Behind the decision of moving, working and living in another country always lies a feeling; one that gives us the necessary energy to proceed with the action.
I like to call it Migration of Emotion because we take with us our feelings about how it is going to be in the new place to which we have decided (willingly or unwillingly) to move and live. I have identified five big categories of feelings people act upon when they take this decision:
- LOVE: And here there a couple of more sub-categories:
- People marry a person from another country and they decide to follow their spouse.
- One spouse gets a job in another country, and they bring their family along.
- One is a refugee in another country and then the family follows.
- COMFORT—material or emotional:
- Material comfort is when people cannot find jobs that pay enough in their own countries and they travel to another country where their skills are appreciated and rewarded accordingly. They earn money and they feel good about themselves. With this money, they also help their families in their country of origin and that makes them feel good about themselves as well. Feeling good about yourself because you manage to provide material comfort to yourself and for others always feels nice.
- Emotional comfort is the next level. It is when people travel to live in another country, not because they do not earn enough in their country of origin, but because they do not like how they are treated as human beings. Many call it “civilization,” which is more than just money. It is the way people behave with each other; how they speak and how careful they are with each other’s feelings. It is the way the political, economic and social system works, and how are the rules respected. Is your opinion as a human being at least listened to, and then, perhaps, taken into consideration, or does your voice not matter as long as you do not have money? There is a lot to be said here; I know that there is no perfect system or perfect people. At the same time, in some countries these values stand stronger.
- SAFETY—included here are the most vulnerable people of all; those who are experiencing war or an extreme dictatorship. The first thing they want is to know that they can live and their life is safe. Being able to still breathe the next second becomes the biggest priority. The need to feel safe becomes the biggest drive in their process of fleeing. The emotional luggage they carry with them is the biggest and rawest of all.
- Study abroad also comes with feelings of FUN and INSPIRATION. These can be the feelings behind the decision to study abroad. A degree or some credits acquired in a different system and a different educational culture and another language can count when it comes to showing flexibility in a potential future job. After all, we live in a more globalized world than we like to admit.
- EXCITEMENT induced by the travel experience is another feeling, the last on my list, for which people decide to travel. I include here tourism, backpacking, nomadism, and Interrail. People just decide to see what it is like in other places/countries in the world. They either go on holiday or decide to stay, or they travel from place to place, then find something/someone they like in one particular place and decide to stay. As simple as that.
As you can see, when we decide to travel—to move to another country—we all carry with us an invisible luggage: all these feelings, and we may or not be aware of them. Most people are not aware of them, because we don’t really think about them. We just feel them and act upon them.
What makes/made you move to another country?