Leaving France and moving abroad: a good idea?

We have been expatriates in Malaysia for more than 2 years now.
Leaving France for Malaysia was, and still is, an adventure filled with unexpected events.
We decided to make this video, to share with you 5 MISTAKES that could ruin your expatriation.

Introduction: why expatriate?

Before we begin, please note that everything we are about to share with you is based solely on our personal experience and that of those around us.

Let’s get to the heart of the matter: first of all, why expatriate?
generally decide to leave one country for another, with the aim of “gaining” something in return.
It can be to “fill” a gap, or for ” professional opportunity“, whether it be financial or for real professional experience.
It is therefore generally to “UPGRADE” your daily life, and not to lose in comfort of life.

leave france expatriation
Leaving France and moving abroad?

Long-term expatriation

In this video, we will talk more aboutlong-term expatriation, and not temporary expatriation.
We are talking about long-term expatriation, with all the consequences that go with it: children’s schooling, learning the local language, adapting to local life, the consequences on family life, etc. In short, a radical change.

TEMPORARY expatriation

This video does not deal with temporary expatriation, such as the expatriate who left France because he was offered a position with benefits he could not get in France, such as a higher salary.
This does not concern the expatriate who leaves France temporarily, for the pleasure of discovering a country or for his personal experience.

Many French people dream of leaving France, and of expatriating themselves indefinitely (if not permanently), to a country that they consider to be “better” than France.

Here are 5 mistakes not to make in order not to ruin your long term expatriation.

Leaving France - which country to choose
Leaving France – which country to choose

Mistake 1: the eternal dissatisfied

If you are never satisfied, if you are always in a negative mood, and it is always the fault of others, then do not expatriate yourself.

Whether he moves to Malaysia, or Morocco, or the United Arab Emirates, or even to a cave, this type of person will never be happy.
It cannot be repeated often enough: no country is perfect.

This kind of person only retains the negative points of a country, even in his personal or professional life.
And this, to a point where he will naturally have forgotten all the positive points of a country. He will never be grateful for the opportunity he has.
This kind of person decides to expatriate, thinking that his life will change completely.

It is not so: he is going to land in a new country, and even if at the beginning, because it is new, because he is going to meet new people, because it is a radical change, he is going to live positive moments, but he is going to fall back, sooner or later, in his negative mood.

Leaving France - Always being dissatisfied
Leaving France – Always being dissatisfied

You may laugh, but these kinds of people exist, and much more than you think.
These people will even rub off on your personal life. The best thing is to stay away from it.

This type of person is much too negative, never happy.
So you have to learn to be fair and appreciate the positives.
We don’t say that we have to go from one extreme to another.
This is what we will see in the next point.


Mistake 2: you idealize a country too much

If you move to a country thinking you’ll find the perfect world, thinking everything will be beautiful and everyone will be nice: don’t move.

Many people expatriate thinking that they will find a perfect country, without any disadvantages.
Again, please note that there is no such thing as a perfect country.

Leaving France - Being an idealist
Leaving France – Being an idealist

You are too positive

This aspect is linked with the previous point: contrary to the previous point, you are here too positive, too sure of yourself.
You have idealized a country so much, that you have distanced yourself from reality.
Once expatriated, you fall from height, and some even end up hating this country, because it did not correspond to what he hoped.

Once again, you have to be fair in your judgment.
Learn from the experience of many different people, and don’t rely on the opinion of just one person.

Experiences that can fool you

When you watch some Youtube videos or some stories on social networks, you may come across some distorted feedback.
There are the kind of people who will spend their time criticizing a country, when they have never been there, or at best, because they have been on vacation once.
This is what we often find on videos related to Dubai, for example.
But you also have the opposite, and for us, the consequences are worse: it is the person who will show that everything is beautiful, everyone is nice and that life is beautiful every day.
This can be misleading and lead you to idealize a country.

It is therefore important to know the country you are planning to visit before you leave.
And, that brings us to the next point.


Error 3: You do not (really) know the country of expatriation

If you are moving to a country you know nothing about, or very little about: do not move.

It may seem silly but some people move to a country they know little or nothing about.
Don’t forget that vacationing in a country and living in that same country are totally different.
Just because you enjoyed your vacation in a particular country does not mean you will enjoy living there.
Some people don’t even bother to come and “test” the country before making their decision.
They are often based on feedback from others.

Find out as much as you can about the country you are targeting: an expatriation must be prepared well in advance.
In our personal case, we had several countries in mind, and we took the time to weigh the pros and cons of each country.

It takes a lot of time and research.
This leads us to the next point.

Leaving France - Learning the country
Leaving France – Learning the country

Mistake 4: You are not resourceful

If you tend to rely on the help of others, and are totally lost when you are alone, don’t expatriate yourself.
Expatriation is not something to be taken lightly.
So yes, you have to try, but there is a minimum of things to study beforehand.

We receive a lot of questions about expatriation to Malaysia, but many people don’t take the time to read, to search on their own, or simply to visit our website, even though everything is free.
Starting by consulting the embassy’s website is an excellent start for example.

Not to mention the people who are totally lost and give up on any project as soon as the information is no longer in French.
When you expatriate, be aware that you will have to deal with many unforeseen events. At every moment, we will have to be strong, especially mentally.
At the slightest test, some people see red…: this is really not the attitude to adopt.

This video is also a reminder for us: we have been in Malaysia for more than 2 years, and we are enjoying our new life.
But NOTHING IS ACQUIRED: from one day to the next, we may have to leave Malaysia, for x reason.
We are preparing for all possible scenarios.

Leaving France - Being resourceful
Leaving France – Being resourceful

Mistake 5: You follow your spouse to please him/her

This last point concerns only couples or families.
Based on the experiences of other ex-expatriates, one of the reasons for failure often came up: the partner did not like the destination country.
This is why it is very important to study your expatriation project as a couple.

Leaving France - Couple Malaysia
Leaving France as a couple: think carefully without following with your eyes closed

Don’t follow a person just to please them: at some point, it could play tricks on you.
And here again, we are talking about a long-term expatriation, not a temporary expatriation, in which case the partner can take it easy.
Apart from the expatriation, this can also affect your married life.

Take the time to weigh the pros and cons between you, even if it means visiting the country together, in expatriation project mode, and not in vacation mode.

Conclusion and advice

There are of course other points to develop, but for us, it was essential to share with you these 5 aspects, which can spoil an expatriation.
If you recognize yourself in one or more points, do not lose hope: everything can be corrected.
The video is intended to inform you before you make any decisions.

Take a chance: nothing is final

In any case, remember one thing: in most cases, you can always back out.
Perhaps the biggest mistake would be to never try. If you try, then put all the chances on your side, and don’t go in headlong with your hands in your pockets.

Prepare your expatriation thoroughly: if one door closes, don’t forget that there are many others.
There are nearly 200 countries in the world.

A country cannot be reduced to one or two regions

Finally, don’t reduce a country to one or two regions: take the time to visit different regions.
In Malaysia, for example, living in Kuala Lumpur is totally different than living in Kota Bharu.
Living in Paris is totally different from living in a small town like Saint-Fargeau.
Living in Bali is totally different from living in Jakarta.
Living in Istanbul, Taksim, is totally different than living in Konya.
All this to tell you that at the local level, the mentality, the way of life, the cost of living, the local cuisine, the religion, etc. can vary greatly from one region to another.


We will make another video on the same theme, but more precisely on expatriation to MALAYSIA.
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