Expats Share Their Top Tips for Moving Abroad
In an effort to help aspiring settlers, we chatted with a bunch of expats around the world to find out exactly what they wish they’d known before making the move.
Remember to Pack light
Shops exist outside of the UK, US or wherever you are coming from, and of course living in a different country might change your attachment about material goods, and completely change what you prioritize in your life. A different way to look at it is to view it as a ‘decluttering’ opportunity for your new life abroad! It's so nice to leave emotional as well as physical baggage in your old life.
Settling in takes time
Becoming accustomed to your new home not going to happen overnight. Take time to observe the culture around you and settle in. everyone's different so don't feel like you must dive head first into EVERYTHING which takes me to my next point, say yes to things you may not necessarily be inclined to, especially if you don’t have any friends in your new home. Be ready to experience new foods, people, and customs, heck it's the reason you’re moving abroad in the first place isn't it? Be patient. Also, maybe get a netflix account just in case it takes a while...
Still be you
As in, don’t feel obligated to jump into things that aren't for you simply because you're bored and people are not answering your skype. Day-in, day-out challenges of living in a different country, dealing with different cultural situations and behaviours and speaking a different language will take its toll on you. So, be easy on yourself in this regard (however still strive to get where you want to be). Since of course there’s a difference between willing to try a new experience and being the the stereotype of the country you're originally from. Don’t lose yourself in the name of integrating, but be open to different experiences, it's all about the balance.
Learning the language WILL be hard
Unless it's already a language you speak of course...But if not, make an effort to at least learn the basics as soon as possible; people respect people who at least try and it will help ease everyday interactions with locals. Just remember like settling in to take your time and not rush things, every country has its own sayings and slang so there’s bound to be some miscommunication even if you become relatively advanced and knowledgeable in the language.
Making local friends will be a BIG help for settling in
You’re not moving abroad to hang out with people from your own country (unless you are in which you are missing out!) You make local friends with local people in local shops for local people perhaps! (if you're local)
They will more than likely help you in your relocation with things such as finding a place to live, a job, a ride to said work etc. Not to mention, help you settle in with explanations for differences in language and culture and so on.
Prepare to laugh at yourself. Trust us it'll help
This is essential to keep your sanity whilst settling. Just think about this, you are restarting your life pretty much in its entirety, New language, job, friends, place to live. That is Insane! When mistakes are made (trust us they will happen) being able to laugh at them will help you greatly. Let it go and grow.
Find out what you need in your new home new country doesn’t have
Things such as medicine subscriptions and those sweets you simply can't live without. Think ahead about what you might miss and make sure, you have at least a substitute if they have it (Plug time! You could always get the things you need from our online shop here *wink wink*)
Where on earth are you going to live?!
This is depending on your employment situation, some companies have a system in place to hold you up till you find your own place and some you are left to your own devices! If you are in the latter, do some research on services which might be available to you. It will save you A LOT of stress when you get there.
If you only stick to the cities and built up areas of where you are going to live, you’re gonna miss outExample, Spain, Barcelona has a lot going for it. It's a great vibrant city with much to do and see. That’s obvious but if you travel up the coast and visit the smaller towns in between. You can experience so much more when you visit out of the way places and interact with people who don’t meet tourists very often, especially if you speak their language.