Moving abroad can be daunting, especially if it’s the first time you’ve done so. If you do your homework, however, and follow these tips, you should be well on your way to enjoying life as an expat.
Fully discuss moving with your family
Your partner, your children, and your elderly parents should all have the opportunity to discuss the idea. Moves like this almost always go better if everyone can buy into the idea.
Make it an adventure. And remember that you’ll be working while your partner and children are adjusting to a very different world, so you will benefit from their agreement and support.
Get to know where you are going … very well
If you are going to another country as an employee, you can ask your employer for a pre-visit. Relocation experts can help a lot with information about the cost of housing and, if necessary, schools.
Try to spend time in the destination country before your big move. Make the most of the internet, including Google’s Streetview and Rough Guides, to get accurate information about what will become your new home.
Learn the language
Learn as much of the language of the country as you can before leaving. You can make this a family project. When you arrive in your new home, you can demonstrate your respect for your new neighbors by being able to say common phrases such as “hello,” “please,” and “thank you.” Make sure to study phrases that will allow you to ask for directions or other assistance.
Do your research
Doing your research starts with looking at the embassy website of your new country and reading about the customs, cultures, and laws of the country. This will help you to avoid cultural blunders and can smooth the process of integrating into a new environment. You should also find out if any vaccinations are required.
Friendly locals can help you become more proficient in the language and help you with your questions. It’s fun to be with other expatriates, but making local friends will help you make this feel like your new home.
Finally … be realistic
Keep in mind that many things are likely to be different and that you will need to adapt. Try not to be frustrated.