- Cultural & Language Differences
- Get Involved
- Find An Expat Community
- Government Offices & Transportation
- Resources For Moving Abroad
Whether you’re simply taking a long-term vacation or plan to become a full-time resident, moving to another country offers a lot of excitement, possibilities, and for most people, a little anxiety about making a long distance international move. It’s completely normal to feel this mix of emotions and be nervous—after all, you’re making a big change!
That doesn’t mean it has to be overly stressful or difficult. We’ve put together this list of helpful tips to help you with moving to another country, focusing mainly on how to get prepare for and get comfortable in your new surroundings.
Cultural & Language Differences
This is probably one of the biggest adjustments to be made when moving to another country, though that largely depends on where you’re moving to and from. As most people considering a move like this understand, learning the language (if different from English) is one of the keys to navigating you’re way around, both geographically and culturally.
Make sure you learn as much about cultural differences as you can, too. Some missteps are bound to happen, but you can certainly minimize them and better set yourself up to make amends when the occasional faux pas does happen.
This guide is a good resource to research cultural and social differences by country.
You can take whatever broad interpretation of this tip that you’d like, but the key is to engage with your new community. That could mean volunteering your time, joining a local club or organization, or just making yourself a regular at places in your neighborhood. Get to know the local area, sample the food, and find out what sort of entertainment is available.
The key is that you’re immersing yourself into the community, allowing you to meet people and showing locals that you’re invested in your new home. Naturally, you’ll want to find out quickly where certain things are, like the local grocery store or medical center.
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Find An Expat Community
Many countries around the world have an expat community that can help you both meet new people and get some insight into your new country. Many of these communities have an online presence to help others that are considering moving to another country, or as a way to keep in touch and coordinate things. Internations (see link under resources section) is one such hub of expat communities you can look at and there are many others dedicated to specific countries.
Government Offices & Transportation
Locating the local government offices and learning how the bureaucracy works in another country is very important. If you’re on a Visa while moving, you absolutely have to make sure you keep things current and you don’t want to risk having to do things at the last minute. Depending on the country, things can also move much more slowly in terms of paperwork.
Public transportation, especially if you’ll be depending on it, is also an important aspect to figure out in a new country. Learning the options, where they go, and when they leave is something that may take some getting used to. And again, things like signage, safety, and timeliness can vary depending on the region and country.
Even if you won’t be driving a vehicle, it’s good to familiarize yourself with the rules of the road. There will be some differences—possibly significant ones—that you will probably need to learn. Things like right of laws are different in many places and this also applies to bicycles and pedestrians! Take your cues from the locals if you can’t look into it before venturing out.
Resources For Moving Abroad
Expat Resources - A list of helpful resources and articles from the website Expat Info Desk. Here you’ll find information about living in different countries, how to adjust to life in another country and much more!
Internations - Internations is a website dedicated to those living outside of their home country. The forums are a great place to have your questions answered or meet up with others in the area you’re living or planning to move. An all around great resource.