The Truth About Emigrating in Your Twenties

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fantasy of emigrating to another country. Of course it is, the prospect of a new life is beyond exciting! A fresh start, making friends, new colleagues, perhaps switching up your line of work and immersing yourself in a different culture are all life changing events. But there are downsides to emigrating and leaving it all behind.

Without further ado, here are some of the realities I’ve experienced since moving to New Zealand over 18 months ago – in no particular order:

1. The first six months are the toughest

Finding a job in New Zealand was hard. It took me over a month before I landed a position which felt like such a long time. The pressure of this along with affording rent was enough to want to jack it all in and fly home. Don’t underestimate how difficult it can be. Before you go, email potential employers and never assume you’re going to land on your feet right away. But most importantly, never give up.

2. Emigrating = Time to grow up

Coming to New Zealand has forced me to grow up in so many ways. If you’re moving to another country in your twenties the likelihood is that it’ll be your first time living on your own and fending for yourself. I’ve become less reliant on family and more independent. Paying bills has become a thing too and going to work because, well… I have to.

3. The grass is never greener

I’m a stickler for adopting the ‘daydreamers’ mentality and am always craving change. When you’re down in the dumps and thinking of some place new, just remember life will get monotonous wherever you go. You will fall into a routine and things will get boring. This hits me from time to time in Wellington but I try to look at the bigger picture, and how different my life is now that I’m living in this beautiful country.


The first few months was when I felt the most isolated from my friends at home. But over the past 2 years, I’ve realised that they have their own lives to get on with and are pre-occupied with careers, marriage, kids etc. I suppose it depends on what group of friends you have or what age you are, but just know when you return from wherever you’ve gone, very little would have changed.

5. Finding new friends

I’ve always kept my circle small. The downside to this is that I don’t make friends easily. This has been especially true in New Zealand. Moving to another country and trying to bond with people is difficult – if you’re me. I’ve been here for nearly two years and can honestly say I’ve made one or two genuine friends. Sometimes there’s just nothing that can compare to my people back home.

6. Keeping old friends

Being in a different time zone and on the other side of the world isn’t ideal when trying to catch up with a friend, but it is 100% feasible, it just depends on how much effort you’re willing to put in. Whether you’re the one who moved away or stayed home, it takes two to maintain a lasting friendship. And like it or not a move this big will separate your friends for life from all of the others.


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Mathew Price

Totally agree with everything in this post. Will be recommending to anybody I know who is planning to emigrate!