Tips for moving to another country
BE SURE – Moving can be extremely stressful, make sure it’s the right move for you before you leave. If possible visit the country before deciding, do not trust other people’s impressions. Ask yourself if the new culture will really follow you (and your family).
BE PREPARED – … for anything and everything to go wrong. Don’t assume that you will be able to find the perfect job or home right away. If possible, make sure you have enough money to get you through the first few months (preferably more). And for this you will have to …
BUDGET – As unglamorous as it sounds, a good budget could be what makes the difference between a successful relocation and a disaster. Before you go, find out how much everything will cost during those crucial first months when you’re trying to find your place in a foreign land.
DON’T DELAY – Start preparing as soon as possible, just having all the necessary paperwork in order can be time consuming. Make a checklist of everything you need to do!
CHECK YOUR BENEFITS – If your business has started moving, you may be eligible for relocation benefits. Be sure to ask if they haven’t already told you!
HEALTH – Make sure the country you are moving to has adequate healthcare facilities and infrastructure for you (and your family), especially if you have a medical condition that requires treatment or medication.
YOUR HOME – Think about what you want to do with your current home (for example, sell it, rent it, vacate it) and what type of accommodation will be most suitable in your new country. If you don’t know anyone in the new country who can help you find accommodation, consider the services of a relocation agent.
EMPLOYMENT – Will you be looking for work in your new country? If so, consider starting your job search before you go (use the internet!) Will you be able to use your existing qualifications or will a training period be necessary? If you move to a place where they don’t speak the same language as you, then you should …
LEARN THE LANGUAGE – Few skills will have as positive an impact on your relocation experience as being able to speak, or at least understand, the local language. Getting familiar with the local lingo before you go is a great idea.
PAPER – No matter how insignificant that old document in the back of the bottom drawer may seem now, take it with you, most likely at some point you will have to show it to someone. Moving countries can be a bureaucratic nightmare at best, but if you come prepared with the necessary documentation, you have the best chance of a stress-free relocation. Things to think about include birth certificates, wedding certificates, educational certificates, medical certificates (including those for your pets!), Etc.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY – Do not forget to inform everyone of your new address and when you are leaving (unless you do not want to be found, of course 😉 Seriously, saying goodbye to friends and family can be the most difficult part of leaving, get ready for an emotional rollercoaster as departure day approaches.
YOUR BELONGINGS: Will you take everything with you, or will you leave some items in storage (or even dispose of them entirely)? How will you move your belongings? Can you transport them yourself or do you need the services of a moving company? Reserve those things that you need to take with you personally so that they are not accidentally packed (passports, tickets, etc.)
INSURANCE – Once you’ve decided what to take with you, insure it. If you have not yet purchased appropriate insurance (health / life / travel, etc.) for you and your family too … DO IT!
BANKING – You may need to open a new bank account in your new country; look for information on the one that suits you best. Do you need to close your current bank account? At a minimum, you will need to inform your current bank that you are moving.
CREDIT CARDS: Credit card companies should be aware of your move. Also, will the credit cards you carry with you be widely accepted?
DRIVING – Depending on where you are going and how long you are going to be there, you may need to apply for a new driver’s license or even take a driving test. Will you take your car with you or will you buy / rent / lease one when you arrive in your destination country?
PUBLIC SERVICES, etc. – Gas, electricity, cable companies, etc. They must be informed of their departure and the contracts terminated when appropriate. Arrange for final meter readings and bill payments.
POST REDIRECTION: Having your mail redirected after you leave can prevent you from missing something important.
ELECTRICAL DEVICES AND MOBILE PHONES – Check if your TV, VCR, hair dryer, alarm clock, etc. they will work or not in the new country. You may need to subscribe to a new network for a mobile phone (or buy a new one with a subscription); Be careful of roaming charges with your current phone if you use it.
EMAIL – If moving means you can’t keep your current email address, consider a free web-based email account that you can access from anywhere.
And finally, a couple of important tips for when you arrive in your new country …
MAKE FRIENDS – Whether locals or expats, nothing will help you more than being able to rely on your friends for help when you need it. Don’t think that socializing is a waste of time, it’s what makes a new country feel like home.
DON’T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF – Moving to a new country is difficult. Even when everything goes according to plan, it is still difficult. There will be times when you are physically and emotionally exhausted, but try not to let things take over. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help or support, there are many people who have been there before.