Is it time to go back to your home country?

Published on 2020-02-20 at 08:48 by Stephanie
When we move to a new country, we hope desperately that everything will work out and that we'll stay for as much as we plan to and maybe more. But unfortunately, things don't always work out. Whether it's due to personal circumstances or the law, there comes a time when some expats may have to either move back to their home country or somewhere else. But when you're dealing with a difficult personal situation, how do you know if you should persevere just a bit longer, or it's actually time to move on? We discuss some important factors to base your decision on.

You've been extremely depressed and it hasn't gotten better

It's natural to go through the blues when you become an expat. There's actually a name for it- the expat blues. You're moving away from everyone and everything you're familiar with, and starting over in a brand new place. While it may seem exciting, the move also comes with anxieties about unfamiliar customs and even new languages.

For many, it can be a bumpy road in the beginning. But once they become acclimated, they're content and happy again. For others, however, they might have overestimated their ability to adapt or maybe to be away from the familiarity of home. And it happens! Maybe it is not the right timing either. Either way, you should not compromise on your mental health even though it might be difficult to let go of your expat dream. If it's not working out, then it may be worth considering moving home or to a country you're better suited for.

You're struggling a lot with integrating

Some natives are more welcoming than others when it comes to expats. Maybe it's been years, and you just can't break into any social groups, despite your best efforts. Also, some countries have higher expat populations than others. If you're somewhere where there's barely any around, you may feel even more isolated.

If you're not able to integrate successfully, this can also take a toll on your mental health. This can be especially true if you're facing discrimination and/or harassment and you just don't feel safe in your host country anymore.

Your work or business isn't doing so well

Anywhere from 10 to 50% of expat assignments fail. If you're on a work visa, then you're dependent on your sponsor to fulfil that end of the bargain to keep you in the country. If your employer decides not to sponsor you for the next year and beyond, then you may have no choice but to move back to your home country.

Even if you can stay in your host country without a work visa, that doesn't necessarily mean it's financially prudent to do so. If the economy isn't doing so well and you're made redundant, it may extremely difficult finding another job. For those supporting entire families, it may be wiser to move back to their home countries where they have the support of their extended families.

Only you know what's truly best for you

In the end, only you can decide if it's time for you to go back home. While you can certainly take all these points into consideration, every person's situation is unique. 

Not only is there the mental health aspect to think about, but there's also the financial one as well. Two expats in the same exact situation may make completely different decisions because of differing finances.

So if you have a partner and other family members, it's vital you sit down and have a thorough discussion about leaving your host country. Coming up with a “pros and cons” list can be helpful, as it can help you re-evaluate what you love and hate about the host country. In the end, you may realise it's really not so bad after all!