Since you are reading this blog, it means that you are an individual that is highly interested in other languages, cultures, and experiences beyond the borders of your home country. If you have never lived abroad and are considering trying it out, here are some things you need to consider:
So you picked your destination, started daydreaming about your new experience and imagining your mornings walking down an exciting street with a big smile on your face. That moment should be a realistic aspiration; before you decide to leave, be completely confident that you can live safely and comfortably as a stranger in the new environment. Can you accept the climate, political stability, cultural differences, crime rate and other characteristics of the new home? How about distance from your home country? Are you willing to get used to talking to your family and friends over Skype (on rare occasions when all of you manage to coordinate your free time and possible time zone difference)? If these factors don’t cause any hesitations, you’re ready to move on.
2.) Purpose of your tripLiving abroad is not a vacation trip. Whether you are moving for work or studies, you need to be aware of your possibilities, duties and responsibilities as a foreign citizen working or studying in a specific country. Of course it will be exciting and you’ll have “the time of your life”, but you need to keep in mind that your life will revolve around your daily formalities. If you plan to work, you will spend more time with your work colleagues than you will with your friends. Therefore, make sure you find a suitable job, study program or activity that will keep you amused and fulfilled for a longer period of time. And do it before you move – make sure you land in a new place with a safe ground to build on.
You need to take care of paperwork before you leave your hometown. Do a proper research and make sure you are traveling under a proper visa. Check which documents might be required for different purposes (residence registration, health insurance, taxation documents, rental agreement, banks, employer, school, driving license etc.). Always have a few profile pictures (document photos) with you, they can save you a lot of time and trouble. Also keep a scan of your passport (and other important documents) backed up in your email or phone (so you don’t have to carry it around all the time).
If you don’t speak the language of the locals already, start learning. It doesn’t take too long to master the basic expressions in any language, and there’s nothing better than first conversation (even a 2-sentence dialog) in a local language after you arrive to your wonderland.
5.) Let go
Start packing as soon as possible. Most importantly, get rid of useless stuff you accumulated throughout years. Get rid of everything that you won’t use and can live without at your next location. As a motivation, watch George Carlin’s video. Trust him, you need to get rid of old stuff to make space for new stuff! Donating your things to charity is the best option for this step; knowing that someone else will enjoy and value your things probably even more than you prevents any possible regrets of letting material things go.
Bring cash! Don’t rely solely on promises of future salary, but always have a buffer that will assure a roof above your head and food on your plate. Rental agreements tend to drain wallets really fast, as in some countries you are expected to pay 3-month rent upfront along with deposit and key money.
Do you know some people (or people who know those) who already live in the place where you are going? Get in touch with them! Even though it's not crucial, it’s always nice having an emergency contact, as well as a buddy that can give you good advice about exploring your new area.
Grasp opportunities > and enjoy!