Why Do We Go Abroad: The Unique Journey Of Self-Initiated Expatriates

Have you taken the leap or decided to live and work abroad on your own initiative? Then you are part of the growing self-initiated expatriates community! What are the reasons for deciding to move abroad on your own? What are the pros and cons of this type of expatriation? Let's find out!

Living and working abroad can be a life-changing experience, filled with new adventures, cultural discoveries, as well as personal and professional growth.

Lately, a specific type of expatriation has been attracting more and more attention from scholars and recruiting organizations alike: self-initiated expatriation.

Are you one of those adventurous souls who have taken the leap to live and work abroad on your own initiative? If the answer is yes, then you are part of this growing community of people called self-initiated expatriates.

What prompts so many to take the leap and go abroad? What is so unique about this community? What are the pros and cons of this form of expatriation?

We answer it all in today’s article!

There Is More To Expatriation Than A Lifestyle Choice

  1. For SIEs, personal and lifestyle considerations obviously come into play.
    Unlike AEs, SIEs are more active in their expatriation decision, and intrinsic motivators are thus more prevalent. Pursuing self-fulfillment through novel experiences breaking away from a routine, or challenging oneself, fulfilling their travel dreams, and changing one’s environment are thus often cited reasons for taking the leap.
    Other less-talked-about personal reasons also come into play, notably family ones and relocating to seek a better quality of life for close ones.

  2. However, career-related factors are often primary in SIEs decisions.
    Through expatriation, many seek to develop their careers, career capital, competitiveness, global skills, and network in a more welcoming and attractive job market, given their skills, profile, and aspirations. SIEs are very proactively shaping their careers, and organizations, as well as researchers around the world, have been noticing!

Why We Leave, Why We Stay: Changing Motivations

The reasons underlying one’s expatriation rarely remain the same throughout one’s international journey.

More often than not, the lifestyle and personal aspects give even more way to career-oriented motivations.

With experience and after discovering the opportunities living abroad offers, many cite the perspective of professional growth as the main reason why they stay abroad!

The Pros And Cons Of Self-Initiated Expatriation


At ASI Movers, we know that embarking on and navigating an international journey is both exciting and challenging, and that there is so much more on your mind than moving your belongings from one place to another.

That is why our goal is to make your relocation the smoothest possible! Our ethos: provide customized solutions that fit your relocation project. We strive to make moving as simple and stress-free for you as possible.

This article is based on the following research:

* Despotovic, W. V., Hutchings, K., & McPhail, R. (2022). Business, pleasure or both?: Motivations and changing motivation of self-initiated expatriates. Journal of Management & Organization, 18.