Over the past 10 years, I've lived & worked in 5 cities across 3 countries.
I like helping others to move abroad, and helping them to decide whether they should.
Here's my story on:
How I used my life privileges to move abroad
I wasn't born with the privilege of citizenship of a developed country.
And there were definitely many other life privileges I didn't have.
But if all I did was complain, I would get nowhere.
Of course, at first, I felt trapped, lost, and moving abroad somewhere far away seemed almost impossible.
Despite everything else, I spent countless hours searching for ways to do it. But there was a problem—a lot of information on moving abroad out there is aimed for people with deep pockets, or people with strong passports.
But I refused to accept that money and citizenship are the only life privileges out there.
My age, health, time, past education, and whatever amount of money I had... All of these are life privileges & advantages that I can use strategically to get to where I want to be.
I have a knack for picking up languages, so I leaned on that advantage to learn French (it's the 5th or 6th language I speak, not fluently, but...) to the point where I could use it to support my Canadian residency application. I also graduated from my second degree with High Distinction from The University of British Columbia, one of the top three universities in Canada, and secured a full-time job after that.
Long story short:
I managed to move by understanding the life privileges & advantages I do have, and then USE them to the FULLEST extent.
I've come across many Americans 🇺🇸, Canadians 🇨🇦, and citizens from other developed nations who want to move abroad.
And I can understand that.
It's because citizenship is only one amongst many life privileges & advantages out there.
We move abroad because we want to UNLOCK advantages we cannot get in our country of citizenship.
These can be...
- Having a lower cost of living
- Living in a country with values that align with yours
- Earning a higher income
- Owning a more affordable home
- and so many more
This principle is the same regardless of whether you are from a developed or developing country, because we all value different things in life.
The good news is, to move abroad, you can play around with the life privileges & advantages you already have, and use them to the fullest extent, for your own benefit.
But you need to know that you will also lose some advantages by moving abroad, and it's NOT just about things like healthcare (if you're Canadian).
Unless you have permanent residency or citizenship elsewhere, moving abroad means:
You will lose the privilege of stability, because a visa comes with a time limit.
Stability is the foundation of many other things in life, e.g. a relationship or a family, and in many cases, long-term wealth building.
You need to weigh the benefits of the life advantages you will unlock by moving abroad, against your loss of stability in your country of citizenship.
There's more knowledge I want to share,
and I've decided to package them into my guide on moving abroad.
I truly believe it will provide value to anyone considering to move abroad, wherever you are in the world.CHECK IT OUT →
More About Me
My Family Background: My Grandmother
My grandmother used to tell me stories about how she taught Mandarin Chinese in Indonesia back in the 1950s / 1960s, until eventually she had to stop because Indonesia passed a law (Presidential Instruction No. 14) to effectively ban any form of Chinese literature in 1967.
In 1998, I have a short, but vivid memory of my grandmother carrying me outside our house. There were feelings of fear, wrapped up in a quiet desperation. Riots were happening across Indonesia. I don't want to go further into this here, but if you are curious, you can head over to Google and type in the keywords "1998 chinese indonesia".
My grandmother played a big part in raising me for over 14 years. She lived with us and took care of me and my brother as my parents were finding ways to make it.
In 2022, she passed away. May she be happy, wherever she is now.
My Family Background: My Parents
Our family didn't have much when I was in my early years, but things started to turn for the better by the time I was in middle school.
Even when we didn't have much, one privilege I had growing up is that my mom has always instilled a positive mindset towards finances in our family.
It is a privilege because I've come to realize that not every family shares a positive mindset towards money, regardless of whichever country they're from.
Mindset isn't everything, but it starts everything.
My Last Name
My legal last name is Octosa.
My family surname, although not my legal name, is Tan (陳). It's the most common surname in Singapore and Taiwan.
Matrilineally, I would be a Lim (林) and my grandmother (who raised me) was a Zhong (種).
But back to my legal last name... My dad pulled it out of thin air.
I'm serious, yes, he did.
Nobody in my family has the same last name as I do.
Long story short, last names are not inherited in Indonesia, so you can technically name your child anything. People of Chinese descent are hesitant to use Chinese names, because of... well, history (see above).
Where I Used to Live (Before Canada)
Until the age of 16, I spent most of my time in northwestern Indonesia, in a city with quite a significant Chinese population. We speak Hokkien as a first language, which is something like Taiwanese, if you will. I went to a Christian school for 11 years, but left for a more secular school after that.
When I was 16, I left for Singapore. I spent over 4 years there, before moving to Batam Island, an island approximately 32 kilometers (±19.8 miles) south of Singapore for work. During this time, I amassed quite a sum of money which helped my move to Canada.
The Languages I Speak (6)
- For a start, I speak English. I had the privilege to learn it from a young age, but I wasn't really fluent in it until I was around 13.
- I speak Hokkien as a first language. Hokkien is a Chinese language spoken in Taiwan, Singapore, southeastern China, Malaysia, and in a few other surrounding countries. This is the language I use with my family and friends in school, back in the days.
- I also know Indonesian, but these days, I use it mostly in a listening and reading capacity.
- In 2002, after the ban on Chinese literature was lifted in Indonesia, I started learning Mandarin Chinese in school and after-school programs, and from my grandmother. I was able to pick up the basics quite easily because it is a tonal language like Hokkien, but I wouldn't consider myself fluent in it.
- I could get by in Korean, and I've gotten a couple stamps of approval from my Korean friends.
- I started learning French on-and-off back in around 2011; keyword being "on-and-off". Even though I'm not fluent in it (yet), my effort in learning French paid off as it was crucial in getting my Canadian residency.