Relocating Abroad can be exciting and exhilarating, but it still presents its challenges. Life-changing events, including moving, can have serious effects on your mental and emotional health. Moving to a new country, in particular, can decrease your happiness and contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety.
This doesn’t mean that you should avoid moving abroad. However, it does mean that you should take steps to prepare yourself beforehand to make your move go as smoothly as possible. Here’s what you need to do to prepare yourself for moving abroad:
1. Research the Country in Advance
Before anything else, take some time to research the country you intend to move to. It’s important to learn about what you can expect from life in that part of the world and dispel any myths or misconceptions you may have. Further, each country is unique and has its own history and culture that will impact your life there.
Some things you should research include:
- The weather and climate;
- Cost of living, especially housing;
- Local and state laws, policies, and regulations;
- Employment statistics and resources;
- City, county, and state maps;
- And local attractions, entertainment, and recreation opportunities.
Additionally, you can research any concerns or issues specific to your needs. For instance, if you’re moving for work, you can research relocation benefits and perks offered by your company, your property manager, or living community. Familiarizing yourself with these things in advance can help you shape your moving plans and allow you to prepare yourself for this new phase of your life.
2. Find Employment and Housing
Next, you need to figure out where you will work and live. These are, arguably, two of the most important things to consider before moving anywhere. If you’re moving for work or school, you may already have both housing and employment plans. Depending on your circumstances, though, you may need to make important decisions about employment and housing that will affect your daily life.
Starting out abroad is significantly easier if you already have a job lined up before you move. Finding a job abroad can take time, effort, and patience. Take some time to explore the job market, apply for jobs, or line up interviews before you move. You can also benefit from attending networking events, visiting career fairs, or making casual professional connections once you do move. Doing so can help you get your name out there and establish yourself in this community while you search.
Similarly, it’s best to secure housing before you move. Housing can also be more competitive abroad, so take some time to begin hunting sooner rather than later. At the very least, this research can be useful in getting to know the housing marketing, as well as the country itself and its various neighborhoods. Depending on your finances and job situation, you may need to consider finding roommates or living outside the city itself so you can afford your new place.
3. Take Only What You Need
When you’ve found your new pad, you have to determine what, exactly, you will bring with you. Living abroad may require downsizing or reducing the size of your living space. Further, apartment sizes have been shrinking over the years. Simply put, be mindful of what you bring with you on your move. If you don’t use it regularly or it won’t be useful abroad, you may not want to bring it along. You can also consider renting a furnished apartment if you only want to bring your personal items or if you don’t want to worry about buying furniture. If you’ll be living with roommates, you can also ask them what things they already have so you don’t accidentally double-up on furniture, items, or amenities.
4. Take the Costs of living abroad into consideration
The cost of living abroad does vary, but it tends to be higher in the city than in rural or less densely populated areas. Though your salary may also be higher, you’ll likely have to adjust your budget to account for big-city costs. Some expenses you should consider include:
- Housing and utilities;
- Taxes, including sales and income tax;
- Tuition and school supplies, if you’re going to college;
- Food and groceries;
- And transportation, vehicle maintenance, and parking.
If you aren’t careful, these extra costs can add up quickly. Luckily, there are many ways you can reduce your spending and stretch your money further than expected. Consider creating a formal budget or using a budget app to better track your spending. You should also look for ways to reduce your largest expenses. For instance, you can focus on cooking at home rather than eating out to spend less on food, or using a bike-share or public transportation to avoid driving a car.
5. Make New Friends
As you explore, do your best to put yourself out there, meet more people, and make some friends. Building relationships after moving to a new place is crucial to avoid relocation depression, as well as to fully embrace the culture and lifestyle of your city. Get to know your neighbors and coworkers, join clubs or groups that share your interests, sign up for classes or other group activities anything that interests you.
It can take time to forge new friendships and get connected to a new place, so be patient with yourself. Look for other ways to boost your happiness and take care of your emotional health. There are countless ways to spend your time in abroad, so do your best to take advantage of this chance to entertain yourself and enrich your life. After all, before you know it, this once unfamiliar and intimidating place will feel like home.