Moving Abroad & International Moving Tips: Planning Ahead
Starting a life in a new country is a big step and there’s a lot of things to consider along the way. This article will cover some of the most important tips you’ll need to have a successful move to another country, enjoy a smooth transition, and settle in to life in a new place.
Get Your Documents In Order
There’s a lot to do in order to prepare yourself for life in a new country, but none may be more important than this tip. Make sure to have all relevant documents in order. This includes everything from travel papers, passport, and Visa to medical records, insurance, and banking information.
If you’ll be applying for a job, an apartment, or both, make sure to have all the necessary paperwork needed. Keep in mind that the requirements may be different from one country to the next so some research may be in order. If you have work already lined up, be sure to contact the employer regarding any documents or other requirements of employment.
Keep In Touch
Even if you get a vibrant social life started right out of the gate, you will likely experience some homesickness. It can be helpful to establish a schedule for keeping in touch with friends and family back home since you’ll no doubt miss them and they’ll be able to offer support. They will also want to hear some of the adventures and stories you have from your new home!
You may also want to bring one or two items that remind you of things or people from home. Nothing too bulky obviously, but a small keepsake or two can be nice to have around for those times when you miss certain experiences, places, or people.
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Getting Settled In A New City & Learning The Culture
Outside of physically moving, there are other challenges to living in a different country. Learning the language, customs, and social norms are also important, and hopefully something you can get a jump on before making the move. Here’s some things to help and keep in mind as you prepare.
Learn & Practice the Language
Not every country will require you to learn a foreign language, but many of them will. Even if you can get by with English in many countries, you will likely find things easy to navigate and figure out if you speak the native language.
If you don’t have access to formal classes, there are some free resources available online that can help you learn the basics of many languages. Websites like Duolingo and Busuu are two popular options that allow a good amount of free learning tools for a host of different languages. Both are good places to start if you’re new to a language and work well to supplement and practice your comprehension as you get better.
Patience Is Key
Depending on where you’re moving to and from, things may be a little different from you’re used to, or they may be a lot different. Patience is very important as you learn how things operate and get used to the flow of things. The pace of life can be quite a culture shock in some countries, especially if you’re moving from a bustling American city.
Traffic is definitely a different animal in some places and public transportation may not be as timely or reliable you’d hoped. (There are places, especially in Europe, where public transportation is far better than most places in the U.S..) Similarly, bureaucracy may be more slow moving. Simple paperwork and forms may not be processed right away or there may be more steps in the process than seem reasonable at times. Stay the course and remain patient—you’ll get accustomed to all the nuances in short order.
International & Overseas Moving Resources
Transitions Abroad - Transitions Abroad is a website that has information about working, living, studying, and volunteering in a foreign country. This link is to the section of the website with articles specifically about moving and living abroad.
Cost of Living Index - Cost of living is an important factor to consider no matter where you’re moving and it goes double for moving abroad. This guide provides an index for cost of living in different countries along several key metrics.