Moving abroad can be exciting, but stressful at the same time. There’s a lot of decisions to make, and a lot to plan if you’re seriously considering such a big move. Here are some simple tips to make the decisions a little easier.
- Give it some time after you move. The excitement of moving to a new country can wear off quickly when the realities of living in a foreign country hit you. The first months can be stressful, as you try to negotiate a new culture or not speaking the language. Even if you’ve moved to another english speaking country, challenges like sorting out bank accounts, setting up utilities, and struggling to make friends can make the transition difficult. Give it six months for these things to settle down, so you can tell if you actually don’t like your new home or just don’t like moving challenges.
- Find a relocation expert to help you find a new property. Where finding quality properties is half of the challenge, it’s important to get smart help to help you not only find the home, but negotiate the legalities of buying or renting abroad.
- Resist going home while you’re still getting used to your new country. Even if there’s a great flight deal, if you head home while you’re still settling in, it can set you back in negotiating your new life. When you’re home, everything is easier, with no language barrier or culture confusion. The ease might tempt you to call time early on living abroad before you’ve given it a fair chance.
- Pick up some language basics. As a tourist, you can get away with very limited use of the local language, as long as you struggle through the pleasantries like hello, goodbye, please and thank you. As an ex-pat, you’ll need a little more. It can help you to settle in and start to build connections, and will show your new community that you’re trying. Learn some simple phrases, like ‘this, ‘that, some numbers, and the words for ‘here’ and ‘where’. This can help you ask for directions, book a taxi, buy food and lots of other things. Whether you ask for ‘two please’ at the cinema, point at a map with ‘here please’ in a taxi or point at a cake and say ‘that one please’, your new words can open up a lot of options.
- Ask other ex-pats for their survival tools. Bonding with the ex-pat community can really help you to find the best resources for life abroad, like apps or websites. For example, maybe they can recommend a takeaway with english menus, a handy app to navigate local public transport or a Facebook group for local ex-pats.
- Try to avoid making comparisons. Life can work differently in other countries to the way you’re used to, and it can be easy to make unfavourable comparisons. If you find yourself wondering why the stores close earlier, or the banking system is complicated or why you can’t buy your favourite cheese anywhere, try and balance it by noticing the things that are better, like better options for public transports, cleaner streets or better coffee.