More and more millennials are embracing the idea of moving abroad. Around 70% are usually motivated by better job prospects, schooling, lower costs of living, marriage, and a high expatriate paycheck. Imagine receiving an offer to work or go to school in a new country. But, when the excitement dies, and you have shared the news with just about everybody you know, you might start to feel those nerves creeping in. That is normal, as you are anxious about your new life.
Traveling to a new country can be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure! At the same time, it's a big commitment and an even bigger life change. However, with much planning, you can ease off most of your anxiety, making that transition better. Planning can get overwhelming, but it will get much better if you get a head start. That being said, here are a few steps to help you manage moving abroad.
**DISCLAIMER: At the time of publication for this post, we are amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic. Please consult with the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control before traveling.**
Renew or apply for a passport
This tiny booklet is perhaps the most important document you will need when moving abroad because you literally cannot leave your home country or apply for a visa without it. That is how vital it is to you.
Typically, most embassies require that your passport be valid for the next six months before issuing a visa to you, no matter what kind you are getting. If you do not have a return date and your passport expires while abroad, you should be able to renew it at your home country’s embassy in your new destination.
Depending on where you live, applying for or renewing your new passport should not take long. Still, it is better to do it as early as possible, even before finalizing your relocation plans. That way, you are ready when you get the good news.
Apply for the right visa
All embassies have a list of visas to offer based on what you will do in the new country. If you are relocating to the United States for marriage to a citizen for example, you will be required to apply for a K1 visa, which is different from a business or tourist visa.
Each visa type also stipulates clearly what things you can engage in when you travel to that country. Therefore, you will need to have a clear understanding of what you are going to do and the type of visa you need.
Additionally, you must ensure that you have the correct supporting documents before going into your interview. If you are going to school or work, you will need to provide copies of your acceptance or offer letters. You will also need to provide biometric information such as your fingerprints and photographs, but that can be done at the embassy.
Save your money
It costs a lot of money to move to a new country. On average, international costs can even exceed $10,000! This cost includes getting your visa, airplane tickets, renting a place to stay, shipping your belongings overseas, and emergencies. That is a lot of money!
Most experts recommend that you have at least six months’ worth of savings before relocating to a new country. There are other factors to consider when saving, such as the exchange rates, standard of living in your new location, and what your monthly budget will be.
Your savings should be able to cover these, as well as those unexpected expenses you will incur once you are settled in. You can also earn some money before you go by selling some of your belongings either online or at a garage sale.
Do exhaustive research
We wish moving abroad was as simple as picking your luggage and hopping on a plane, but it is not. You will need to conduct a lot of research and weigh every option before you even think of going to the airport.
Have you taken the time to study your new home’s culture and way of life? Research into that country’s history to understand how they think and behave. Check out what they regard as acceptable and offensive. You might be surprised to find out that what may be acceptable in your home country is, in fact, offensive there.
If that country’s official language is different from yours, try to learn a few essential words and phrases to help you get by. You could even take a class or two if there is time. Practicing these steps might help reduce the culture shock you will experience. You can always use a program like Rosetta Stone to help you out with this!
Additionally, research into other factors like how to update your residential and immigration status, as many countries require that you update those permits after a given period. Failing to do so might make your stay illegal. Fortunately, many companies provide immigration bonds services nationwide should you find yourself in a tricky situation.
Tell your bank and service providers
Many travel blogs recommend that you keep your home bank account for several reasons. First, it helps you maintain your credit score, and secondly, it allows you to pay off any outstanding loans while you are away. Let your creditors and bankers know of your travel plans and, if possible, get an international credit card so that you do not rack up those high foreign bank charges.
Ensure that you also research banks in your new home to help you find the one that best suits you. Depending on where you are relocating to, it might take a while, so it is one of the first essential things to do. Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork to speed up the process.
It would be best to let your phone service providers know that you will be out of the country. Your network carrier can help you unlock your phone to make it work outside your home country. Once you reach your destination, you can purchase a sim card and replace it.
Seek Out Healthcare services
Your health is vital, so when you are moving to a new country, one of your first concerns is to look into that country’s healthcare service. Before you leave, consult with your current medical provider. They will cover you and help you get all the crucial immunizations you would need.
If you are on any prescribed medications, find out if they are permitted in your new location and available there. If not, you might want to stock up and have at least six months to a year’s worth.
Next, check out how your new country’s healthcare system operates. You need to find out if you have to pay or join any health insurance scheme. If you are relocating for school or work, your institution or organization might fund your hospital fees.
Make new friends
Meeting people and making new friends can take time, especially when you move to a new place. However, having a social life is vital because it helps you feel at home and settle better in your new country of residence.
Before you leave, you can join expat groups or groups of international students. You can also join groups that share similar interests and hobbies with you. That way, you can start to build your network and at least have a friend or two before entirely relocating. They might be able to give you the right advice and help you settle in. They are also useful in emergencies and can help you resolve any challenging issues efficiently.
Keep an open mind
Every country has unique practices that might be completely different from what you know. Therefore, you must have a positive outlook for when you make that move. Your way of living will change, for better or worse. That is the risk of moving abroad, but it would be best if you remembered to accept these new changes in your new life.
You do not have to be overly critical and always compare how things are done there to your home country. Fortunately, there are many benefits to keeping a positive outlook. Keeping an open mind helps you gain more insight into the things around you. It also opens you up to trying new experiences and builds your skills.
Have a goodbye party
Spend some time with your family and friends before you set off (safely, of course). You can throw a goodbye party. They might even surprise you with one! Make sure you have all your comfort foods and party games to help you get excited ahead of your new adventures. Prepare for some tears, as it might get very emotional.
Moving abroad can be just as scary as it is exciting. We hope this post helps you feel more confident about moving to a new country. And with these tips, you should soon become or at least feel like one of the locals.