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Relocation/The Netherlands

Emigration? Don't panic! Effective tips from the SkillToStart relocation project in the Netherlands

Job abroad

Even if you have thought it through.

Even if you have decided for sure that there is no going back.

Even if you are convinced that this is your personal growth point - and that you need to move forward.

Even then, emigration will not be an easy decision for you.

"You don't have to drag out the reflection process. It is still impossible to foresee everything - that's one. Secondly, as we have seen in recent years, life is changing so rapidly and unexpectedly that it is useless to make long term plans. If you decided to emigrate - do it. Small steps, but take regular and persistent steps towards your goal."

Nina Rybchak, SkillToStart

Psychologists say: anyone who has decided to change their place of residence experiences stress, regardless of whether their living conditions worsen or improve.

"For the psyche, moving is a great stress because the usual ways of interacting with the world around them are severely disrupted. People communicate differently, speak a different language and have different rituals.

Not only are normal routines different, but everyday life, which has been established at home, has to be built from scratch. Unlike other major stressors - marriage, divorce, job change, death of a loved one - emigration requires many parallel stories to be rebuilt at once.

Also, when you move, your social capital, which helps a lot in life, is often nullified: you are known; you know people; you know who to call; you do not need to explain who you are; you quickly resolve many domestic, family and business issues. This part of the consequences of emigration is called "social death". When one has strongly defined oneself - answered the question "who am I" - through social connections, there is an identity crisis: the connections are gone - the former self is also gone, who I am is now unclear. Much of your former social self will have to be recreated.

You have to adapt to all these changes. This is a manageable task, but it takes up considerable mental resources. So you shouldn't expect to be as cheerful, effective and happy as before for a while," says psychologist Denis Iskortsev.

To reduce the psychological pressure, there are several effective tricks:

  1. Learn in advance the language of the country you are going to. Knowing a few everyday phrases will boost your confidence.
  2. Get to know the culture and traditions of the new country, and preferably the new city. Popular music groups, football teams, fiestas - all this information will help you socialise in the new location.
  3. Ask about the job market needs of the place you are moving to. You might want to think ahead about how you can be of service to your new home and how you yourself can make the most of your new environment.
  4. Gather information about medical care and, if you have children, local schools and education systems.

Being informed is always guaranteed to reduce stress.

"Emigration takes time and money - and it's important to hope less for luck, prepare as much as possible for all the difficulties and believe in yourself. It is not unreasonable to make several different plans so that you are not discouraged if you don't succeed the first time."

Tatiana Dubovskaya, SkillToStart

In today's environment it is not always possible to prepare for a move in advance. There are situations when the main task is to emigrate as soon as possible and it is better to leave other issues for later.

In this case you should understand that the so-called "emigrant stress" can occur unexpectedly at any stage of the move and be prepared for it.

If the move was forced and sudden, try not to lose sight of old friends: initiate communication, share news, create a comfortable virtual environment around you.

Form new connections: look for a community of interest, communicate with neighbours, go to events for immigrants.

"Moving is always a loss of the old familiar world and a search for yourself. At such times, it is important to look for and create new little rituals, find new favourite places and experiences - that is, everything that can gradually make a new unfamiliar place your real home," says psychologist Yana Novikova.

It also helps to cope with the stress of emigration by moving consciously. You need to think constructively: What will I do when I arrive? What will I take with me? How will I spend my first weekend in the new place?

Answering such questions involves planning and controlling the situation. This will help to stop the panic and relieve the feeling of a whirlwind of events that often arises before a departure.

In contrast, the well-known question "Who needs us there?" as well as similar passive-aggressive attitudes of "What am I going to do there?", "I'll probably be lost", "What have I got myself into?" - only exacerbate depression and the fear of change. At the same time, such attitudes do not require answers, because they have already implanted in you the basic idea: no one needs you, there is nothing to do, you will be lost, you should not have got involved.

If such intrusive thoughts arise in your head, try to replace them with positive options: "What interesting people will I meet?", "Where will I go first thing after I arrive?", "How can I best plan my emigration in the current circumstances?".

Being positive and having a constructive attitude towards the situation are very useful skills, but you also need to give yourself time to grieve the loss. You have stepped out of your comfort zone, parted from your past life and are starting from scratch again. There is no need to rush things, allow yourself at some point to put aside psychological advice and just be nostalgic. This will not prevent you from moving forward, on the contrary, it will make room for new experiences.

You can track your state of emigration according to Canadian anthropologist Kalervo Oberg's famous model, which he called the stages of culture shock.

1. "The Honeymoon." You find yourself in a new country, get many pleasant impressions, and feel like a long-awaited guest. This "tourist" period lasts for up to a month.

2. "Gradual disappointment." The newcomer has problems communicating; he or she cannot understand the behaviour of others because of the difference in cultural codes. At the same time he remembers how comfortable he felt maintaining social connections in the country where he came from. Gradually the emigrant starts avoiding public places and interaction with others in order to reduce the number of demotivating mistakes. The locals are attributed hostility and "coldness". The culture shock crisis stage begins.

3. if the previous stage does not end in "rejection" - total rejection of the new culture and a return to the old familiar environment, dissatisfaction and disappointment are replaced by "Reconciliation." The emigrant gradually gets used to the new environment and begins to experience more positive emotions. A feeling of confidence and optimism emerges. Active social integration begins.

4. "Adaptation." Sharp swings from "This is not how it should be!" to "This really is the perfect place!" pass. The person sees the advantages and disadvantages of the new country, but accepts them calmly, without acute emotions. The former emigrant adopts local traditions, customs and behaviours, feels more free to interact with locals and finally adapts to the new place. The feeling of 'foreignness' subsides.

Psychological preparation for the move is very important, but it is just as important to choose the right emigration programme that suits you.

SkillToStart can help you figure out how to obtain a business or study visa to move to the Netherlands.

Emigrating to the Netherlands is real.

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