Back in October 2012, I left the concrete jungle of NYC and moved to Seoul, Korea for a two year expat experience working for a major Korean chaebol. At the time, a lot of people looked at me skeptically ("Are you sure??"); a few people applauded me ("You're my hero!"). Apart from what others thought, I felt very ready for a change in my life.
Fast-forward two years and I'm very happily back in NYC and now I have friends or meet people who are in the same situation I was in two years ago. They feel like they want change. They want to feel like there is forward movement in life. They've been in NYC for what feels like a very long time and, hey, even in this majestic city, things can get old. Maybe career-wise, personal life-wise, they feel like they're stuck, in a rut.
People ask me about my motivations to move and why I did it and whether I liked my experience so here are some thoughts as you consider your own change:
It's change but it might not make you happy.
A friend told me there is an expat lifecycle. It goes like this (assuming a two-year contract):
First 6 months you are super excited, everything is new and fresh, you're having a grand old time. Second 6 months you get homesick, you ask yourself, "what am I doing here?", "why did I move?", and find yourself in a slump. Third 6 months, you just come to peace with the fact that you are stuck in this foreign, odd place. Final 6 months, you know the end is near so you try to check off everything on your bucket list and explore and live with renewed energy.