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7 Things I Wish I Knew Last Year About Moving to and Living Abroad

Seven crucial insights I wish I had known before our big move from Turkey to Germany

Last year, I moved from Turkey to Germany with my wife and two daughters to pursue my master's degree. Reflecting on our experiences, here are seven crucial insights I wish I had known before our big move:

  1. Administrative Tasks Take Longer Than Expected

    • It took us 7 months to secure visas for my wife and kids, requiring multiple trips back to Turkey. The bureaucratic process in a new country can be daunting and much more complex than anticipated.

  2. Accommodation Challenges

    • Finding suitable housing in Germany can be highly competitive and expensive. We initially found a place due to flexible budgeting and good timing. However, after a brief return to Turkey, securing a new residence has proven difficult, and I'm still searching for a new apartment.

  3. Schooling for Children

    • Enrolling our six-year-old daughter in primary school was not that challenging. However, we still couldn't secure a spot in kindergarten for my younger daughter. People are registering their children for kita right after birth due to high demand.

  4. Financial Planning is Key

    • The cost of living and studying abroad can be quite high. Effective financial planning, including budgeting for unexpected expenses, was critical. It’s advisable to pay off all debts and avoid credit and credit card debts before moving. Save, save, save—even if you think you have enough, save more.

  5. Importance of Family, Support, and Community

    • The move tested but ultimately strengthened our family bonds and highlighted the importance of support from both immediate and extended family members. Additionally, connecting with local communities and expat groups provided essential emotional and practical support.

  6. Be More Independent, Decrease Dependencies

    • Living abroad has taught me to be more self-reliant. For example, instead of going for a professional haircut every month, I've learned to do this myself, which has been satisfying and cost-effective.

  7. Resilience, Faith, and Working for the Afterlife

    • This experience reinforced the importance of balancing worldly endeavors with spiritual growth. I learned that focusing too much on material success can overshadow the ultimate pursuit of the afterlife. Resilience and faith were key in maintaining our well-being and perspective.

Reflecting on these lessons has not only helped me adjust but has also enriched our family’s experience abroad. These are personal experiences, and results may vary for others.

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