Moving to a new country abroad is equally exciting and scary. No matter whether you’ve been planning your move for a long time or it’s something that’s been sprung on you pretty last minute, there’s so much more preparation that goes into an international move, and if you’re not careful this can end up overshadowing the fun and excitement of it for you, which is quite sad because moving abroad is something that most people don’t get to experience and is something that should be enjoyed for the adventure it is.
In this post we’re going to share with you some ways to prepare for your move abroad. That way, you can get the most out of it by being organized ahead of time as much as possible and you can avoid the overwhelm and stress that may come from not knowing where to start with the practical aspects of planning such a move.
Save ahead as early as possible
As soon as you know you’re moving, it’s a good idea to start planning ahead by saving as much money as you possibly can — not just for the actual travel side of things, but for expenses that may come up along the way and anything that could be unexpected. Also, you’re possibly going to need money for the first month or so until you get paid from your new job if that’s the reason you’re moving, especially if you’re not getting covered for relocation expenses.
Make sure your documents are valid
As you would when you’re travelling anywhere, it’s important to make sure your key documents such as your passport, drivers license and any other documents you may need for travelling and moving are all valid before and during your travels, as this isn’t something you want to discover at the last minute and have to go through the red tape process and extra costs of getting them updated in time for when you need them.
Get any visas you need
Even if you’re moving for a job and they’re taking care of things to do with relocation, errors can still happen, so it’s important to make sure you’re completely covered by ensuring you’ve got the right visas, work permits and any other paperwork you need for working and living in the new country. Otherwise, it can cause major problems if you don’t have the right paperwork which can result in you being denied entry at the border and losing out on everything you’ve been preparing for during the last weeks, months or years.
Check if you need healthcare
In many countries healthcare is mandatory and can actually have an impact on whether or not you’re able to obtain a visa or work permit. This is something that will reduce a massive amount of stress if you make sure that you understand whether you need it or not before travelling. If you do, then look into the different options and even sign up for a healthcare plan before moving, just so it’s one less thing you have to think of before everything begins.
Have property organized
One of the biggest things you’re going to be dealing with when moving abroad is finding a new place to live. This is something that will ease a lot of stress if you plan it ahead of time and look for places or even have a place to go to right away. In many cases, for example, if your company is helping with relocation, then they’ll be able to help out with things like finding you a temporary or permanent place to live depending on the contract you have with them. However, in some cases you’ll be responsible for finding your own place, so you may want to consider whether you want to buy or rent a place. This will obviously depend on whether you’re going to be living in the new place long or short term, but if you’re also looking at it from an investment perspective, then taking a look at some property finance planning companies can be a good way to get some advice when deciding whether to rent or buy before moving.
Research as much as possible
Just as you would when making any major life decision, it’s always a good idea to research as much as possible as this will make things so much easier when you get to your new home — this is especially the case if you’re going to be moving with a family that includes children, so researching things like schools and things that they can do afterwards that will help them make new friends and enjoy their new home is definitely a good idea if you want to make the move easier on everyone.
Other things you may want to research are the best neighbourhoods to live in, where to go to meet other people and also check if there are other expats in the new city or country you’re moving to who you could connect with and help make the process of moving easier by getting to know other people in the area.
Let companies know you’re moving
It’s not all about what you have to take care of for moving to a new place, such as removal companies and even storage companies in your local area such as Pink Storage. It is also the things you have to take care of before moving away from where you currently are. Things like gym memberships, phone contracts, rent agreements and other utility contracts will all have to be cancelled or transferred before moving, so it’s best to let them know as soon as you can before you move about what’s happening so that you can make alternative arrangements instead of trying to arrange this once you’ve already moved, as it’s just going to add more stress to the move which isn’t something you want to deal with at this point.
Prepare for reverse culture shock
Although you’re probably aware that you’ll experience some culture shock in your new home, and have possibly even read up on the effects and stages of it, what you probably haven’t considered is, reverse culture shock, which is actually worse. In a nutshell, this is the emotional upheaval someone feels when they return home after a significant period of time living abroad in another country or culture. Most people are not prepared for this, so it hits them so much harder, and unlike those expats you met abroad who understand your frustrations with your new culture, the people at home will be less supportive because they’ve never had your experience and can’t fathom why you wouldn’t be falling over yourself to get home and back to your old life.
Connect with other expats
As much as it’s recommended to embrace the local culture and get to know the people, living in a new country is a big change in life and can be difficult at first, so it helps to surround yourself with others who are also new to the country, or who have been there a while and can take you under their wing. There will be times when you feel frustrated by the differences in your new home, such as driving on the other side of the road and learning how to drive safely, and the locals probably won’t appreciate your rants, so other expats are always the best people to talk to so you don’t feel so isolated and alone. Across the world, there are many online communities where you can connect with fellow expats and most of them arrange regular events, so make sure you take advantage of them.
Take language lessons
Honestly, the best way to learn a language is by actually being immersed in it daily, by doing things like watching TV, reading newspapers, listening to people, taking up a hobby in that language, and of course, practicing as much as possible. No, it’s not always easy, but once you have the skill of a second language, you have it for life, and it’s an amazing thing to have. Although the language aspect is going to improve once you’re there, as long as you do what I mentioned above, there’s still no harm in practicing a little before the move to help you with the basics. You can either take some lessons at a class, or you can do it online, but having a bit of the language will honestly make your life in a foreign country so much easier and more enjoyable than you can ever imagine.