How I quit my job and moved abroad

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What do you think was the best decision in your life? Changing a job? Moving to another city? Having a kid? I am sure there will be a few things coming into your mind when you ask yourself this question. It is not an easy question. But now when you think about the decision you have made, you would probably say, “Thank god that I have done that!” In this post, I will tell you why moving abroad is one of the best decisions in my life.

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For me, it’s the same. I have made several important decisions in my life, which have totally changed my path. Interestingly, all these decisions were perceived negatively by the others when I made it. It was opposed by my family; my friends and colleagues thought it was stupid. People asked me, “Do you really want to do that? You should think about it more carefully!”

And oh yes, I am SO GLAD now that I didn’t listen to them and I have made those decisions. People tend to be resistant to change and try to avoid risk. Change always involves risks. That is why most people prefer everything stays the same.

Read also: 42 Moving Tips – Moving Locally or Internationally

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My philosophy: No risk, no gain!

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If you are not satisfied with your current situation, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! People tend to always complain about their situation and dream that it would be so good if they could do this and that, without taking any action on it. If you are not taking any action to change the situation, nothing is going to be changed. You should not be waiting for a chance to change, but you create a chance for you to change. If you have a dream, DO NOT WAIT! People who wait end up not making their dream come true. You will always have different excuses coming up, telling you why now is not the best time to take action.

Especially if you are young, your risk is relatively low. You are healthy and have energy, you may not have a partner or kids yet. Things can be more flexible. BUT, even if you already have a family, you can still chase your dream. Nothing is unachievable, it depends on how much you want to achieve it.

So here is my story:

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During my bachelor’s studies in Hong Kong, I was on an exchange program for six months in Prague. That was when I totally fell in love with Europe. After I was back in Hong Kong, I had never forgotten about Europe. My dream was to go back. I just didn’t know how to do that.

After finishing my bachelor’s studies, I started working like every other person. I was an auditor in a prestigious multinational company. If you are in this field, you will know how the work is like. And the Hong Kong working culture doesn’t make it better. I worked day and night. In the peak season, which lasts for months, if I could go home at midnight, this would be already a luxury.

People with unlucky clients could work till after 2 am every night. And forget about the weekend. They were exactly the same as the weekday. We worked the same hours. That was the reality I faced after graduation. At some point in time, I asked myself, “What are all these for?” Basically, I had no life.

My heart belongs to Europe

Europe was still in my heart. At that time, there was a new working holiday arrangement between Hong Kong and Germany. Working holiday means that you can get a one year visa. During that time, you can do some non-professional work in a foreign country. The aim is that you can support yourself financially with this money while traveling l in other countries. This is for young people to expand their horizons.

Originally, I was looking into the working holiday thing. I was hoping I could get a real job during the visa period. By chance, I heard from a friend that doing a master’s degree in Germany is actually free without tuition fees. I was shocked and couldn’t believe it. In my mind, studying abroad would always cost a fortune. I did some research and found out that it was true. So no tuition fee! I changed my mind and decided to go for a master’s degree in Germany, with the hope to find a job there after graduation.

A scary decision

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So, after working two years in Hong Kong, I decided to quit my job and go for a master’s degree. I sent out five applications to different German universities and got two offers in the end. To be honest, it was a really hard decision.

I was about to be promoted at that time. I would have gotten almost a double increase in salary with the title of associated manager. On top, I would need to work for one more year to get my Certified Public Accountant (CPA), which is an important qualification in this field.

Besides, my master would last for two years. But I had only enough money for one-year living expenses. So, all the situations did not make it sound like a good idea to quit at that time. Many people asked me, “Why don’t you wait for one more year? Then you will have enough money to go, a better title, and also your CPA.”

That was true. I was struggling. But I thought, who knew what was going to happen next year? There could be some other things popping up next year. So, there would never be good timing. What if no university wanted to admit me next year? The chance was in front of me at the moment and I wanted to grab it. And I did.

This decision basically changed my whole life

After a lot of frustration in Germany, even though I did not speak German at that time, I finally found an English speaking job and settled down here. I met the love of my life here. I have my dream life coming true. I am so glad that I made this decision. My life would have been completely different if I would have stayed in Hong Kong.

It was not easy. I moved to Germany all alone and was not able to speak German at the beginning. Sometimes, I got so frustrated that I missed Hong Kong a lot and I thought maybe I better went back to Hong Kong. But I made it in the end. When my company called me and gave me the job offer, I was screaming out of happiness. The HR there asked me if I was okay 😀

I remember my flatmate heard me screaming and asked me what happened. I told him I made it. I said that I was SO LUCKY. That was when he told me this German saying,

“Jeder ist seines Glückes Schmied.”

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If I need to translate it, it means, “Everyone is his own luck maker.” Your luck is not coming on its own. You put all your effort into something and that is why you succeed in it. Not because you are “just lucky”!

Read also: Moving to a New City – 4 Best Tips for Adjusting to Life (Seoul vs. Berlin)

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About the author

Originally from Hong Kong, Sindy spent 13 years in Germany before moving to the US. Her blog is your ultimate resource for navigating Germany, offering pro tips on bureaucracy, job hunting, education, culture, family life, and more.

With a "been there, done that" attitude, Sindy, a certified public accountant, draws on her extensive finance and accounting background to provide professional insights with a friendly touch.

Having navigated German life with her German husband and raising two kids there, Sindy brings a personal touch to her advice. Let this blog help fellow expats like you navigate the ins and outs of life in Germany!

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8 Replies to “How I quit my job and moved abroad”

  1. Wow. This is a very inspiring story. Making such kind of life changing decisions is not easy and it is definitely easier when you are young. When you you grow older and have family the priorities shift to taking care of family. However I agree that every thing is possible.

  2. I find this story very inspiring! I have decided to quit my job in Hong Kong a year ago and came to Germany without knowing much German. I am currently a MSc student in Germany and I am struggling a lot since my field (civil/ environmental engineering) requires at least communicational level German. Often I wonder if I made a right decision to give up on what I had in HK just to pursue a life in Germany. But I guess 船到橋頭自然直 right? haha

    1. Totally agree with you! I felt exactly the same back then. Yes this is always my belief that “the boat will be straight by itself”. You will never know what kind of opportunities are waiting for you ahead 🙂

  3. I kind of did the same and came to Spain. I wish I could find a job soon but in Spain it’s so difficult. But I still want to try and make a life here in Europe!

  4. I am currently in the process of moving to Germany. I am also in the finance field with a CPA license from the USA. I am concerned about my license not being recognized in Germany. Are Germans who work in the field familiar with the CPA designation? How hard is it to find accounting jobs? I’m planning on attending German language school before looking for work.

    1. Lindsey,

      Thanks for your message!
      From my experience, no, German people do not know about CPA.
      In Germany, they have another accounting standard.
      What I recommend is to work for a company that has a headquarter in USA.
      It is because for an accounting position in this type of company, a CPA mayeb an advantage.

      It was hard to find an accounting job in Germany, especially if you do not speak German.
      I would recommend to look for job and learn German at the same time.

      I wish you good luck in finding your dream job in Germany.

      All the best,

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