be it politically, financially, or culturally. You have to be mentally prepared to adapt to these changes if you shift back home.

Check the job market and scopes for you as an expat

It’s very important to look into the job market and find out how much the market back home has changed since you left. Demands might have changed over time, and perhaps you can negotiate a higher salary if your skills are in demand, or have a hard time finding a job if there is no job availability. Make it a point to have a basic idea of what to expect if you intend to look for work back home.

Weigh the pros and cons

Write down a list of everything that you would be gaining and losing by staying in the host country vs. moving back home. Be honest when making your list.

Ponder the real reason wanting to move back

Being honest with yourself might probably the hardest thing you will have to do. Ask yourself why exactly you want to move back. It is important to assess the reasons that you want to go back home, after having put so much effort into moving to another country. Whatever the reason, make sure that it is your decision, and not someone else’s.

Don’t succumb to a guilt trip

Take a decision based on your own honest judgments, rather than letting your guilt drive major decisions in life. A lot of times we feel guilty about having left family behind, so we move back home and let our guilt drive this major life decision. It is important to make your own decisions and not be influenced by what others are expecting of you.

1 Comment
last year

This checklist is very useful and it happened to me. I worked in USA for 7 yrs, I had my house, car, good job, well paying job there. One day I received a dreaded call from home. Come to India for 2 weeks. We need to talk like that. Even though I was reluctant to come, I tried convincing my greencard is in process, I have a mortage, I have a good job, Can I come after some time. Can I come after getting the greencard. "No You must come now" voice at the other end told. Then I packed my bags and came to India in 2007. Then rest is history. My stay was extended to 2 yrs. Then I was entered into a relationship which again due to lack of house in India, partner and the newly born daughter stayed/still staying in in-laws place for 4 yrs out of the 8 yrs of newly married wife. What good it is that after getting married we can not stay in one place due to lack of house, job, money etc. These factors do matter and matter a lot. You may have built a entirely working circle in your place of work. It may be almost impossible to build another circle. Establishing circle is one thing. Finances and stability of job is another thing. When the people at the other end do not listen that creates problems. But in my opinion I have learnt my lesson that a lot needs to be weighed in before moving. Planned yet phase-wise move may be a better thing.