5 Important things to plan when moving overseas

Written by Adley Burrows

Young people are well renowned for globetrotting and settling in almost every crevice of our glorious planet. However, after they have found themselves on their spiritual quest, its back to their cosy living quarters at home.

This is a far cry from uprooting your life and calling a new land home; a feat many of us will never accomplish. Yes, we’ll parade around the nation finding work in other major cities but this still isn’t comparable to leaving the country for an alien realm.

While moving abroad remains a task only taken by the brave, that courageous bunch come in the thousands.

In 2014, it was reported over 300,000 British citizens left the UK that year with the US estimating 107,000 emigrants in 2015. Other than job opportunities and family, the question would be asked, why would anyone leave a western country?

Thousands of immigrants come knocking at the doors of first world terrain every day, why would anyone flee from a land filled with opportunities?

Many reasons. The cost of living, the excitement of the unknown, weather, and, most of all, the rewarding independence.

The intimidating liberation that comes with packing up and relocating is a life-changing experience, something that the masses will never feel and something, some would argue, they’re missing out on.

As intense a sensation living abroad may be, there isn’t always a pot of gold at the end of the intercontinental rainbow. No, there are many factors to consider before the transition can be made. Let’s look at a few.

5 important things to think about when moving abroad

Malta Mdina and Zebbug destination in Europe on a budget

1. Language barriers

This obviously doesn’t apply to those who speak the tongue of their intended nation or those travelling to countries whose first language is the same as their own.

This applies to those moving to China, with no Mandarin or Cantonese experience, those moving to France, having no French in their arsenal… you get the picture, language barriers are no fun.

Living abroad with no knowledge of the national language will be near impossible, however, not completely impossible. Knowing just English will suffice for the bare necessities, but when it goes beyond that i.e. making relations or creating a career, it won’t cut it.

Nevertheless, this shouldn’t be a deterrent, studies have shown that it is very possible, with the correct process, to learn a language in just three months, which is especially applicable if immersed in the culture.

2. Living Arrangements

Unless you’re feeling wildly spontaneous, you’re unlikely going to change countries without living arrangements completely sorted or at least an idea of the next steps.

Upon immigration to the UK, there are several tools such as Tepilo or Castlesmart, that allow you to enquire, rent and even buy properties. The US offers Realtor with the same abilities, and Australia, Domain. As these are sovereign states, it’s unsurprising that their housing options are wide and varied but not all nations have these luxuries.

This would mean researching locations, reading reviews, maybe finding roommates, calling and emailing estate agents and then deciphering all of the information as it probably isn’t in English. While this is a lot of effort, it can be done. Many emigrants have said contacting the locals of their planned place gave a personal insight into location which very much helped when deciding on living arrangements.

Chinatown temple LA

3. Culture

Don’t be too surprised if you wake up bright and early 25th December to be greeted with a regular working day. Even countries that seem similar on the surface, such as the trifecta of the United States, United Kingdom and Australia couldn’t be more different culturally. If these English speaking, predominantly Christian states differ so greatly imagine the gap between other foreign lands.

Adjusting to the culture of a new realm is not easy, the work days may be different, the greetings, their bathroom arrangements, everything could be different. Yet, as is human nature, we adapt to our surroundings and slowly but surely become used to our new environment.

Regardless of culture change, the commonality of just being people remains.

4. Work & School

Countless up-and-move escapades have been a result of job opportunities across the globe simply too lucrative to miss. In these situations there is the simple matter of acclimatizing to the new role, gelling with other colleagues and living in a whole new country!

While many have their jobs or schools secured before leaving for their new life, others are bold risk takers and just know they’ll be able to figure it out.

Unless there are extenuating circumstances, wannabe be movers should be actively looking for work. Most countries will have sites like US’s Monster job search or the UK’s Indeed, and Australia’s Seek.

Skyline Drive in Manchester Vermont

5. Friends and family

The main reason that few will ever leave the city that they are born in is friends and family. The extent that loving interaction is needed differs from person to person, but the average joe needs their support system.

In foreign territory, it’s likely that you’ll go months and sometimes years without seeing your nearest and dearest. While this may be standard procedure for the lone wolves in our world, it doesn’t fly with most. In this situation, the experience of living abroad and the experience of missing loved ones must be weighed up as every situation will have a different result.

Have you lived abroad before? Can you offer any tips about moving abroad?

7 thoughts on “5 Important things to plan when moving overseas”

  1. Love this article! I’m from Amsterdam, but moved to Oslo after a 1-year world trip and it’s been such an interesting adventure. Moving to a new country definitely comes with challenges, but it’s SO worth it:)

  2. This is a great post and one that I agree with on many levels. As a teacher who has been living abroad for 5 years (UK for 3 years, China for 2 plus 2 more coming up) I will likely spend the remainder of my career abroad, because I’ve been very successful at adapting. I’ve shown resilience, and not everyone has the same amount of it. I did a blog post myself about living abroad successfully and I pointed out that it really a isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay! What if everyone left their home nations?! The world would certainly be a very different place.
    These points are all great, but I do think that the 6th point would be to have a really honest conversation with yourself: are you resilient and adaptable enough to move to another country and be successful living there? If so, living abroad will be a good choice. But if you aren’t, and you try to fool yourself into thinking that you are, it might only end in heartache.

  3. Something that I had trouble with then I moved from New York to Singapore was the time difference. It meant that I only had a small window of time, usually restricted to the weekend, during which I could Skype or call home. But when I think about my parents, they left their homes in China and only returned twice in 30+ years. Thanks to WeChat, they can message with their siblings and family now, but most of the time I was growing up they would call China once or twice a year!

  4. I studied abroad in Ireland and found it to be an easy adjustment, but these suggestions seem like a good thing to keep in mind in case I teach abroad in Thailand.

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