Last Updated on October 11, 2019 by Kari-Ann Ryan
Moving abroad can be so exciting! Even buying that one-way ticket to a foreign country can feel like a rush, and maybe even crazy. But whether you are completely devoted to your job and will follow your company wherever the wind blows or just wanted to try a new adventure, it’s very important to do your research before you go. Otherwise, you may find yourself regretting or second-guessing your decision to buy that ticket.
Check out these tips for moving abroad:
1. Do Some Research Before Moving In
So you know the country you want to move to? Great. How about the city? You won’t want to learn the hard way that randomly picking one because the name sounded cool or it was the one that everyone visits, wasn’t the best choice after all.
Do some research and learn about the history, geography, public figures, and most important, the culture you’re going to be immersing yourself into. That way you can buy the plane ticket with confidence and not have any regrets after settling in.
2. Only Bring What You Need
Whether you’re moving overseas for a few months, a few years, or forever, you don’t need to bring everything you own. As comforting as it can feel to bring a piece of home with you, international moving expenses will pile up quickly.
If you plan on living abroad long-term, it would be a good idea to sell as much of your furniture and large items as possible. As tough as it can be to leave your possessions and life behind in the United States, you may change your opinion as well as overall look on life after living it differently in a foreign country.
But if you are only going for a year or two, find some way to store your things instead of selling them. You’ll find that keeping them in your parents basement for a few years is more cost-efficient than selling them first and having to buy everything once you come back.
3. Purchase Travel Insurance
Traveling is expensive, but any injuries incurred while abroad are not covered under your health insurance policy. So if you end up going to the hospital or need emergency transportation back to the U.S., you can go and only worry about the injury – not the cost.
If you were recently hired abroad, check with your new employer if they offer health insurance. If they do, find out what exactly is covered. But if not, you may need to look into long-term travel insurance.
4. Get Your Visa or Residency
You won’t be getting anywhere past the customs line at the airport if you don’t have a visa. Do your research and contact the embassy representing the country you’re visiting to find out the rules and regulations regarding the length of time you’re allowed to visit with or without a visa.
If you are living abroad for work, know that some countries require your employer to sponsor you before issuing your work permit or visa. But if you are not planning on working while abroad, some countries won’t allow you to work at all, including volunteering or other forms of unpaid work.
Otherwise, applying for residency would be the next best option if you are planning to live there indefinitely.
5. Don’t Forget About Important Documents
If you plan on living abroad indefinitely, make sure to take all important documents with you, including all of the following:
- Birth certificate
- Social security card
- Visa and passport
- Police checks
- Divorce and custody records
- Educational documents
6. Figure Out Whether You Will Be Driving
In countries like the U.S., getting around without a car can be a nightmare if you don’t live in a big city. But other countries like those in Europe, you can get away with public transportation.
Find out how people get around in your country and whether or not you will need a driver’s license. If you do, figure out how to get an international driver’s license so you don’t have to re-take any tests or courses.
7. Open Up to New Experiences
It’s as simple as peas and carrots. If you try to live like an American in another country, you’re going to be miserable. Part of the whole experience is to try new things: food, languages, customs, etc. You may find yourself learning a thing or two, even about your own country after getting away from it.
8. Don’t Feel Obligated to Change Completely
Moving to another country will require you to make some changes, yes. But when it comes to doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable, like converting to another religion, you don’t have to do it. The recommendation of trying new things is only meant to be taken so far; simply try it out and if you don’t like it, don’t feel pressured to do it again.
Just keep in mind that some experiences can become tiresome, like constantly speaking another language because none of your friends speak English. So don’t be afraid to give yourself a break and Skype your family and friends once in a while.
9. Be Patient When Learning a New Language
Although many countries in the world do speak English, you won’t be hearing them speaking it unless you’re in England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, or other country with English as the official language. So it would be best to learn a new language.
Although this isn’t easy; learning a new language can be very difficult, especially if it isn’t related to English. So just give yourself time and patience if you don’t pick it up right away. And be sure to treat yourself after learning something new!
10. Give Yourself Time to Adjust
As exciting as it can seem, moving to another country is very stressful, and culture shock is a real thing. So don’t expect yourself to just fit right in and everything to go smoothly. Although you can accelerate the process by involving yourself in as many activities as possible and keeping busy.
Just like moving to another city in the United States or starting a new job, you’ll have to be patient before making friends. Although it’s a bonus if you are moving abroad with someone else.
11. Make New Friends
Just like in the states, you can’t expect yourself to get along with everyone you meet, but chances are you will meet someone you can have fun with after a while. This goes along with the previous note of opening yourself up to new experiences.
Who knows? Befriending the locals can also mean job opportunities, finding a better place to live, and even rides to work (as long as you don’t take advantage). They can also provide access to things and places outside of the tourist area.
12. Be Prepared to Make Mistakes
As a foreigner in a foreign country, it’s obvious that things are done differently, but certain things will take you by surprise. You won’t know what until you experience it, but be prepared to make mistakes and laugh it off.
For instance, if speaking a new language and you want to say “he smells” about the person behind you but you say “you smell” instead, you’ll be turning red the instant you realize what you said. But relax. It happens. You’re probably not the first person to do it either.
13. Discover What Your Country Doesn’t Have
Although your new country may not have some of your favorite foods, make it a goal to find a new favorite food. You may also discover new companies and brands of foods that aren’t offered in the U.S.
Just beware of stomach poisoning as many countries’ have different regulations about food on the market than those in the U.S. You may find that it will take some getting used to as your body may not know how to process the new food right away.
14. Don’t Just Stay in the Big Cities
Yes it’s cool to stay in the big city for and show off to your American friends. But you’ll really be missing out if you don’t jump on the opportunity of carpooling with a local friend and visiting their grandma who lives an hour away.
It’s more than just visiting another town; you get to have experiences that the tourists don’t and a whole new way of experiencing life that’s different than what you know. You may also notice that the locals in small towns speak with different dialects than those living in the city.
Find a Trustworthy Moving Company
Moving to another country is a big deal, so the last thing you need is for your things to get lost in transit or personal documents stolen in the process of moving. So you will want to find a reputable moving company that is trusted and can get you there as effortlessly as possible.
When doing your search, check out the international movers at Mid-West Moving & Storage. Not only do we have 35 years of experience, but our professionals can get as many of your things to your new home, wherever it may be, as quickly as possible.
Give us a call at 847.593.7201 for a free moving quote! We look forward to assisting you soon and wish you the best of luck in your new home abroad!