Some things in life are as exciting as they are nerve-racking.
Whether you’re fulfilling a new assignment for work, chasing an opportunity or looking to be closer to your loved ones, packing up and moving overseas can certainly be one of them, especially considering recent world events.
Saying goodbye to a place where you have created a lot of memories can be hard.
But, you’re also bound for a place where you’ll be able to create a lot of new ones!
To make your big move a little more organised – and to get that great ticked-checklist feeling – check out these 5 simple yet fundamental tips for a smooth transition abroad.
1. Do your research.
Not just the obvious things like how to catch the train or where to go for coffee.
There are so many nuances between life in different cities and cultures that we don’t even know what we don’t know.
Think about the little luxuries and habits that you have in your day-to-day life at home. Do they exist abroad? Will you have access to them?
Are shops (think: supermarkets, banks, pharmacies) open every day of the week? Is it okay to eat with that hand? Should you eat with your hands at all?
And with the recent pandemic, have you checked how the country is handling the risk? What are the measures and support provided by the government? What about its booming industries?
2. Check your finances.
You aren’t going away on holiday, so you may want to consider saving over splurging.
Wherever you’re going, the cost of living will likely differ (for better or for worse). So, unless you’re made of money, budgeting is your friend!
Account for the money you will need to set up accommodation, deposits or down payments, and to open a bank account. (some local banks require a minimum amount or fee to open an account, for example).
If you’re one of the lucky ones moving for work, you may not have to worry about your income at the end of the month. Yet, this doesn’t mean you won’t have unexpected expenses, so best to save more than you think you’ll need.
On the other hand, if you’re moving for other reasons, and will have to look for a job in your new country, you will most certainly need to save more. With a market currently flooding by demand, competition can be tough and therefore, the more financially prepared you are, the better equipped you’ll be to raise up to the challenge.
3. Make sure you are protected.
Healthcare, insurance, and other liabilities and protections will either need to be covered by your employer or handled out of your own pocket.
As above, these will also count as expenses to be mindful of (ideally) pre-departure.
Depending on your visa situation, your rights and access to different services and facilities may also vary.
It’s also important to note that healthcare varies largely from a country to another. What may be covered by the country you currently live in may not be in the country you go to. Better check prior than having to pay the price if the need arises.
4. Don’t let the language be a barrier.
If the most commonly used language in your new country isn’t one that you speak fluently, well…prepare yourself.
Even if you aren’t a hyperpolyglot, learning a language doesn’t have to be a chore.
Learning to appreciate the importance of cross-cultural communication is all part of becoming a global citizen.
Hang in there – it’s only once you’ve really started getting into it that you see its amazing benefits.
5. Open up and let go.
Your mindset has a huge impact on how you adapt to change, and, thus, the ease of your transition.
If you’re not the type of person to go to a cinema, restaurant, bar, or any kind of social event alone…you may want to try it out.
After all, whether you like it or not, your most intimate and long-lasting relationship is with yourself.
Being comfortable and confident will also make it easier to meet and connect with locals. Why beat them when you can join them? If you want to really feel like you belong to a place, your best teachers and contacts are those who already do. What’s more, once you’re equipped with at least some basic language skills, you’ll notice how your knowledge and fluency develop as you converse with native speakers.