10 Helpful Tips For First-Time Expats
If you are moving abroad for the first time you will undoubtedly be at a stage in your life that is exciting yet nerve-wracking at the same time. This is a new chapter and the best way to ensure it goes smoothly is to plan ahead as much as possible. There is no such thing as being too prepared. Keeping that in mind, read on to discover an abundance of tips for first-time expats.
1) Embrace the difference – The whole point of moving abroad is to try something new. Expecting your new destination to be like your home country is a big mistake. Embrace the new – the culture, the way of life, the people.
2) Avoid visiting your home country within the first six months – If you have a holiday back to your home country soon after you have moved you may unsettle yourself. Try to avoid doing so for the first six months. If you can hold out for a year or more, even better.
3) Visit first – A lot of people move abroad without actually experiencing their new location first. This is often the case when a new job opportunity arises. However, you really should try and experience as much of the area as possible before you make the plunge. A two-week holiday is completely different to a new life.
4) Learn the language – It is always a good idea to learn the language of your new location. Take some lessons. Not only will it help you to integrate better, but it will stand you in good stead with the locals who will appreciate your efforts.
5) Make an effort to meet new people – Whether you simply knock on your neighbour’s door and introduce yourself or you join a local sports club, you should make an effort to get to know new people as soon as possible. Loneliness can be one of the main reasons for giving up on the expat dream.
6) Budget effectively before your move – You need to sit down and calculate potential costs for everything. It is always better to overestimate as opposed to underestimating.
7) Take out an international health insurance policy – Travel policies and local health plans are inadequate for expat use. Instead, you need a global medical insurance plan. This will cover you all over the world, whilst ensuring you gain access to the greatest hospitals, physicians, and facilities in your new place, as well as online GP services. After all, there is no guarantee that you will have access to free health care in your country, and there is no guarantee that the public medical system will be of a standard you are used to.
8) Don’t let one bad day put you off – We all have bad days, no matter where we live. When you are feeling down it is easy to think ‘I wish I never moved here’. Stay positive.
9) Rent before you buy – Renting a property first comes highly advised. You will be able to get a feel for the area you have moved to and whether it’s right for you. By trialling first you can then make an educated decision when the time comes to buy outright.
10) Download Skype – It is the easiest way to keep in touch with people from home.