Before You Relocate Abroad

Before You Relocate Abroad

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 6:46 am


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Times Square, New York. Credit: Stella Owala

Stella Owala

By Stella Owala

I know you are eager to travel out of the country. I know you can’t wait to set your foot on the soil of the Abroad. I know you have butterflies in your stomach as you anticipate what living abroad will be like. You are anxious and nervous and curious to see that land that is flowing with milk and honey. It’s natural to feel excited about the news that your visa is approved and your dream is about to come true.
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However, before you proceed to the airport, let me tell you some vital things you need to know.
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Before you say goodbye to your comfort zone and to the familiar faces you’ve always known, I want to ask you this question.
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Do you have a plan for this trip you are about to embark?
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Have you sat down to think about your mission abroad?
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Oh yes, you should be armed with a good plan. And even a Plan B just in case the initial plan does not work out as you expected it. So, you can switch to your Plan B. I like to emphasize that it is not a good idea to leave your homeland without setting a clear goal or objectives for travelling abroad. Ensure that you know the path required to achieve your goals.
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Most of the time, people living in the Diaspora do not have honest conversations with their family and friends back home about the true nature of things abroad. So, most people believe life is all rosy abroad. The general opinion is that money is easy to get. They erroneously believe that one could pick these foreign currencies on the streets. They don’t know that Dollars, Pounds Sterling and Euros are not picked on the streets neither do they grow on trees? Nope. People in the Diaspora work their butts off to pay their bills. In other words, abroad is not for lazybones.
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You must have alternative plans, in case the main one fails. In other words, there must be a Plan B or even a Plan C.
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Are you coming to study? Or you are going on vacation? Do you have family members or close friends willing to offer you an accommodation? Are they duly informed of your plans and departure dates? If your answer is yes, then count yourself lucky to have such rare privileges and be grateful to them.
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Now let me emphasize some of the conceptions of immigrants who come abroad with great expectations only to realize that the streets are not decorated with gold or silver.
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As soon as you arrive at your destination country, drop and jettison your crude manner and lifestyle. Welcome to a new world, a new country, a new society, and a new culture.
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Observe your new environment and Listen to good counsel.
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When people offer you housing and food for a period of time pending when you find a job, be utterly appreciative of their kind gestures. And do not have a sense of entitlement, they don’t owe you anything. They work hard for their money so accept their little offerings without showing ingratitude.
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Ensure your stay with them will be seen as a great relief. Render help while you settle in. Help them do a few things in the house. There is always something to help out in a home. Help out in the house chores. Help take out the garbage. Help with the washing of dishes and even help out with the laundry as the case may be. Even, if they won’t allow you to do these things, it’s still good to make an effort; it shows that you can take responsibility and it portrays a sense of gratitude on your part. Your host will be happy to return home from work to a clean house and surrounding.
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Don’t rely so much on your academic qualifications from Nigeria or any third world country. You may be disappointed that your certificate from home will not fetch you a good job with good remuneration. However, there are other jobs that you can take up at this initial stage. Then, begin to plan on how you can upgrade your qualifications. You can register for courses to enhance your chances of integrating faster into the new country.
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The Diaspora world is not for lazy people. If you don’t work hard, you will not be able to settle your bills. And this is crucial and must be taken seriously as failure to pay your bills at the deadline will attract a penalty. Or you will be dragged into a court case for your inability to pay at the stipulated time. It is your responsibility to make your payments when due to forestall any breach on your part. All utilities that you enjoy also come at a cost. Nothing is free. And you earn every dollar, every pound or every euro abroad. There is no such thing as a free lunch, not even in Freetown.
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As long as you’re not picky, there are always job opportunities. So, get your butt off the bed and get something to do. It may not be the best of jobs for someone of your caliber but it will at least put food on your table. So drop your high status. Nobody wants to know if you have a Ph.D. in the abroad when you are still a newbie or a JJC. Get started with the odd jobs or the so-called menial jobs while you seek a well-profiled job that befits your status.
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No matter how tough things may be, never get involved in any fraudulent or drug-related activity. Your new country has severe penalties for offenders of the law. Be guided in all that you undertake and be careful in your actions. The system hardly forgives such crimes. You must bear in mind that having a bad record will prevent you from doing so many things in the future (which includes becoming a permanent resident or citizen). A word is enough for the wise. Learn from the mistakes of others and take caution.
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Learn to be orderly, especially when you’re in a public facility. Most Africans, especially Nigerians are too loud in public. Be aware when you speak on the phone. Be aware when you laugh and when you are in a conversation in a public place. Tone down your voice when you speak.
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All laws must be obeyed, as law enforcement officials and street cameras are there to ensure compliance. Remember, you’re no longer in Nigeria, where anything goes. Failure to comply always attract penalties (red light tickets, speed tickets, wrong parking, stop sign, etc)
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As a person who wants more out of your sojourn, be open-minded.
Ensure you affirm positively and do not allow challenges to unsettle your focus.
Stay firm regardless of all the discouraging events that will likely surface around you. There are likely to be some bad experiences that could dampen your enthusiasm.
Surround yourself with positive people and those who are hardworking and credible.
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Lastly, mingle and network with people from other cultural affiliations. You have a lot to gain when you associate with others who are not from your tribe or country. You will learn new things and also get information about things faster. It has been proven that you integrate faster into your new country when you socialize with the indigenes or locals.
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Be determined to excel through honest channels. Work hard and with patience, determinations and the God factor (Prayer), you will achieve your goals at the right time.

• Stella Owala, fondly known as Simple Dimple, loves to describe herself as pretty eclectic. She is a mix of different things. A little bit of this and that. Stella is a travel consultant, a blogger, writer and an amateur photographer. Stella holds an MA in International Studies from Aarhus University, Denmark where she currently resides.

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One Comment

  • Adeniyi Mahmud says:

    Great advise this is coming at the right time for me Kudus !

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