Are you planning a big move? Not a cross-country move, but bigger. If you plan to go and live abroad, you are about to open your eyes to a brand new world! Learning what it is like to live as a local in a different country will be an exciting experience! But before you rush onto the plane, you should make sure you are prepared. Here’s a few tips…
Research the place you want to move to.
What kind of food do they eat there? What are the living conditions like? What is the price of groceries and transportation? How safe is it to live there? What kind of weather do they have? You can consult the internet for a quick answers to these questions. Sometimes, you can even find experiences of people who have made the very move you are planning! These are valuable resources!
Visit the destination first.
This is not always 100% necessary, especially if you have friends living where you are moving who can give you specific details about the area. However, some things you simply can’t understand without actually experiencing it. Financially, this is the hardest step, but it is one of the surest ways to know if are going to like your new surroundings!
Get your passport.
It seems obvious, right? This step is pretty straightforward, but there are a few questions you should ask yourself. How much will a passport cost? How long will it take to receive after applying? What kind of passport do I need? For instance, there are two different passport options available if you are an American; a passport book and a passport card. Which do you need? According to USAGov, “A passport card is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book, but it cannot be used for international travel by air.”
Find out if there are any visa requirements.
Some countries will require you to get a visa. A visa is an endorsement on your passport. Your visa will determine how long you can stay in the country and legally verifies what you will be doing there. The process for getting a visa will take time and money. Depending on the country you plan to move to, this is a vital step to making your move a success.
Count your pennies and examine available employment.
Will you need to work while living abroad? Maybe not. First, find out the currency exchange rate. Rates are ever changing. So be sure to consult a reliable source like CNN’s money converting table. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that your dollar will stretch! Hopefully so. However, if you determine you will need to work to support yourself, research jobs available there. It’s smart to do this before actually moving. If a visa is needed, and you are planning to work, be sure to apply for the proper visa which will allow you to do so.
Pack things that will remind you of home.
You are just excited to be living abroad, so why consider this step? Homesickness is a real thing. From time to time you will need a taste of home. Looking at family pictures, rereading old cards given to you by friends or even listening to the music that played on the radio back home can renew your strength when you start to feel homesick.
Give yourself time to adapt.
The first three months you will be enjoying life, feeling like a tourist. The next three months may test your resolve. Because at this point, you stop feeling like a tourist and start understanding some of the challenges associated with local living. The following three months? These will be a good indication of your true feelings about your new home. Just endure a little and let yourself adapt!
Embrace the culture and people.
Are you moving to a different continent or to a neighboring country? Either way, life will be different than before. One of the most important steps is to have an open mind and do what the locals do. You don’t have to jump into the deep end right away, just step a little out of your comfort zone. Try the foods, learn the customs and laugh at what the natives laugh at. Sometimes, that will mean laughing at yourself. Don’t worry, “you” can still be “you”, you’ll just build a little character!
Making an international move is a big decision. You can’t do it without a little planning. The experience, though, will be worth every penny invested, every late night spent doing research and every awkward experience to come! It will all culminate to make for an exciting life story. One worth living, and one worth retelling!