Tips For Expats Moving Abroad
Issue: Jun 2018
Moving to a new country often means you will need to become familiar with a new money and banking system, business culture, how real estate transactions (including apartment or house rentals) are handled, and how to adjust to unfamiliar foods and drinks. You will also need to develop at least a rudimentary understanding of the language. All of this change coming at you at once is stressful, to say the least! When you are also trying to get your belongings into the country, dealing with customs requirements and moving companies can seem overwhelming.
Understand the Language and Culture
Visiting a city or country as a tourist is nothing like living there for months or years at a time. While tourists can usually expect to be catered to in exchange for their money, expats must understand how living in their chosen foreign country, city, and neighbourhood will feel from day to day.
Some tips to better understand the language and culture of your prospective home include taking language classes, befriending other expats who can help you navigate the finer points of cultural do’s and don’ts, and basically immersing yourself in the culture by speaking as much as possible with local people, most of whom will appreciate your attempts to learn and speak their language.
Research Your New Neighbourhood
Spend as much time as possible researching local news on Internet sites and in newspapers to understand local concerns and politics. If you plan to bring children with you or want to attend school yourself, you’ll need to know what educational facilities are available along with any associated costs and enrollment requirements. Also check on important areas like the accessibility to healthcare, renting or buying property, accessibility to public transport and legal help should you require it.
Expat forums are a great way to get this kind of information from people who share your perspective and concerns. Expats are often willing to answer your specific questions or point you in the right direction for answers.
Find Someone You Can Turn to For Help
Expat associations and friends can be invaluable resources as you figure out the laws, customs, and culture of your new home. Local authorities, business contacts, professionals, and new local friends can also help you make sense of and navigate through challenges you will encounter.
While nothing beats person-to-person communication, many internet sites have been created exclusively to assist expats in all stages of their transition from one country to another and are amazing resources.
Understand What Items You’ll Need in Your New Home
Unless you simply must ship special furniture or other large items, it’s best to limit the amount of stuff you take with you and spend your money on purchasing new items instead of forking it over to shipping companies or customs departments. Having said that, there are things you might not be able to leave behind beyond the basic necessities, such as work files or samples, specialized health equipment, or the only mattress you’ve ever found that allows you a good night’s sleep.
Create a list of must-haves early on in your moving journey so that you can adequately prepare to ship to, locate, or purchase necessary items in your new home.