6 Tips To Ensure a Smooth Move into Expatriation
Jun 26, 2013
Making the choice to move abroad is a pretty big decision on it’s own, acting on that decision and going through the motions of making it a reality is downright monumental!
Monumental or not, more and more people are ‘making the move’ to leave their native country for greener, sandier, warmer and cheaper pastures. In fact, if you ask, chances are your neighbor, co-worker or coffee shop barista know someone that is currently living abroad.
And the reasons for moving abroad run the gamut… work (either temporarily or forever), retirement, escape or simply to improve your lifestyle.
Regardless of your reason for wanting to move, today’s ever-changing technology allows for businesses and families to keep in touch as easily as if they were in the room next to you. Combine this with an increased global awareness of the importance of personal well-being and ‘stress-free’ living, parts of the world, such as Latin America, are seeing steady increases of expats moving in.
No matter what you’re reasons for moving abroad are, there are several steps involved with making it a reality…
Don’t be Afraid to Make Lists!
Not everyone is a list person… but, in the case of a move abroad, it’s a very good idea to keep a running tab (or several) on what needs to be done, and by when. For example, do you require a Visa in your new country? Does your pet need updated shots to make the trip? Do you need to cancel or re-address your mail to your new address or to a friend/family member? What about insurance policies on your house and car(s)?
This may seem like a mundane task, but once you get started, you’ll realize that there is much to be considered. And by spending a bit of time putting it all down on paper, you’ll be less likely to forget things, therefore avoiding possible wasted time and money in the long term, or even after you’ve moved.
Research, Visit, Stay, Live… in That Order!
It seems like common sense, but when you visit a country on vacation, in most cases you are not ‘experiencing’ what it truly would be like to live there. Even if you didn’t go the all-inclusive route, everyday experiences such as taking out the trash or getting a haircut, for example, are not typically experienced.
A country that is going to become your new home needs to tick all (or most) of your boxes… is it safe? Is it affordable? Can you legally live and work there? Once you’ve done some research from home, visit (even better if you can stay for a month or two!). By the time you’ve spent some quality time in your country of choice, you’ll know the ups and downs and if it’s really for you.
You’ve saved up and you’ve got your pension or a steady income, you’re good to go, right? Well, yes and no. It’s definitely a good idea to budget what your costs will be to live in your new country (most people can live in Latin America for a quarter of what they live on in North America!), but there’s so much more then just the cost of your home and your daily overhead. Consider lawyer fees, shipping fees (even just the cost of extra luggage, if you’re not shipping your household goods), start-up fees for utilities, flights home, etc. Relocating can come with unexpected financial requirements… not allowing a ‘buffer’ can easily start you off on the wrong foot.
Don’t Burn Your Bridges!
Some people will fantasize about the day they can strut into their boss’s office and quit their job in some extravagant way; others feel the same about their neighbor or an ex-spouse. No matter how you feel, when you leave your job, neighborhood or a bitter relationship behind to move abroad, it’s paramount to remain professional and amicable. Not only is it possible that you’ll end up moving back to your old area, but it’s impossible to predict that you will never need to call upon those same people one day…
The most successful expats are those that can roll with the punches. Regardless of how many lists you make or how organized you believe to be, there will be challenges during your move and your integration. Embracing those challenges and learning from them will keep frustrations at a minimum and your sanity in check.
Make a Plan and Stick to it!
It’s so easy to talk about future plans and ideas, and then put them on the back burner. If moving abroad is truly a lifelong goal, you need to set it as one. It’s a proven fact that those who set goals in life are much more likely to achieve their ambitions.
So, set your goal of moving abroad… give yourself a deadline, and get cracking! Starting the wheels in motion will help motivate you, and seeing everything fall into place will keep you going. In no time at all you’ll be living your dream and enjoying the lifestyle you put in place for yourself.
Where International wants to help you discover your future home! Go HERE to learn about our Discovery Weekends.
You’ll have an opportunity to check out a new country, meet with developers and get a feel of whether you see yourself living there full-time. Discovery Weekends are nothing like visiting a resort… you will be with folks who already live there and have made this new locale their home. It’s a great time to ask questions about everyday life to help you decide if you can see yourself making it your home as well!