Decided to move abroad and begin a whole new life? This epic decision comes with epic consequences. Here are 10 things you should know that will help you prepare for your new life abroad.
Before you consider blasting off to a preferred new country, you really ought to do your research. Part of moving a world away is that you are learning to fit in with a new culture. You want to blend in seamlessly, not stick out like a big purple thumb.
Using the following advice, you should find preparations for your new life abroad go smoothly.
The 10 Best Ways to Prepare for a New Life Abroad
Whether you are full-on-expat or migrating digital nomad, here are the internet’s best tips on how to prepare for your new life abroad.
1 – Take Care of Health Care
Your health should be your priority, regardless of where your house is. Taking care of your family’s healthcare needs is easier to do through private expat medical insurance than it is through blending with your new country’s healthcare system. In some countries you must be working and in gainful employment to qualify to use their healthcare system. This takes time. In the interim, or even as a permanent solution, providing your own healthcare is a clever idea.
2 – Make Friends Before You Travel
You don’t have to wait until you have moved home to make new friends. Instead, you can get to work online meeting new people. It is important to set up your new social base as soon as you can when you move abroad. Online chat rooms, forums, and social media sites can all help.
3 – Plan for Culture Shock
You cannot escape the culture shock that will come from suddenly living in a different country. There is no way around it. Whether you get a sudden rush of panic when you are trying to talk to a shopkeeper or whether public transport sends you running home doesn’t matter. The shock to your system of living in a new routine with diverse ways of doing things will take weeks to get over. Plan for this. Don’t rush yourself for those first 30 days.
4 – Becoming a Citizen
You may or may not wish to obtain citizenship status in your new country. If your plan is to do this, consider staying there for a few months before you sign the paperwork. Make sure the country is right for you. You should consider hiring a legal translator, too.
5 – Guiding the Children
In one expat forum, expats living in France struggled most with explaining things to their children. Trying to prepare a child in school, whose friends are their whole lives, to move to a new way of life, is an arduous process. Prepare them by telling them you are moving well in advance. They can exchange details with friends and plan an update for their next teacher. They may struggle at first, but kids are far more adaptable than adults are.
6 – Prepare for the Bureaucracy
Moving abroad requires copious amounts of paperwork. You will need to show this paperwork several times to get what you need to be done. Enrolling the kids in school, starting a new job, or traveling out with the country all take paperwork. Apply for your visas and permits well in advance and be sure you have the right ones in place.
7 – Find a House
OK, so it could be an apartment or some other accommodation, but the point is that you find somewhere to stay in the new country before you leave the old one. You could arrive in a new country expecting to find somewhere quickly and be homeless for months, instead. Don’t leave it till the last minute.
8 – Legal Expectations
It is one thing to go to a new country and receive a bout of culture shock, but it is quite another to receive a legal shock. Expats living in Singapore reportedly love the city for its low crime rates. Unfortunately, many of them don’t think that the laws will be quite so strict as they are. If you break the law in Singapore, justice will be swift and indiscriminate. Research the laws in your new country before you move.
9 – Working Abroad
Just as we have a culture that we live in at home, we have a business culture in our home country. This culture changes when you move abroad. Eastern cities are notorious for working themselves to the point of exhaustion, while western culture is a little more relaxed. Preparing for working abroad by researching the biggest businesses in the region you are moving to will help.
10 – The Difference in Climate
The difference in weather might be a big draw for you in moving away. Although you may prefer warmer or cooler weather, expect for it to become unbearable at least once in those first few days. Adapting to a different climate takes time and effort. It takes good air conditioning and a great furnace. If you stick at it, though, your move could be the best adventure that you ever set out on. Be stubborn. You will soon become used to the cold.