Moving and living abroad is a titillating and exciting proposition: Living in a new climate, completely new surroundings, exotic foods and people. But before selling off your possessions and applying for a visa, you might want to take a moment to consider if you’re really ready for the transition or only the romantic idealism of it. A bit of soul searching and planning can go a long way in making your potential move abroad a rewarding experience.
When moving overseas, the key is definitely location, location, location. If you’re relocating for work, then you probably won’t have too much say in this decision. Otherwise, you’ve got a big decision on your hands. Wherever you’re thinking about going, try to think about how life will really be. Will you still love it when you have to run errands or when your car breaks down? Make sure to factor in how everyday life will affect you.
Unfortunately, moving abroad will probably be expensive. Even if you plan to move to a “cheaper” country, it can be difficult to immediately habituate to the local “cheap” way of life. Additionally, there will always be unexpected expenses, especially when getting settled, so you should plan appropriately to have a financial cushion to cover you in the event of unforeseen problems. Obviously, the amount of money to have is different for every situation (Do you have a family? Will you need to buy a car?), but a general guide is to have a three months cushion in the event you’re living off of your savings.
Along these lines, it’s important to have a way to make money in your destination country. However, if you’re a retiree with a pension or a student enrolled in a program, this may not be applicable to you. Otherwise, you either need to have a job lined up ahead of time or become a freelancer to support yourself when abroad. You’ll also meet people faster and learn about the culture quicker if you’re working side-by-side with others in the country.
If you have a family, moving abroad is a decision that they must be included in. Their lives will be permanently changed, so they need to have a say in the where, how, when, and if. You’ll all need one another’s support for the entire process of moving and living abroad.
Venturing to another country will take a lot of preparation. You’ll need to get your paperwork, possessions, and finances organized well ahead of time, but the payoff can be incredibly rewarding once you’ve successfully established yourself abroad.