There are literally thousands of threads on the expat forum but there is a particularly interesting post in the Cyprus section about “Moving to Cyprus – Unprepared” which offers a very interesting insight into the mindset of many people who decide to move overseas. The thread starts with a very striking statistic claiming that 50 percent of British residents would love to live elsewhere but 90% of them fail. So why do so many fail and what are the main pitfalls to look out for?
There are many issues to consider when moving overseas which include:-
The story which starts the thread is about a couple with a child who decide to move to Cyprus and start a new life. They left their rented accommodation UK “open”, sold their car, saw their furniture and put all of their savings of £10,000 together to cover the interim period while they settled in Cyprus.
Flying to Cyprus on a one-month ticket they have the option to return and moved into a hotel for the four-week period in question. So what went wrong?
The couple in question were offered substantial background information from the writer of the thread although they turned this down apparently in the belief that they had done sufficient homework themselves. The lady in question was a nail technician and gentlemen was a taxi driver and they had apparently been led to believe they would both find employment very quickly and fairly easily.
After one month the couple and their child returned to the UK, with no money, no job and having endured a month of hell during which they were haemorrhaging money. In hindsight they had obviously not done their homework and this became apparent very early on with their rose tinted view on the future and exactly what Cyprus would hold them.
There are two issues to consider with regards to employment at this moment in time on the small island of Cyprus. One, the country like the rest of the world is experiencing a significant downturn and jobs are not as easy to come by as they once were. Two, in this particular instance the lady is a nail technician, of which there are many in Cyprus, and the gentleman is a taxi driver which is perhaps one of the most difficult professions to gain entry into.
The £10,000 they had put aside is likely to have been eaten up by hotel expenses, living expenses and travel.
While there are many hotels in Cyprus there are also many apartments fully furnished and available at the drop of a hat. There’s also the fact that by living in a hotel you are still many miles away from experiencing everyday life in the country and ingratiating yourself with the culture. As the economy continues to bite in Cyprus it seems crazy that the couple in question were willing to spend a significant amount of their savings on hotel accommodation when in reality they should perhaps have saved as much as possible to give them more time to settle and find employment.
The gung ho attitude
There are some posters on the thread who have highlighted the potential which younger couples and single people have to take the “gung ho” attitude. This is fine if you’re willing to live on a shoestring until you find employment and settle down but if you have children or you are in any way unwilling or unable to cut out the luxuries of life then this is not the option for you. Many people travel around the world finding part-time jobs as they go and using small amounts of savings to get by but if you have children surely this kind of “gamble” is something you would never consider?
Using a forum
It is striking to find that people who have been planning a move to Cyprus for up to 2 years are still posting and reading the forum to find as much information as possible. In reality you can never have too much information about the country you’re moving to because even if you do your homework for up to 2 years there will still be many things which will surprise and shock you.
It is also evident from the thread that Cyprus is a place which has changed in culture and cost of living over the last few years. House prices appear to have gone skywards, partly as a consequence of the expanded international traffic network, and partly because property investors are now looking to the region. However, it would appear that regular incomes have not risen by the same level as house prices and we are seeing more and more people struggle financially.
The tourist experience
Like so many popular countries around the world it appears that a number of people looking to move to Cyprus on a permanent basis are looking at the country through rose tinted glasses. The tourist areas which many experience during their holidays and breaks in Cyprus are very different from everyday life and there are very few people who could afford to shop and live within these high-density tourist regions. While the “grass may seem green on the other side” this is not always the case and the more information you collect the more prepared you will be if you eventually do decide to move.
A number of posters on the thread are suggesting that now is the wrong time to move to countries such as Cyprus where the economy is struggling and employment can be difficult to come by, especially for foreigners. Timing is of the essence with any move overseas, choosing the time which is right for you, a time which is right for your new homeland and a time when you can afford property and the cost of living.
This is one thread which lays bare a number of potential pitfalls which many people will and have experienced in their pursuit of a new homeland. A number of people seem to be looking at moves to countries such as Cyprus through rose tinted glasses after possibly experiencing the tourist way of life. This is not how every-day life would be if you move overseas as there will surprises on the up side and surprises on the downside, but surely this is part of the overall experience?
Information, information, information………………….