There are a huge amount of things that need to be considered before you make a decision as life-changing as moving abroad.
But for those of you who fully intend to start a new life overseas, there’s no reason to feel intimidated.
There may be many questions to ask and decisions to make and some of them will unfortunately be difficult or tedious, but knowing the answers to the three key questions below should help you prepare for everything else.
Taking the plunge and moving abroad isn’t a decision that can be made lightly, even by the most adventurous of would-be expats. It’s extremely important to think long and hard about not just where you want to go, but why you want to go there and how it will suit you.
Depending on your circumstances, the job you want or your family, a place you want to move to may simply not accept you. On the other hand, there may be places that want your skills that just aren’t appealing to you personally.
There are many things you need to consider here. Of course you want to live in a country that you’re attracted to, but it needs to work with your situation too.
If the country you’ve got your heart set on operates a visa system, you need to work out a plan detailing what kind of visa you need and how to go about securing it. Whether your move is temporary or permanent, it will help to choose somewhere where your skills are in demand as this often makes the emigration process easier.
Emigration restrictions will differ massively from country to country, as will taxation laws. Unfortunately, this boring stuff is some of the most necessary to get your head around, but if you do it early on you can move on to the more exciting aspects of planning a move abroad!
If this question sounds ambiguous, that’s because it’s supposed to. Moving abroad isn’t something you do every day, so it’s the perfect opportunity to ask as many of life’s big questions as you can.
There are many reasons why people choose to go abroad and many things they aim to accomplish through the move. Some people want to chase a career, some people want to make a better life for themselves or their family and some just want a fresh start.
It’s important to know exactly what you want out of a life abroad before you make that jump. However, the big life-long goals aren’t the only ones you should be looking at.
Everyone has a list of things they’ve always wanted to do but feel like they’ll never get round to – so dust off those bucket lists because it’s time to start ticking things off.
For example, moving abroad is the perfect time to learn a new language or see a landmark you’ve always been curious about. Embracing a new culture will open up a world of opportunities, like trying that food you’ve always wanted to taste or taking on challenges like mountain climbing or skydiving.
Of course you’re prepared for change, you wouldn’t be intending to move abroad in the first place if you weren’t. However, even if you think you know what you’re letting yourself in for you may still be surprised by the sheer number of differences you’ll encounter once you begin your new life.
Depending on where you’re going to live, be prepared to begin learning a new language and be up for trying new foods every day (as you won’t necessarily have any access to your old favourite meals or snacks.)
You shouldn’t expect people native to your new country to speak your language. Especially if your residence will be permanent, putting in the effort to learn a language will go a long way to helping you ingratiate yourself and feel more comfortable around your new culture and friends.
Learning even some of the language of your adopted home will also help you deal with street signs, shop names, restaurant menus, newspapers, magazines etc. as you encounter them in everyday life.
Even if you’re moving to a nation with the same language as back home, things like the local culture, attitudes and sense of humour could be hugely different.
Your day-to-day schedule may also need adjusting depending on the working hours/business culture of your new home. You may need to get used to shops closing earlier or being open later, or being closed on certain days of the week. You may need to get used to different motoring rules too, like the dreaded switch between the left and right side of the road!
Your social circle will also change. You’ll make new friends and life in your old home will continue without you. After being gone for a few years, a lot of things about where you used to live will have changed. It can be a bit of a shock to be confronted with these differences if you’re expecting life back home to stay the same while you’re living abroad.
It should come as no surprise that life will change after a move abroad. However, if the answers to these three questions excite you, you’re ready to make the leap. Living overseas can be a truly rewarding and life enhancing experience – so embrace it!
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