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Moving abroad is a huge decision. Whether you’re looking to spend a few months working abroad or hoping to make a permanent move, you’ll need to do a lot of planning first. Here are a few of the big questions you should ask yourself before becoming an expat.
How will you fund your move abroad?
Before anything else, you need to work out how you will financially support your new life abroad. If you’re planning on working abroad, it could be worth getting a job lined up before you make your move. Most employers will be willing to interview you via Skype or over the phone. If you’re going away to study, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got savings behind you or have applied to a student loan. If you’re planning on retiring abroad on a pension, check that you will still receive this pension in the country you’re moving to. Moving to some countries may cause you to lose various benefits. Read sites such as https://travel.state.gov before moving abroad if your currently receive any kind of government support that you want to continue receiving.
Which visa do you need?
Every country has its own visa system. The longer you plan to stay, the more you will have to pay. Special working visas are usually required if you plan to work in your new country. Those planning a permanent move may want to look into claiming citizenship – this is a much more complex route and you should do your reading up first.
Where will you stay?
You’ll need to find accommodation before you move. Sites such as https://www.homestay.com/ could be a good solution for a short-term move allowing you to stay with a local family for cheap (you may even get free meals). Alternatively, you may be able to find a job that also provides accommodation as is the case with many travel rep jobs and hotel work.
For a more permanent solution, you may want to rent or buy a property. There are many sites such as https://rumahdijual.com/apartemen-dijual that offer apartments for sale. It could be worth visiting the country and seeing the property in person before committing to a sale. That said, some realtors are now able to give virtual tours on their smartphones using Skype.
Will you need to move over your possessions?
If you’re planning to live abroad for a short period, you may not want to worry about shipping over possessions. However, for a permanent move you will need to consider this. Jetting over your possessions is quicker but more expensive. It could be worth investing in a special removals company such as http://www.sevenseasworldwide.com/moving/international-relocation that can handle the whole move for you. Bear in mind that it may cost less to buy some items such as chairs and tables in your new country.
Will you need to learn a new language?
If English isn’t the official language of the country you’re moving to, it could be worthwhile learning some of the lingo. You might be able to get away with not speaking the language in an English tourist area if you’re only living there for a few months. Hiring a translator could be an option for guiding you through processes such as setting up accounts or buying a property and there are apps such as Google translate that you can use for everyday communication. However, if you’re planning a permanent trip away, a few foreign language lessons could be worthwhile. There are lots of free programmes and sources online that can help you to learn any language. Getting a pen pal and communicating with them could also be useful.
Will you need to set up a foreign bank account?
To avoid currency transfer charges, you’ll want to set up an account in that country, especially if you’re staying for a long period or moving there permanently. If you need to send money back home there are plenty of forex companies out there that can do this for you. Shop around to get the best rate. Be careful of double-taxation – you’ll need to let the taxman in your home country know that you’re paying tax in your new country by filing a tax report with evidence of your taxed earnings.
Do you know the local laws?
It’s worth brushing up on local laws before making your move as you don’t want to accidentally break any. Some countries are strict when it comes to drinking and smoking laws, whilst others may even fine you heavily for littering. If you’re planning on driving, you may also have to do some research into the laws of the road. You may need a vignette to drive in some countries whilst others may even require you to take a whole new test. On top of local laws, it’s worth simply researching into local customs such as when to give people gifts and certain daily etiquette.
Are you prepared to make sacrifices?
Moving abroad may require you to give up certain home luxuries. Saying goodbye to friends and family is often the biggest sacrifice – whilst you can still Skype them regularly, it’s not the same as being able to catch up in person. You need to be prepared to say goodbye to certain foods and TV shows and shops. In some cases, you may lose certain rights, which could make life a little harder.
That said, for all the sacrifices, you’ll also make some new gains. This could include better weather, greater natural beauty, new friends or simply new experiences. Moving abroad is a complete change of lifestyle and it’s always worth making a few friends who are also expats so that you can share your feelings with someone and get advice on adjusting. After time you may find some of the sacrifices aren’t so big after all.