8 Things I Wish I Knew "More of" Before Moving Abroad
When we left the United States two years ago we knew there would be issues, some obvious and others not so much. We've also been asked several times why did we move and of course tips for moving abroad.
We share our journey via our channel on the day to day things but in the beginning we just lived or rather learned to live in a new country while still being attached to family and obligations in the U.S.
With that being said here are 8 things we would have done differently or researched more of before the big move! In no particular order.
1. Packing -
We overpacked to say the least but not in a good overpacking, because that is a thing. Instead we overpacked with clothes we would never wear again, jewelry that never saw the light of day, shoes that were appropriate for our new casual life and personal keepsakes that would have been better served as gifts to those we love upon leaving. Eventually after moving homes and countries several times we shed those items out of necessity and the realization that they just weren't needed anymore. Most things you want will be in your new country and shipping items does exist(sometimes)!
--The only thing I wished we would have packed extra would possibly be comfort spices for cooking and maybe tech items. I recommend purchasing new laptops, cellphones and all accessories for those before departing the U.S. The cost is higher depending on the country and the selection/option is sometimes less.
2. Language - I didn't expect everyone to speak English but I'm going to be honest the American education system pushes that English is the language all countries must know to communicate with us because we are well...America. With that being said I quickly learned that if a sign is in English you are lucky, if one person out of ten speaks English you are blessed. Count your blessings and figure it out!
--Learn the language basics of the country you are moving to, things like "Hello" , "Good morning" or "I am lost, can you help." Simple things that indicate a lot to those in your new home country.
3. Facebook Groups - We've stated several several times that you should join all the expat and local groups for your new home country/city/town and still stand by it. The information gained will assist you in ways that aren't measurable while allowing you to be informed of things that you as an expat that possibly doesn't speak the language or watch the local news may not be aware. A good FB group will share information on housing, finance, visa's and changes in laws or local activities. Sure there will always be some issues but ignore and get what you need.
4. Home Search -
We wrongly assumed that finding a home would be the easiest part of moving abroad and it's actually been the most difficult and time consuming. Wading thru listings that may or may not be real, realizing that agents may or not be licensed and good at what they and that the home pictured may not look anything like the pictures when you arrive will hurt your feelings...lol
--This is where being a part of the Facebook groups helps. Bad realtors and landlords will be listed here along with the good ones! One tip I will share is that we learned pretty quickly our must haves and what we can't live with ever again. Housing designs and standards are different, go with the flow.
5.New Normal - This is to be expected with moving to a new country being one of the most out of your comfort zone things you can do! Accept that you will feel like a fish out of water some days and possibly every day as you navigate your new normal. It will come quicker than expected if you again, go with the flow of how your new home country operates.
6. Self Doubt-
You will question the move, your new life and if this is the country for you! And you should, self reflection is part of growth and this move is a part of journey. Along this new pathway you may come to the realization that this country isn't for you. That's a great thing!
You stepped out, recognized quickly that this isn't going to work and hopefully will move to the next new. Don't look back!
7. Support Network - The first few days you will be navigating language, housing, banking and food but after that you need to start working on a network. Your network will keep you connected to your new home in moments of self doubt and hopefully lead to less stress, depression and other mental health conditions that can result from moving to a country solo or even with your family. We all know its hard for most of us to make friends out of high school or college but make the extra effort that it will take!
8. Visa & Medical - This is the one area that you shouldn't wing it! Do your research via official sites and blogs to ensure that you have all the information you need to make informed decisions regarding visa's, residency requirements and your future medical care.
It’s common to experience anxiety, stress, and fear when you end up in a new environment. How you react to it and which steps you take to get back to everyday living are vitally important. Hopefully all the information above will help you in your move abroad!