So you’re thinking about moving abroad? Great! I have done it and it’s one of the biggest and best journeys that I’ve undertaken. As you may expect, there are so many things to consider before making that life changing move, but don’t worry that is why I wrote this post. Here are 8 things to consider before moving abroad.
1. the right visa
Getting the right visa is the most essential consideration you need to make and the truth is, it’s not always an easy task. Every country and visa varies in requirements, working rights, prerequisites, cost, duration and conditions.
Before applying for a visa, make sure that you do your research on the visa options and requirements that your selected country has so that your conditions fit the purpose of your stay. I have always completed a visa application with my husband and relied upon my own research and is very doable. If your case is complex or you’re not confident, there is always the option to consult an immigration lawyer for advice and to help you through the process, however, this can often be expensive.
2. a budget
Having savings before even going to another country is a non negotiable must. Some countries even require evidence that you have a set amount of money in your bank account upon entry.
Before setting off for your new endeavour, make sure to know exactly how much money you will require for set up costs. Some commonly forgotten big expenses are rental bonds, student loans and car insurance. In addition to this, make sure you understand every day living prices such as rent, groceries and healthcare. In my personal experience it is vital to save a lot more than you think you’ll need – up to 50% more. It doesn’t matter how much you have researched or how detailed your plan is, there’s always unexpected costs that pop up at inconvenient times.
3. The culture and customs
Integrating into a different culture may seem like an obvious hurdle as it’s ultimately inevitable when moving to another country away from every familiarity and cultural norm you know. It’s always a good idea to make sure you go as prepared as possible to fully immerse yourself into that new culture. I would recommend learning some local stores, cultural nuances and dialect.
When I volunteered in Thailand, I was almost arrested for asking about who the “man on the banner” was. That man turned out to be the recently deceased Thai king and saying the “wrong” thing about him was an offence. I also learnt that touching a mans head or even accidentally stepping on a coin could earn me a stay in jail. Some cultures aren’t as forgiving to immigrants as others.
Thankfully, there are culture classes that you can take when arriving or even prior to your arrival which I highly recommend.
Regardless of where you travel in the world, as a woman, I always assess potential danger or cultural shifts of new countries that may compromise my safety, especially when traveling solo.
The truth is, it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, there are always dangerous areas in all countries regardless how safe you thing they are. Should you live your days out in a new place worrying about what danger lies around each corner? Definitely not! Being equipped with the right knowledge and keeping your wits about you is essential for not compromising your safety.
As previously mentioned, abiding by cultural norms to maintain respect is always advisable. In addition to this, scoping out safe countries, cities and even down to neighbourhoods is a great way to minimise the risk of unwanted trouble and allows you to be the excited, energised and empowered expat you plan to be.
5. Healthcare or insurance
Health insurance coverage varies with each country and visa. Some countries have their own publicly funded healthcare, such as Australia’s medicare and United Kingdom’s NHS healthcare, which covers the cost of public health depending on your visa, however ambulance services are separate and require insurance. Other countries require expats to source their own insurance such as the USA.
Having health insurance when living abroad is an absolute must, you never know when you’re going to need it and the last thing you want is to be trapped in a country with an injury that you’re with enormous health care bills because you didn’t invest in health insurance.
6. Find work early
Looking for a new job can be challenging enough in your own home country let alone when in another country. A massive factor brings me back to point number one, your visa. While some visas allow you to work in your normal profession, some allow restricted work and others don’t permit work at all. Another important thing to consider is making sure you have skillsets, qualifications or experiences that are easily transferable into a variety of professions. It isn’t always plain sailing transferring qualifications to use in another country, so being prepared to work in another role for a period is imperative.
For example, I had to go through a two and a half year process to transfer my nursing registration from Australia to the UK. This consisted of paying thousands of pounds in fees, going through a number of processes and even sitting three exams before I was eligible to practice in the UK. I also had to have a sponsorship or partner visa to be legally allowed to work as a Registered Nurse. In addition to this, my husband also had to have a job offer signed to start within a particular time frame for me to be eligible for a UK partner visa.
It’s always great to search for opportunities regardless or having a back up plan just in case a job offer/ requirement goes wrong.
Finding a new place to live in a new country can be fun and exciting. I’m not going to lie, It’s a guilty pleasure of mine to flick through pages of real estate every time I visit a new destination.
Before confirming any accomodation that you may find on a whim, make sure to check out it’s location, accessibility, restaurants, cafes and most importantly, the safety of the neighbourhood that the residence resides in.
If your new work place or institution that you’re studying at is unable to provide you with any options or recommendations, or you simply haven’t gotten that far yet, check out local real estates for homes to let, websites such as homestay or even join Facebook groups, where people advertise rentals or share homes.
Some countries also have differing rules when it comes to allowing pets or supplying furniture or a kitchen in the case of the UK and Germany respectively.
8. Transportation options
Whether it before or after finding accomodation and/or a workplace, finding means of transport is vital in knowing how you will go about your daily commutes and get around whether it be near or far.
Whether you plan on walking, purchasing a bike to cycle, catching public transport or driving your own vehicle, researching routes, finding apps and finding out information about you will help get you on your feet.
I also recommend checking what licences are accepted within the country. Some countries will accept international driving license or other compatible country driving licences, where as others will require you to update your driving license with your new country after a certain period after arriving in the country.
I’m an Australian blogger based in Central West NSW who has spent the last few years exploring the four corners of the globe, living as an expat and falling in love with the world just a little bit more everyday. Here you can find my tips, guides and experiences to help inspire you for your next trip!
Looking for destination guides and inspiration for
Moving back to the Australian bush
I sat on my verandah this afternoon taking refuge from the summer heat, I was captivated by the view of golden light and refreshed by the cooling breeze scented of bush blossom. I only now…
8 Incredible benefits of having chickens in your backyard
1. Endless supply of fresh eggs Although this may sound like the most obvious point of owning your very own chickens, there are so many benefits of having access to your own home laid organic…
The ultimate guide to visiting London
London is unmistakably the capital city of England and one of the most visited cities in the entire world. This buzzing metropolis is beyond exhilarating to explore; thoughts immediately stray to visions of Big Ben, the…
The ultimate guide to visiting New York City
New York is one of the iconic cities to explore, it is a buzzing metropolis scenic avenues, iconic skyscrapers and boasts an unrivalled food scene. Really, what’s not to love? With that being said, the…
My best travel experiences of 2022
2022 was a whirlwind of a year. After settling as an expat on the other side of the world, my goal was to escape the cold winters and explore more of Europe, specifically Southern Europe.…
How to spend 24 hours in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Known for being the birth place of the HMS Titanic, Irish bars and history, Belfast is a fabulous yet understated city to visit when visiting the United Kingdom or Ireland. Often overlooked by other nearby…
Subscribe for the latest posts, travel updates and newsletters.
Leave a Reply