Are you thinking about moving abroad? You may need to move to a new country for reasons of employment, retirement, family needs, or just want a whole new way of doing things.
But whatever reason for choosing or having to relocate, transitioning to life in a foreign country is one of the most exciting – and also the most frightening – challenges that someone will face in life. As well as all the positives that you will gain from an international move, there are many things that can cause you stress, worry, and sadness. It may be saying goodbye to your family and friends in your home country, getting your head around a new education system or healthcare system, a new language, or simply the new culture as a whole.
The good thing is that with a little bit of prior research and some careful preparation, these things can generally be dealt with. Of course, nothing is going to stop you from missing your family and friends back home, but thanks to technology, it is easier than ever to stay in touch with people.
Here, we identify some of the potential issues that you might find yourself faced with on a move abroad and how to tackle them with minimum stress.
Think about renting before you buy
Buying a property is a huge commitment wherever it is in the world, but more so when moving to a different country. When you buy somewhere, you are tied in to the property for longer. By renting, it is easier to move if the area or the property is not up to your liking. It is a good idea to find a house for rent and live there without too much commitment until you know whether your face fits and you want to live there in the long term.
Learn the language
Basic understanding of a few core phrases may be immensely beneficial in the moving process. Not speaking a language at all will make you a target for fraud or not getting the most out of your transfer. It also places you at the bottom of the list in many companies if you are looking for work. If you do not have a job to get to straight away, make new contacts, friendships, and enroll in some sort of education. Sign yourself up for evening classes, online classes, or even download an app like Duolingo to start learning the language. When you are out there and completely absorbed in the new culture, you will find yourself picking it up really easily.
Involve yourself in the community
You should be able to find a network of ex-pats in most countries. It is just a matter of trying to find them out. Be persistent in finding them and developing new relationships. It is going to be lonely at first, leaving your friends and family behind, so meeting people is crucial. Look online for any local ex-pat societies, join book groups or sports clubs, and participate in local neighborhood events as often as possible.
Familiarize yourself with the healthcare system
Your new country may vary substantially from what you would have been used to in terms of health requirements, costs, and processes. If your workplace is funding your transfer, they should be able to provide you with knowledge and tools to educate you of your rights and anything you need to do. At the end of the day though, it is up to you to find out more about the infrastructure and whether you need special ex-pat insurance, where the closest hospital is, and how you are going to get prescriptions if you were to need them.
Be prepared for things to not go as planned
Although delays in moving can be deeply annoying, it is important to bear in mind that they are nearly always out of your control, and the best way to deal with them is to embrace them and be as flexible as possible. For example, once you have arranged your visa, do not rush into giving up your job, just in case it falls through or it is delayed for some reason.
Be prepared for lots of paperwork
Moving house anywhere involves a significant amount of paperwork, but when it comes to moving abroad, there is so much more to think about, so get you signing hamd and pen ready. You will need to show lots of documents and proof, so have all these in one easy-to-grab place.