5 Things To Consider Before Moving Abroad
Moving country is a daunting prospect but with a little planning the rewards can be life changing.
Accommodation, transportation, communications, employment and schools. Issues with culture shock; language barriers, bureaucracy, cuisine and the emotional impact of what you’re leaving behind and what you’re moving towards. It’s a lot to process.
That’s why we’ve put a list together to help you get on your way and get settled when you arrive.
It’s so easy to be so focused on the logistics of an international relocation that people may forget to ask themselves some simple questions. Where you live has a big impact on how you live. Here are a few things to think about before you move.
- What kind of lifestyle do you have? Are you looking for something similar when you move abroad? What kind of lifestyle do you really want and is it an option where you’re planning to go?
- Where do you live now? City centre life and country life are very different. Is where you live now how you like it or are you looking for a change of pace? Where you decide to settle will affect your day to day experience of a new country.
- Why do you want to move? People relocate for many reasons; professional, relationships, new opportunities. It’s important to research thoroughly and make sure your destination is the best place to find what you’re looking for.
The climate has a big influence on where you live and how you prepare. It’s important to consider what your ideal is, and beware, sometimes your ideal holiday destination isn’t the same when you live there.
- 4 Seasons: Many places, like continental Europe or much of North America, have hot summers and cold winters. The clothes you bring, the accommodation you pick and the transportation you choose are a big factor when living in a region with diverse climate conditions.
- Tropical: There are numerous attractions to living in the tropics but before you move you should remember that these areas are prone to devastating hurricanes. Intense heat and humidity make it impossible to exercise outdoors with constant sweating and showering. Air conditioning costs are high and constant sunscreen is essential.
- Mediterranean: Many people dream of moving to the Mediterranean and a huge expat population confirms the popularity, but it isn’t for everyone. Months on end of 40 degree weather sounds like heaven, until you live there. The Spanish have siestas for a reason, you just can’t do much when the streets are baking.
- Desert: The Middle East is firmly on the list of places to go to build a new life. The financial incentives might make it an irresistible temptation, but is life in a desert something you’ve really considered? It might seem counter intuitive but it gets cold, really cold. Temperatures can range from 40 degrees to -5 degrees in a day. The solar radiation is extreme due to the lack of humidity and you’ll spend most of the time going from one air conditioned environment to another.
- Polar: Yes, there are people that choose to live in Polar regions, about 4 million of them. The population density is low so if you like to live a tranquil and secluded life and have a passion for winter sports, this is for you. But, if you don’t want to live far from civilisation, hate the cold and long spells of darkness, love the company of others and rely on modern communications, maybe you should think again.
3. Language, Culture and Location
Research is vital before relocating to another country. You need to know what it is you want and what you don’t want. Each part of the world offers something different and to minimise the shock you should get familiar with what’s on offer at your chosen destination, visit beforehand if possible and research, research, research.
- Language: If you’re moving to a non-English speaking country, as a rule, the further from a city the less English is spoken. Can you read the street signs and menus? Modern technology can help but even if many people do speak English, learning the basics will really help you integrate.
- Culture: Different places have different standards; cuisine, entertainment, and social and religious practices can make life very different from what you’re used to. Make sure you understand how these will affect your lifestyle
- Location: Transportation systems, parks, schools, cost of living, shopping and entertainment; these are all things that can vary wildly from city to city. Do your research!
4. What to Take and How to Get it There
The logistics of moving abroad can be formidable. There are Relocation Specialists that do the hard work but there’s still a lot for you to consider.
- What to take: Many countries have typically smaller dwellings than what you may be used to, make a list of the things you just can’t do without. Prioritize, think about practicality and try to achieve a balance between your old life and the new. Are you moving to a bigger house? Many big cities have businesses that lease furniture, maybe an interior designer can help you make your new residence a home.
- Short term: If you aren’t planning a long term move, storage is an excellent option to keep your possessions safe until your return.
- How to get there: You can hire a van and transport your family and possessions but this can be a very physically and mentally demanding process. The best possible solution is to leave it to the professionals. Relocation Specialists are well practised in the logistics of moving home. They offer Support Services that include help with moving money, finding schools and accommodation, banking services, vehicle sourcing, paperwork, utilities connections and much more
- Security: However you decide to move, you need to make sure your belongings are safe. We always recommend you protect your possessions with Comprehensive Insurance.
5. Settling in
You can start the process of settling in before you arrive. With a bit of research you can experience a smooth transition.
- Communications: Find out about the communication capabilities at your destination and make sure you have everyone’s contact details and they have yours.
- Feel at home: International cuisine is a staple of any big city, a bit of research will probably find a restaurant that serves your favourite dish from home. Bring some photos from home, photos on the wall can help bridge the gap between your old life and your new one.
- Integrating: If you play sports you can look for a team or facility for your sport and start making connections. Interested in art? Check out if there are any classes and get in touch. Locals are usually only too happy to bridge cultures.
Remember, research and preparation! Below is a list of expat bulletin boards that are a great source of information and if you need professional help with your relocation or want to know more about how to make that move, click here.