Moving abroad is a big decision. For some, it will be the best thing they ever do. For others, it will be something they try before heading back home after a little while. If it’s something you’ve been pondering over for a while, or if the opportunity has recently come up- here are a few things to consider before taking the plunge.
Where Will You Live
The first decision you need to make when you’re thinking about moving abroad is where you want to live. In some cases this will already be obvious- if you’re moving to be closer to family or to relocate for work then you’ll already know where you’re going. Otherwise you need to decide on first a country and then a location within it. Will you live in a city or does the countryside appeal more? Will you live somewhere warm or cooler? How far across the globe are you prepared to live from the place you’re in now? These are all things to sit and think about when you’re making your decision.
One of the biggest and arguably most stressful parts of moving your life to another country, is both leaving the house you’re in now and finding somewhere else to live. If you own your home, you need to decide if you want to want to sell it and use the money to fund your move, or if you want to hire an estate agent to manage it for you and rent it out. That way you get money in the bank each month which can give you financial security, and you can always move back in later down the line if you decide to move back home. The next big step is to find a place in the new country you’re going to be living in. Since you’re not easily able to go and view places this can be tricky, but there are ways around it. If you’re planning on buying, you could book a trip before you move and have lots of property viewings lined up. Otherwise you could rent a cheap apartment and stay there temporarily while you look for somewhere to rent or buy. You need to make sure your new house is suitable and somewhere you’re going to be happy, when you’ve moved to a new country your home is your little safe haven. As long as you’re content and satisfied in these four walls, everything else will fall into place much more easily. If you use the garden a lot now for example, don’t settle for a home that doesn’t have one as you might find yourself disappointed. If you need your own office as you work from home, or want a spare bedroom for guests that come to stay- make sure your new home can accommodate this. In many places in the world, you might find that you get a lot more for your money which can really make the move abroad feel especially worth it.
In many cases, it’s easier to sell your vehicle and then buy again in the country you’re moving to. However there are a few reasons why you might not want to do this. Perhaps you’re very attached to your car and would prefer to bring it with you. Maybe it’s on finance and you’re not able to pay off the rest of the balance before you move- check with your finance company but in this case it can be easier to transport your car and keep making the payments to them as usual. You could use a car warehousing service to do this which makes it relatively straightforward, however there are costs involved so make sure it’s worth it for you. If your car is a banger or just nothing special and you have no real attachment to it, you could always just sell it before you go and buy another once you arrive.
Yours and Your Partners Jobs
Finding work in the country where you will be living will of course provide you with the income you need to support yourself, but will also to help you to settle and integrate. Find out if there’s much demand for the skills you and your partner have, and how similar jobs compare price wise (factoring in the different costs of living). If both you and your partner will be seeking employment, you need to research how easy this is likely to be. For example, if there’s a language barrier it can mean less demand for even the most skilled of workers. If either of you already work from home then this can make things easier, since you essentially take your job with you wherever you go. At least you’re able to survive on the single wages until the other partner has secured a position. Work is often a reason that people relocate and move abroad in the first place, so chances are this was the driving force behind your move. If you’re relocating with your current company, accept any help they offer you regarding getting set up. Make sure the company is stable (for example, it has just started out) that way you reduce your risk of things going wrong if they crash. If you’re moving for better opportunities for work, have a look at countries that currently have skills gaps. If you have something to offer which they need it can be a great chance for you to boost your career.
Your Children’s Education
Some places in the world have a better education system than others. As parents, we of course want to give our children the very best, and so education is something of great importance. It could be worth checking the kinds of schools and also the things that schools focus on teaching if you’re moving to a place in the world that’s very different to where you are now. For example, in very religious countries the focus of teaching may be on religion. If you don’t follow this religion or want a more academic style of teaching then it might not fit with what you’re after. These days, online learning makes homeschooling better than ever. So is always an option if you’re not sure if the local schools will teach your children up to the standard that you want. It could be worth checking out the schools nearby yourself in person at the same time you go to view houses.
The Culture and Lifestyle
One of the most exciting things about moving abroad, is that you get to immerse yourself in a new culture and live a completely different lifestyle. For example, if you move to a sunny American state or Australia for example from a cold place in the world- you might love the luxury of year-round warm weather and the kind of outdoors, active culture that this creates. If you’ve always lived somewhere more tropical, you might enjoy the changing seasons and the fact that you will see snow in winter! Meeting new people, exploring places with different scenery and terrain, understanding different cultures and everything else can really help to expand your mind. However in some cases, a big change like this can lead to a bit of a culture shock. You need to learn different manners and mannerisms, perhaps even a new language. You have to be careful not to inadvertently offend someone, and reading sign posts, hearing people speak in a language you’re not familiar with and lots of different customs and practices could be a little overwhelming for some people. It’s well worth doing plenty of research before you leave, even if the country isn’t especially different to where you are now. There will be lots of subtle differences and so you could be prepared and arm yourself with knowledge.
Being Away From Family
If you’re moving to be closer to family then this won’t be an issue. However if you’re moving away then it’s definitely something to bear in mind. Even if you don’t see family that often, just knowing they’re a short distance away can be really reassuring. Having that taken away from you can be daunting. If you’re very close to your family then this is even more of a problem. While things like Skype, Whatsapp and social media make connecting with people across the globe easier than ever (and it’s free!) it’s not quite the same as being there in person. If you think you will miss your family a lot, it might spoil your new lifestyle and have you feeling like you want to move back. Be prepared for this, know how much things will change. In some cases, you might even see each other more as you can visit each other for holidays and spend quality time together. It’s up to you if you see this as a positive or negative, but when you’re moving away from the ones you love it makes sense to be prepared.
To maximise your chance of success, do plenty of research and planning and know what you’re going to be up against in a new place.