One of the most useful ways to get information and support about moving abroad is by listening and learning from other expats and their first hand experiences of moving to a new country.

So we have compiled interviews from Expats all over the world who have made the bold decision to move abroad. 

We hope that by listening to their personal stories you will find inspiration and helpful information about how you too can make a move abroad.  

So that before you know it you will be living your dream life abroad!

1. Brief Description of Self…

My name is Amara and I am 38 years old. I am from New York City but have been living in the Pacific Northwest for the last 10 years. I was in the medical field for 15 years but due to my move abroad have recently made a career change into tech. I am in a long term relationship with my partner Kelly who plans to join me in Panama in the next year.

2. Where did you move to and from

I moved from Seattle, Washington to Coronado which is a small beach town on the coast of Panama. The population is about 10,000 people.

3. Who moved with you…

I moved alone but my partner of ten years Kelly will be joining me in the next year. She is taking care of a sick parent and finishing up at her long term teaching job. She came with me several times to Panama while we sorted out housing and visas and deciding where to live.

4. Why did you decide to move abroad?…

Well that is a long and complicated answer. In a nutshell I decided to move because the United States just did not feel safe to me anymore. I am a black, gay woman and the direction of the country both politically and socially has been alarming for me. I have had friends become targets of hate crimes as well as many of my friends, colleagues and family members routinely being affected by injustice.

Additionally the polarization of people and politics wore me down spiritually and emotionally. I was a nurse in the medical field for over a decade and the politics and treatment of people in the medical field was alarming and unsettling. My job required a tremendous amount of me but the compensation was not enough and the hospital staff that ran the hospital was too overrun and overwhelmed to do anything about it.

5. How did you go about deciding what country you wanted to move to?…

Initially I was thinking about Mexico but I was alarmed by the amount of gentrification and overwhelm that country is feeling by American expats. I visited and it just did not feel right.

I have some distant family that is from Panama and I reached out to see if I could visit. I went down for two weeks and toured much of the country. I fell in love immediately. I could not believe what I was seeing. It was a beautiful country, with low crime, and the cost of living was half of what I was paying in Seattle. The people were kind and grounded and so welcoming. I loved the pace of life and the culture immediately. I also visited several medical clinics as I suffer from arthritis and needed to make sure they had good medical care. I was so impressed with their staff and facilities. I also have always wanted to buy a home and knew it would be a possibility in Panama. I decided right away that would be my new home after my first visit.

6. What did you do before you moved that helped you prepare for the move abroad?…

Honestly I did not do that much in retrospect. Because my partner Kelly would be liquidating our house I did not have that much work to do in order to leave. I did get rid of many possessions and belongings and streamlined my life.

I quit my job three weeks after returning from Panama and started to focus on how I was going to make money living in Panama. I knew I could not do nursing there, at least initially so I had to figure out another way to make money. I am an avid photographer and so I started to do some freelancing as a social media manager for some black owned companies. I have a lot to learn but it started to bring some influx of cash.

I found temporary housing in Panama close to where I thought I wanted to live. The house lease was for three months which gave me some time to sort things out.

I had work obviously to do on the Visa which took some time as well. I hired a consultant to help me with the residency permit I was required to have and that was extremely helpful.

7. What was the most challenging part of leaving and moving?… 

I think just dealing with fear of the unknown and second guessing. My entire life was spent in the United States. I was leaving my partner and my parents and everything I knew and loved.

The move itself and quoting my job was actually quite easy. It was the psychological stuff and the second guessing.

8. What actions or choices made settling into your new country easier?….

I think the fact that I had some income starting to come in through consulting was huge. The cost of living is so low that it all felt so manageable.

I also started to connect immediately with the expats in my community. The location I am in actually has a lot of expats so I was able to meet many right away. The expat community is incredible because we are all in the same boat and living the same experience and you have an immediate community.

I also got a job volunteering right away. This helped me get to know my community in a more intimate way and with locals.

9. What has been the best part of moving abroad?…

EVERYTHING! I feel like I am a totally different human being. I feel like I had been brainwashed and scared most of my life. Now I feel relaxed and at peace. The environment you live in can have an enormous affect on your well being and in my case my entire life felt stressful as a gay black woman. I also love how slow life is here and how I am anonymous. I have friends but I am also let alone and can live a beautiful life without knowing too many people or living in fear.

10. What has been the most challenging part of moving abroad?

Leaving my elderly mom but I have gone home several times which has been helpful.

11. What do you wish you would have known before you left or what would you have done differently ?…

I should have done this sooner and I wish I would have learned Spanish. I am trying now!

12. What person, website, resource or app was helpful when relocating abroad?…

Facebook and Reddit are both great resources for expats.

13. Please provide any other information, or thoughts not included in the questions above…

Life is so short. It is never too late to start over. I am almost 40 years old and I have a totally new career, new country and essentially a new identity.

 

Choosing Your Perfect Country to Move Abroad

“Whether you want to move abroad for a career, to study,

for love, retirement, or to raise your family, this engaging, easy to follow roadmap will

help you find the perfect location to start your new life.”

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