Moving abroad can be a stressful situation, you’re faced with a bunch of entirely new experiences, confusing paperwork and most of all the unknown! Which can be very daunting.
So, whether you are going to move abroad or are planning to in the future, this article is for you. Here at Planet Expat we’ve gathered a few of the most important steps you should remember when you are preparing for such a huge moment.
1) Job search before the move
It’s a good idea to look for the job opportunities that interest you the most before moving abroad. Sometimes landing a job can take longer than expected, and there’s a possibility it could leave you without resources. Although, this factor depends on your current financial state, ensuring you have a stable income before making the move is highly advisable. You can check out our current job and internship offers abroad here.
2) Organize your paperwork
Paperwork is by far one of the most tedious and boring aspects of moving to a different country. It’s essential to make sure you have your most important documents organized, with various copies and at hand. You could need them at any time!
A few things you should think about are:
• Do you need to apply for a visa? If a permit to work in the country is necessary, it’s best to apply as soon as possible. Since the process can be long and sometimes take more time than you thought it would.
• Make sure you have your identification, such as your passport and other documents such as your driver’s license in date. Remember that some visas require a minimum of six months validity.
• Other things to keep in mind are getting a residency permit or how the health care system works there. Do you need to apply for a card or register?
3) Brush up on your language skills
If you don’t already master the language, take some time out do a bit of studying. Learn the most common phrases you’ll need to know during your time abroad and nail the basics like greetings and asking for help or directions. You can take up classes, attend meet ups with natives or use free resources like language apps for your phone to help you get started.
4) Save up
Moving abroad can be a costly process. This means that saving up and making sure you have sufficient funds for all the planned (and sometimes unplanned) expenses can be a life saver. Some of the costs you should keep in mind include: plane tickets, fees derived from paperwork expenses such as getting a visa, the price of shipping items internationally and the differences when applying the exchange rate.
It’s also important to do a little research on the cost of living in the country where you are going to settle, it could be higher or lower than what you are used to and will have a large impact on the cost of housing.
Finally, saving up is crucial in order to face those unexpected costs that can present themselves at any time.
5) Do your research
Before you go there are a few things you should do some research on; the more you know the better! Look up the city you will be living in. Get to know the different areas and which one is the most ideal for your housing. Check out what kind of lifestyle they have in the country it could be very different to the one that you are accustomed to, things like social norms may vary. Don’t forget to check out the methods of transport you will need to get around the city or if you will need to get an international drivers permit.
6) Patience and positive attitude.
Last but not least, remember to remain patient, things don’t always turn out as planned. Lots of elements such as: finding a new apartment, making new friends, learning the language and integrating in the culture, can take time. But it’s important to remember to keep a positive attitude. Being friendly and having the right outlook are necessary when it comes to starting out as an expat.
In short, be as prepared as you can be! But don’t forget about all the incredible things moving and working abroad can bring to your life, from enhancing your intercultural and interpersonal skills, to expanding your networks and incredible new experiences. If you’re still not sure on whether being an expat is for you, you can check out our pros and cons list!