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Migrated to Europe and thinking of returning to SL. Need your thoughts!


firstgear
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Guys,

I came to a European country with my family on high skilled migration visa couple of months back. I have got a permanent job here.

Now I feel I am bored, lack the social life I had in SL, missing the extended family etc.. And I want to return to Sri Lanka.

Do you think this is a good idea considering the country situation?

I have found a remote contract job in which it is possible to save almost twice the amount in SL than what I can save in Europe. 

I thought the homesick would go away in few weeks but it's been around 3 months and it is not going. 

Appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks.

Edited by firstgear
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An interesting topic. Things I am considering.

  • Cost of living
  • Quality of life
  • Familiar social life (and family environment)
  • Retirement plans and health care

This is quality of life in Colombo

image.png.3ff69431b419e5ac679be5fb6552ad2b.png

I am not going to make a conclusion here. Let's see responses from other members as well.

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well the quality of life too you must see from your point of view,

What made you go to a European county, and have you got a family ?? etc if you are a single guy try your luck for a while

I did spend about 7 years in the U.K in the mid 80s and it was run for about 3 years and then came back with a degree and then life was fun. cost of living and weather and racism was my biggest concerns.

Since you have made the decision to go there and if the job is good try for a few years don't sell any property that you own or the schooling for kids etc.

Home where you grew up is the best but it has its share of problems  too

 

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6 minutes ago, noddy said:

well the quality of life too you must see from your point of view,

What made you go to a European county, and have you got a family ?? etc if you are a single guy try your luck for a while

 

I went there because of the SL situation. But after coming here, I feel like living in the SL situation is better (due to home sickness). I don't find anything wrong here with regards to the people the job etc..

My concern is, whether the SL situation gets even worse; similar to Zimbabwe level or will it remain the same as current. Because I don't want to regret about giving up the European opportunity after coming back to SL.

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Interesting topic indeed.

What you have got there is a one in a million opportunity mate. Just think, people die trying to make that move in boats. But that being said, in the end its all about finding contentment right. I'd say to make life interesting, try to find at least few good things you enjoy there. May be its the eerie silence in the winter, May be its the good coffee or new hobby, some volunteering ? :) Try to focus on those things rather than the negatives. There must be few good aspects there... it cant be all gloom.

And if your main objective of moving there is savings, doubt you can achieve anything lucrative when living with the family with a single source of income. In that case, have you considered moving there by your self first and bringing the family after like 1-2 years may be ? By then you are settled in and have savings built up. Agreeing with @noddy, never know what will happen to SL its too volatile and no one can predict. If you held up to that job by your self given the family can manage alone here in SL without you I think that would be the best option. They can always join you in case things get too bad here. 

Would love to hear others have to say, as I might be in the same boat in a few months time ;) 

Edited by GK_007
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This is a very interesting topic. 

I have been to Europe half-a-dozen times mostly 2-3 month stays  for work assignments. Each time quickly - very quickly I grew fed up of it. Yes it's very peaceful, quiet, people respecting each others privacy, good facilities etc. But it's just plain dead boring.  BUT given that SL is very very unpredictable you might as well try to get used to the  life there - at least hang in there for a bit just to see if things actually improve or go further south. 

A friend of mine migrated to Europe in 2019 and his wife and kids joined in 2020 just before Covid hit. Since they're homesick what they do is travel to SL at every available opportunity and work remotely from here (he came to an arrangement with his employer as well) so basically he spends almost 4-5 months in Sri Lanka so he really get's best of both worlds. He does spend almost his entire savings on tickets but as per him it's worth it. That's an avenue for you to explore. 

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23 hours ago, firstgear said:

I went there because of the SL situation. But after coming here, I feel like living in the SL situation is better (due to home sickness). I don't find anything wrong here with regards to the people the job etc..

My concern is, whether the SL situation gets even worse; similar to Zimbabwe level or will it remain the same as current. Because I don't want to regret about giving up the European opportunity after coming back to SL.

I am 46 years old and I have been away from Sri Lanka for more than half my life. 10 countries, 3  continents, a wife and 2 kids later...trust me..you never get rid of homesickness. All you do is you just learn to live with it. You find ways to do so when you find your own friends and start to find activities that interest you. A couple of months is NOT enough to getover ANYTHING ! Heck ! Everytime I go on mission to a different country it takes about 1.5 months for my stocmach to get back to normal. You need to do something to find friends....what are your interests ? FInd those activities so that you can start meeting people with similar interests who you can grow a friendship with.

For most people who left SL and wanting to go back..the issue is what can they do for their kids ? Let's face it...the education system is NOT good and other options are limited. Then there is the quality of life for the kids...and what opportunities are present for them for their future (going out of country for studies and pursuing literally any area of expertise is quite limited in SL). Then there is the whole country collapsing risk....no the underlying problems are not solved...so what happened not too long ago has a very strong possibility of recurring. Remember..it is not JUST about how much money you can save. It is more about what you are able to achieve and the security and opportunities you can give your kids and family with it that money tgat matters the most. Most European countries have decent and CONSISTANT education systems and access to health care services that are somewhat unmatchable in SL (yes we have good doctors but if the hospitals are empty there realy isn't much they can do)

Having said that....IF you have money SL is an amazing place to live (the moment at least). With family, friends and familiar places, it will be a place that gives you more emotional comfort than anywhere else. But then we are talking about you and your wife (kids are quite adaptable).

If you have been awayoly for a few months you seriously haven't given yourself enough time. Once you settle down you will learn to deal with it AND now that the borders are more or less open all over the planet, making frequent trips to SL will be a lot easier.

Edited by iRage
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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, iRage said:

I am 46 years old and I have been away from Sri Lanka for more than half my life. 10 countries, 3  continents, a wife and 2 kids later...trust me..you never get rid of homesickness. All you do is you just learn to live with it. You find ways to do so when you find your own friends and start to find activities that interest you. A couple of months is NOT enough to getover ANYTHING ! Heck ! Everytime I go on mission to a different country it takes about 1.5 months for my stocmach to get back to normal. You need to do something to find friends....what are your interests ? FInd those activities so that you can start making friends.

For most people who left SL and wanting to go back..the issue is what can they do for their kids ? Let's face it...the education system is NOT good and other options are limited. Then there is the quality of life for the kids...and what opportunities are present for them for their future (going out of country for studies and pursuing literally any area of expertise is quite limited in SL). Then there is the whole country collapsing option....no the underlying problems are not solved...so what happened not too long ago is a very strong possibility. Remember..it is not JUST about how much money you can save. It is more about what you are able to achieve and the security and opportunities you can give your kids and family with it that matters the most. 

Having said that....IF you have money SL is an amazing place to live (the moment at least). With family, friends and familiar places, it will be a place that gives you more emotional comfort than anywhere else. But then we are talking about you and your wife (kids are quite adaptable).

If you have been awayoly for a few months you seriously haven't given yourself enough time. Once you settle down you will learn to deal with it AND now that the borders are more or less open all over the planet, making frequent trips to SL will be a lot easier.

Thanks a lot. Thoughtful feedback. 

Giving a few more months is a sensible option. But the other opportunity I have in my hand (the remote job with more savings) will go away if I don't give a word within a week.  

In short, if I stay in Europe hoping for improvement in SL situation, and if it turns out the same, I will regret not taking up the remote job and settle in SL for highter financial gain and emotional comfort.

On the other hand if I take up the remote job and return to SL and find the situation getting worse, I will regret giving up the European opportunity. In this case I will only regret if it goes to Zimbabwe or Venezuela level (may god forbid that). If it stays in the present level I would still be happy. 

Edited by firstgear
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22 minutes ago, firstgear said:

Thanks a lot. Thoughtful feedback. 

Giving a few more months is a sensible option. But the other opportunity I have in my hand (the remote job with more savings) will go away if I don't give a word within a week.  

In short, if I stay in Europe hoping for improvement in SL situation, and if it turns out the same, I will regret not taking up the remote job and settle in SL for highter financial gain and emotional comfort.

On the other hand if I take up the remote job and return to SL and find the situation getting worse, I will regret giving up the European opportunity. In this case I will only regret if it goes to Zimbabwe or Venezuela level (may god forbid that). If it stays in the present level I would still be happy. 

There is no guarantee....remember..things always get worst before getting better....but getting better means the underlying problems actually getting fixed. That part is highly questionable.

What you are going through is something EVERYONE has gone through after migrating. So there is nothing new. And yes...there have been plenty who went back home because of emotional issues (mostly  singles...the family people rely on eahc other for emotional comfort and also sacrifice their emotional comfort for the sake of the kids). A lot of those who left have also returned, albeit the return is not that easy either. The entire wold is open so for good jobs you are pretty much competing with the entire world. Also, leaving a job after a few months is not a good sign on your resume, especially if you moved across continents.

What are your interests ? Have you discovered any events or venues that are inline with that ?

C'mon..2-3 months (even if it was done repeatedly) is not really enough time to meet people and make friends right ? <anywhere in the world ! includng SL> It is barely enough time to actually explore the new city you live in <atleast not anything beyong the local grocery store and stuff>.

For my work I have to travel on assignment to <unusual> places for 2-3 months at a time (in fact right now I am in Malawi for 8 weeks), it is not the same as actually settling down...so you hardly get to establish any roots and is not the most exciting thing...all you want to do is get the job done so you can get out of there...

Edited by iRage
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8 minutes ago, iRage said:

What are your interests ? Have you enetered any events or venues that are inline with that ?

I haven't discovered any interests yet here.  Probably need to travel more in the weekends. 

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2 minutes ago, firstgear said:

I haven't discovered any interests yet here.  Probably need to travel more in the weekends. 

well..what were your interests in Sri Lanka ? What were your hobbies ? or sports that you liked ?

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1 minute ago, iRage said:

well..what were your interests in Sri Lanka ? What were your hobbies ? or sports that you liked ?

Watching videos on Youtube, Going out eating, travelling in the weekends to family villages etc... Didn't play any sport but like to watch cricket on TV. 

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I am sure there are places to go try different cuisines at. Do you cook ? You can try cooking some local cuisine or go to some cooking class...there might be even other foodies out there....do you have a local driver's license ? Perhaps rent a car and go exploring to some country/lake/mountain side....

If you made this post 1 year on..then this conversation would be completely different....but...give yourself sometime....you might just suprise yourself. 

 

Edited by iRage
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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, iRage said:

I am sure there are places to go try different cuisines at. Do you cook ? You can try cooking some local cuisine or go to some cooking class...there might be even other foodies out there....do you have a local driver's license ? Perhaps rent a car and go exploring to some country/lake/mountain side....

If you made this post 1 year on..then this conversation would be completely different....but...give yourself sometime....you might just suprise yourself. 

 

I don't cook. I could have exchanged my SL license for free here. But after coming here only I found out that it is expired. Getting the local one from the scratch here requires me to pay 3500 euro (can buy an old car for that price). 

Other option is for me to renew my SL license from here, the embassy said that is possible and that they will take my fingerprint here. But they don't have the offline form. And they are saying the Dept of Motor Traffic in SL hasn't heeded their request for months now. 

I sent one of my friends in SL to get a form and DHL me, but he was told they will give out forms only after getting the fingerprint of the person who need to renew it. I tried to speak on the phone with a staff but they didn't want to. 🤦‍♂️ May be they are exhausted by the situation and not in a mood to help others. 

Edited by firstgear
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1 hour ago, firstgear said:

I don't cook. I could have exchanged my SL license for free here. But after coming here only I found out that it is expired. Getting the local one from the scratch here requires me to pay 3500 euro (can buy an old car for that price). 

Other option is for me to renew my SL license from here, the embassy said that is possible and that they will take my fingerprint here. But they don't have the offline form. And they are saying the Dept of Motor Traffic in SL hasn't heeded their request for months now. 

I sent one of my friends in SL to get a form and DHL me, but he was told they will give out forms only after getting the fingerprint of the person who need to renew it. I tried to speak on the phone with a staff but they didn't want to. 🤦‍♂️ May be they are exhausted by the situation and; not in a mood to help others. 

Sorry..but the whole thing about the forms is funny :)

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You can't compare living and working in a European country vs SL. In addition to a  functional system, you will be building a pension fund that would allow you to retire comfortably, at least in SL. What you save in SL in rupees will be worthless in a few years, whereas foreign currency savings keep appreciating. The social security would ensure if you are laid off or become unable to work, you and your dependents will still get some income to survive and not end up in the streets( similar to security of extended family net in SL) . You and your children will have access to best healthcare, without having to go bankrupt or collect donations from others. Education opportunities for children are more and also advanced. 

But ... we don't live forever. So it's important to be content. 

Have you left the parents in SL as well? That would be another reason to return. 

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15 hours ago, ajm said:

You can't compare living and working in a European country vs SL. In addition to a  functional system, you will be building a pension fund that would allow you to retire comfortably, at least in SL. What you save in SL in rupees will be worthless in a few years, whereas foreign currency savings keep appreciating. The social security would ensure if you are laid off or become unable to work, you and your dependents will still get some income to survive and not end up in the streets( similar to security of extended family net in SL) . You and your children will have access to best healthcare, without having to go bankrupt or collect donations from others. Education opportunities for children are more and also advanced. 

But ... we don't live forever. So it's important to be content. 

Have you left the parents in SL as well? That would be another reason to return. 

Thanks for your inputs. Appreciate it.

Yes my parents are in SL. They are telling me not to return to SL soon. I have few other siblings who are with them right now. 

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We left Sri Lanka to Australia 2 months ago after living in Sri Lanka for the past 5 years and prior that 15 years in Australia. We have primary school age kids. We had our best 5 years of lives in Sri Lanka, we were thinking of going back to Sri Lanka, last month as we missed the beaches and easy lifestyle. But when you look at the economic collapse and expected social collapse we have to stay. 

As per the central bank of Sri Lanka the GDP will shrunk from US$94billion(peak 2018) to US$60 this year (Rs 22,000billion/360). This is as per the central bank but actual GDP will be much lower. Impact of this will be severe in the coming months. We have experienced severe increase in thefts while in Sri Lanka and it is expected to rise.  Our goal is to give the best lifestyle for the kids and hopefully move back to Sri Lanka in 10years time. Things will come around but it will be tough 10years for most Sri Lankans. We are planning to go to Sri Lanka 2months year and work from Sri Lanka during those months.

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13 hours ago, Ravisha said:

Our goal is to give the best lifestyle for the kids and hopefully move back to Sri Lanka in 10years time

..and here lies the root of all that is everything that drives Sri Lankan expats to stay away. Know quite a few who had 10 year and 15 year plans of returning back but it never materialised for them. At the reach up to the 10 or 15 year mark it was time for the kids to go to Uni and being in one of those countries meant easier access to more Unis. Then there is the whole question of PR to citizenship change over as well where you get better access to a lot of things (including lower tuition at Uni). So most of the people I know returned to SL quite close to their retirement where th kids were on their own. Some returned to SL..then went back to SL because of grandkids. So it is a never ending cycle. Some were lucky enough to have the means to travel to SL regularly for semi-long term visits.

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One more aspect affecting recent migrants is the increased cost of living globally. People who moved long ago are now stable abroad, have houses, vehicles etc.Many people I know who recentlty migrated are going through a relatively tough phase with inflation and high prices of real estate etc Compared to those who moved a few years back. So life isn't as "better" as expected. 

Let's face it the entire world is going through a crappy phase. It's just that some countries have better systems in place to minimize impact.

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