Visiting another country on holiday is completely different to actually upping sticks and moving there. Living abroad is the only way to get a true insight into the culture and quirks of other nations, and it can be an enriching and inspiring experience. However, there’s a knack to enjoying expat life, and if you don’t plan your move carefully, you could run into a range of potential problems. To help ensure your transition to life overseas is a smooth one, take a look at these handy hints.
Learn the language
Particularly if you come from an English speaking country, it can be tempting to try to get by using your mother tongue. After all, so many people across the planet are able to communicate in English. However, failing to get to grips with the native language can be a big mistake. A lack of language skills can serve as a major barrier in your new home. You’ll miss out on a whole range of cultural references and you might find it harder to make friends. Depending on where you are, you may even find day to day tasks tricky, and your job prospects could be limited. If possible, arrange some lessons in the relevant language before you jet off to start your new life. If you’re currently living in the UK, it’s easy to find a French, German, Mandarin or Spanish tutor in London and other major cities. Wherever you’re planning to move to, you should find it easy to book suitable tuition, and it really is worth making the effort.
Bear in mind that you’ll be able to hone your skills once you’ve moved, but knowing at least the basics before you touch down will help to boost your confidence and make your first few months much easier.
Do your homework
Wherever you’re planning to go on your travels, you’ll need to do plenty of research first. As well as the obvious things, such as visas and job opportunities, it’s important to look into issues like accommodation, living costs, healthcare provisions and local facilities and amenities. Having an accurate idea of what awaits you when you arrive in your chosen destination should ease any nerves and help ensure you can hit the ground running.
Expect to feel homesick
Even the most adventurous globetrotters get homesick occasionally, so don’t be surprised if you feel sad over your first few weeks and months. Longing for home from time to time doesn’t make you a failure, it just means you’re human. Bear in mind that you can always call or video chat your friends and family to catch up on news from home.
Also, try to make an effort to be sociable in your new hometown. Your job might offer you the chance to meet people, and language classes, online groups and local tours can also come in handy for this purpose.
Relocating to a new country is always a challenge, but as long as you bear simple tips like these in mind, you stand every chance of making a success of your move.