A Year Living Abroad
Do you wish to move abroad and live in another country for a year? Globalization has removed many barriers, and now moving abroad is an exciting and easily achievable idea. Besides being a great idea, it is also a big decision that will significantly impact your life.
It is important to note that the life of an expat is not always as glamorous and exciting as it may seem. It is usually over-romanticized, making it appear like a dream life; however, in reality, it is full of ups and downs. Living abroad requires a lot of planning beforehand.
Leaving your home country and moving to a foreign country requires you to give proper thought to it before you execute your plan. Moving abroad is not as easy as it might sound as you will need to research and analyze all your options. If you have been considering living abroad lately, this article is for you. It answers everything you might need to know before moving abroad.
Factors To Consider Before Moving Abroad
To begin with the planning, there are some critical questions you need to answer. It will help make things clear for you and give you a direction to invest your energy. The following are the most critical questions you need to answer.
Why are you moving abroad?
You must first identify your reasons for moving overseas. The reasons for living abroad vary among people. Some look for a higher quality of living, while others want to explore the world. This is the foremost question you must ask yourself to narrow your options.
Some popular reasons people leave their home countries include higher education, a better job, working on a project, or looking for an adventure. Whatever your reason might be, you must be clear on it right from the beginning.
Are you moving alone?
Another critical decision you need to make in advance is whether you are moving alone, with family, or with a friend. Usually, people move abroad alone even if they plan to take their family with them. The idea is to know about the country and make arrangements for the family.
Your planning, arrangements, requirements, and risks vary according to this decision. A country might be suitable for finding a better job and accommodation but may not have a high-quality education. If you have a family and kids, you must consider all factors.
Where do you choose to live?
Once you decide to move abroad, the most important decision is regarding the choice of the country. Where do you want to move to? You may have to decide on your own or have it pre-decided for you. For instance, if an international firm hires you, you must move to the country where its office is located.
In the same vein, if you plan on working or studying abroad, you might get a choice. You can choose a country with an affordable cost of living, better growth opportunities, availability of better living facilities, and other things you might want. It is better to have multiple options and prioritize them according to their suitability for your needs.
Is the country affordable?
Affordability is another critical factor to consider before moving overseas. A country might offer the best policies for foreigners and have the best facilities, but it may not be affordable for you. There are no set criteria to gauge the affordability of a place, as it all depends on your income and expenditures.
Relocating to a country where it is difficult to meet your expenditures can cause a lot of stress in your life. Some places might feel suitable for visiting but may not be viable for you to stay for long. When planning to spend a year in a foreign country, you need to consider the bigger picture.
How will you earn money?
Whether living in your home country or abroad, you need money to meet your routine expenditures. You need to clarify how you will get funds to finance your expenses. You might use some of your savings and find a job for a stable inflow of income.
If you plan to work abroad, you must also research the relevant requirements. For instance, if you decide to teach English in a foreign country, they might require your visa, passport, identity cards, and other documents. Other jobs might need some certification or degrees. Make your source of income clear to simplify things for yourself.
Steps To Moving Abroad
Once you have got answers to the questions mentioned above and a basic plan, you can begin your journey of moving abroad. You can follow these steps for a smooth transition into expat life.
Complete the documentation process
Once you decide on the country you are moving to, learn about the required documentation specific to traveling to that country. The first thing you require is a visa allowing you to visit and live in a foreign country. Would you need a student or tourist visa, or are holiday visas more suitable for you?
Another important document is your passport. You might need to apply from scratch or renew your passport if it is expired or about to expire. You can visit a government website to find out the eligibility criteria and other requirements. Once you fulfill them, you can apply for your passport and visa.
Other documents you might need include travel insurance, immunization records, residence permits, driving license, personal information, and medical history. You might require these documents at various stages of living abroad. Make sure you have all of them.
Complete the legal process
Moving abroad is different from traveling domestically. It has a lot of legal requirements that you must fulfill. One of the most incredible tips for moving abroad is fulfilling all the legal requirements in advance. Do not wait for a constraint in your relocation process to create a barrier in your journey.
Usually, every country requires a clean criminal record to allow a person to live there. Other requirements vary from country to country. Some might require proof of financial independence, while others demand other documents. Make sure you know about them and can provide them when needed.
Find affordable accommodation
Living costs vary from country to country. Research about them before moving to another country. Make sure you can find affordable and comfortable accommodation for yourself. Getting the best accommodation according to your needs might be difficult before reaching a foreign country.
You can either purchase a property abroad or look for rented accommodation. It depends on your preference and budget. If you plan to live abroad only for a year, it is better to go for rented or shared apartments rather than buying a property. Renting requirements may also vary among different countries. Make sure you have the documents that you might need.
Make arrangements for money transfer
Before you leave the country, you must make arrangements to organize financial aspects. You would need money abroad to meet your day-to-day needs. You may need to quickly transfer these funds to access them from a foreign country.
You will generally need to open an international bank account to access funds. Research the requirements to open one and transfer your funds to it. If you have savings or some other sources of income, you may also transfer them to your international account if you need them.
Move abroad and begin your expat life
Once you have made all the arrangements, it's time to book a flight and move to your destination country. All you require is a booked plane ticket, followed by packing your bags and leaving for your desired foreign country. Proper planning can make things much more manageable and help you experience a smooth journey.
Top Tips For Living In Another Country
After reaching your destination country, the real challenge is to live there comfortably. Leaving your homeland and relocating to a foreign land is not easy. However, there are some tried and tested tips that can help you. The following are some practical ways to help you with your relocating process.
Learn the language
The language you know or speak impacts your choice of country and life abroad. You have a broad choice of countries to relocate to if you know multiple languages. It helps you in adjusting to the new environment as well. You can always learn if you do not know a language other than English.
If you have chosen an English-speaking country, then the language is not a barrier if you speak English. If your destination country's language differs from your mother tongue, it is better to learn the local language. One year is an extended period, and you must be fully equipped to spend it. If you do not know the language, it limits your choice of the country you can move to.
You can learn a new language quickly from the comfort of your home. Either enroll yourself in an online course or simply download a language app. If you are willing to learn and are consistent in your efforts, you can learn to speak fluently in that language in a few months.
Find a job abroad
Whether you are looking for a temporary visa for a year or permanent residence, having a job can ease the process. Working abroad makes you a productive member of society and helps you get temporary residence. It is better to find a job even before you move overseas.
You can connect with job boards and relevant sites to learn about jobs abroad. You may also volunteer abroad to increase your chances of being hired by a company. Many people prefer teaching abroad as a stable job opportunity. You may also lead a digital nomadic life by using the technology for remote working.
International health insurance
Access to primary healthcare facilities is a necessity you must take into consideration. You need to find out whether you will be able to afford healthcare services in a foreign country or not. It is a proactive idea to consider getting international or expat health insurance to cover your healthcare expenses.
You can get regional or worldwide healthcare expense coverage with international health insurance. There are several health insurance plans available for people moving abroad. You can choose the one that best suits your needs.
Explore the local culture
Every country has its own culture, norms, and practices prevalent in society. It represents their ideology about life and heritage. Living in another country allows you to learn about different cultures. Try to explore it by interacting with locals and visiting local places.
The more you understand the culture, the better your expat experience will be. It might take some time, but the resulting learning is truly invaluable. Besides learning about the culture, make sure you also respect the social norms and practices. Avoid doing any act that would offend others.
Stay in touch with your loved ones
The hardest part about living abroad is distancing yourself from your friends, family, and loved ones. It can create a challenge for you, leading to homesickness. When you plan to stay away from your home for a year, you must maintain a connection with your family. This can be through social media, video calls, or texts. Whatever you opt for, make sure you are in touch with your family back home.
Technology has made it even easier and more exciting for you to share daily activities, play games, or watch movies online with your distant loved ones. It will help you spend quality time with your family despite being away from them.
Find a community
Finding a community is a great idea to enjoy your expat life and indulge in the local culture. You might find several people having the same interests as you. Pursue your hobbies and find like-minded people in the community. You might be fond of reading or good at sports. Look for local libraries and clubs to socialize with people.
You can find like-minded people, whether living in a big city such as London or a small one. Friendships based on similar interests grow strong over time. They can provide an excellent opportunity to make the most of your leisure time.
Start saving money
The value of money, inflation, and expenditures differ among different countries. It is better to avoid spending lavishly and make a habit of saving money. Whatever you earn, reserve a little amount for rainy days. You might not always find a cheap flight if you need to leave urgently. It is vital to save money to deal with any emergency.
Savings are always good to support you whether you have a job or not. You might need to spend a lot on documentation, transportation, and other routine expenditures. In addition, you will have to pay taxes as well. Ensure you do not run low on cash in a foreign country away from your friends and family. Always have some savings as a backup.
Perks Of Living Abroad For A Year
Whether you live in another country for a year or more, it brings a change in your life. Here are some perks of living in another country you get as an expat:
Make new friends
You leave your friends and family behind as an expat to settle in a new environment. It can be challenging and make you feel homesick. On the other hand, it allows you to expand your network by making new friends. You meet and get to know people from different cultural backgrounds.
You can form lifelong friendships just like your friends in your home country. These could include other expats as well as locals. Your local friends can help you explore famous places and understand their culture so that you can quickly recover from culture shock. They can also help you adjust to the new environment and feel comfortable abroad.
Moving abroad and living on your own is a great way to achieve self-reliance. You are away from your family and loved ones and have to do most of the things all alone. It can boost your confidence and enhance your self-esteem. You might have to come out of your comfort zone to meet new people and get things done.
It is a great quality to have. Self-reliance helps you face challenges and find a way to overcome them. This leads to significant personal growth and development.
Expands your horizon
Living abroad is much more than discovering new places and meeting new people. Learning from this experience broadens your horizon and provides you with a bigger picture of the world. As you discover new things, your knowledge increases. It also leads to expanding your understanding of the world.
When you interact with people having different mindsets, you learn about different perspectives to look at things. As a result, your critical thinking skills improve. You can find better solutions to problems and promote acceptance.
Top Countries For American Expats
Ready to begin your expat journey? Take a look at the most chosen countries among American expats. This list includes countries that offer the best facilities that expats usually look for.
This neighboring country is very popular among American expats. The greatest advantage is that of the language. You do not need to learn a new language if you speak English. It is also ideal if you are looking for better job opportunities.
This is one of the ideal places for expats to live for a year. The affordable cost of living and ample job opportunities are the main reasons behind its popularity.
Argentina is a popular choice among people looking for a vibrant environment and social life. The beautiful country attracts tourists from all over the world. However, the unstable economy might be a problem for those looking for jobs here.
If you are looking for a sophisticated lifestyle and affordable living costs, Spain can be a good option. It is ideal for living for a year or even more. It is popular among digital nomads and freelancers due to self-employment opportunities.
Thailand is famous for its breath-taking scenery and modern tech hubs. It has good infrastructure with easy access to basic facilities. You can benefit from comparatively lower living costs here.
This lively place is one of the best to live abroad for a year. It provides ample living, working, and entertainment opportunities for expats. South Korea also has a low crime rate and a growing economy.
Experience Life Abroad
Whatever your reason for living abroad might be, relocating to a foreign country is worth it if you plan accordingly. You get a chance to explore the world to a large extent. You can expand your network, get better career opportunities, and unleash your true potential. Living in another country also results in developing fine life skills that last forever.
The invaluable experience of meeting new people, exploring new cultures, and adjusting yourself to a new environment result in lifelong learning. It is definitely not an easy job. However, you can get professional assistance at any stage of living in another country for needs such as relocation documentation, residence permits, mail forwarding, etc. The key to successful expat life is better planning and organized execution of that plan.