Considering Life Abroad? Take a Look at These Personal Experiences

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on May 01, 2018. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.

Generally, when people are considering life in another country, there are a few common topics that are brought up at the forefront of our conversations. Questions such as:

How do I bring my dog with me?

What do I do if I have a medical emergency?

Where do I do my banking?

What can I do to be sustainable?

How do I share this experience with my friends and family who think I am nuts?

Sound familiar? Chances are these topics have been on your mind, too.

The articles below were written by other expats who have made the plunge into an international life. Many of them were once in the same position you are in now, or may have been in the past. If you are thinking about spending any time abroad, make sure you review the five articles below.

Considering Life Abroad? Take a Look at These Personal Experiences      

Some expats, and others just visiting Ambergris Caye.


Banking internationally has become a popular option for folks who are looking for currency and jurisdiction diversification. Realizing that they don’t need all of their eggs in 1 country, mainstream investors, travelers, and expats have been spreading their assets over multiple locations.

When considering a bank account abroad, you have to identify what type of bank account you are looking for – a local bank account in the country you are moving to, and/or an international bank account. International meaning in a foreign country (not necessarily where you are moving to), and sometimes in a foreign currency.

If you’re considering moving to another county, you may want a local bank account in that country. Having a local bank account will allow you to pay local bills, deposit and withdraw in the local currency, and in many cases, it will make it easier to get a mortgage or loan. Typically, you cannot open a local account unless you are a resident of the country and, in some jurisdictions, owning real estate can qualify you for a local account.

If you’re not quite ready to move but are looking for an easy first step abroad, a bank account with an international bank is a great first step – especially in a jurisdiction where they speak your first language. If English is your first language, consider Belize. Below, you’ll find an article about one of the highest-rated international banks in the country.

Caye International Bank proudly announces its place on the list in Global Finance Magazine’s 2018 “World’s Best Private Banks.” Caye International Bank is listed as the best bank in Belize and is known for its superior reputation with regard to customer’s privacy, security, and its financial stability in the international banking world.  

See what President Peter Zipper has to say.

Considering Life Abroad? Take a Look at These Personal Experiences

Bringing Fido with You

Bringing your pet with you when moving overseas is often an obvious choice for many. Each country has certain requirements, and depending on where you are heading, there may be restrictions on breeds allowed into the country, time in quarantine (if any), and in some cases, extra vaccination paperwork.  

Also, some airlines have additional pet transportation restrictions and costs. Some won’t fly short-snout breeds, while others won’t fly pets in cargo during the summer season. Plan your trip accordingly and plan to be flexible to ensure your pet is traveling the smartest and safest way possible.

Thinking about bringing your beloved furry family member to Belize from the U.S.? Here is a complete set of requirements you need to help guide you in your quest – and soon, you and Fido (or Felix) will be off to paradise!

Here is a list of easy requirements.

Considering Life Abroad? Take a Look at These Personal Experiences

Will everyone be able to get on board?

What are Health Services Like?

Across the globe, there is a hospital designation called “JCI Accredited,” JCI standing for “Joint Commission International.” As stated on their website, “Joint Commission International (JCI) works to improve patient safety and quality of healthcare in the international community by offering educationpublicationsadvisory services, and international accreditation and certificationIn more than 100 countries, JCI partners with hospitals, clinics, and academic medical centers; health systems and agencies; government ministries; academia; and international advocates to promote rigorous standards of care and to provide solutions for achieving peak performance.”

In other words, the healthcare facility meets international standards. With every one of us having a different need, it is absolutely critical to understand if your health needs can be met prior to making the move. Take a day touring the hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms, and meeting specialty doctors.

One country that often surprises people for having a JCI-accredited hospital is Nicaragua.  Located in the capital, Managua, the Hospital Metropolitano caters to both local and international patients who are looking for inexpensive, reliable healthcare services.

Jamie Cain explores her experience visiting a doctor in Nicaragua, “Years ago, I fractured a tendon in my left ring finger, and lately the joint in my finger has become quite crooked. I have been postponing surgery for it since the cost is so high in the U.S. Now that I work for Gran Pacifica and travel back and forth regularly to Central America, I decided to inquire about having the surgery performed in Nicaragua.”  

See how Jamie’s experience turned out.

Considering Life Abroad? Take a Look at These Personal Experiences

Jamie at Gran Pacifica, Nicaragua, post-doctor visit in Managua.

Getting Involved in the Community

So I moved abroad, now what?  

Getting involved in the local happenings will help you to build your community. Learn about what others are doing to give back and to encourage sustainability, and jump on the bandwagon with them. Below, Mike Cobb shares what his company is doing to give back to the tropical paradise he has been involved with for over two decades:

“The other benefit of the concentration of tourism on the island is the ability of the country to preserve broader areas of biodiversity. Again, by providing jobs and providing options in the economy, we can prevent the deforestation of huge areas of the jungle by people just looking to farm a little, raise some animals, and feed their families. Poverty is the single-largest danger to the environment today, and the creation of sustainable employment is the means to its elimination.”

Learn about ways developers can contribute to sustainability.

Considering Life Abroad? Take a Look at These Personal Experiences

Rotaract Club of Ambergris Caye hosting Professional Development classes for the local young adults.

Spreading the Word When You Find Home

When you finally make the move and are absolutely thrilled with your decision, sharing the excitement with your friends and family may be difficult. Chances are they won’t understand if they haven’t visited you.

Take a look at how Patrick Hiebert, once-Canadian and now-Latino, explains it as he was sitting on a beach on Ambergris Caye, “As I write this, I’m sitting on a lounge chair made of driftwood looking out at a pristine flour-white sand beach and brilliant turquoise Caribbean water. It’s basically the scene many of us picture of what the perfect vacation or ‘permanent’ vacation (aka working or retiring in Central America) looks like. The temperature is a perfect 26 Celsius (79 Fahrenheit) and the light breeze is blowing through the palm tree next to me rustling the leaves slightly in a hypnotic rhythm, making it hard not to just decide to have a nap instead of writing.” He continues on, “Why aren’t more Canadians and Americans here? I can only surmise it’s because they aren’t aware of it, so let me tell you a little about how easy and inexpensive it is to live this kind of life.”   

Read more here.

Considering Life Abroad? Take a Look at These Personal Experiences

Patrick’s experience on Ambergris Caye.

No matter where you end up, chances are you will have the experience of a lifetime. Preparation helps, as does talking with people who have already done it. Identify your needs and expectations, and make sure they are realistic about where you are going. Most importantly, have fun and remember that you’re doing what many people only dream about.

Considering Life Abroad? Take a Look at These Personal Experiences

This article was published in the Escape Artist Weekly Newsletter on May 01, 2018. If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter, please click here.