Moving abroad is a huge upheaval, so it’s only natural you have a few worries about your new expat lifestyle. Every country comes with its own set of challenges – and while expats’ individual circumstances might differ, there are a number of common concerns which can be easily soothed if you take the time to do your research and make proper preparations.
Tips to consider before becoming an expat
Prepare for the cost of living
The cost of living varies from country to country and you might be pleasantly surprised to discover your new country’s costs are lower than the country you’ve just left, but it always helps to do your research before you arrive. You can get a good idea of accommodation costs and even the cost of groceries by looking online. Fill a virtual shopping basket and see what your weekly shop will cost. Dealing with a new currency can be confusing, so before you spend more than you planned, get a good idea of how much your new currency is worth and what it can buy.
Prepare for your safety
Unfortunately, many countries have crime and personal safety issues. If you are moving from a first world country where crime is limited to a country where mugging and break-ins are common, it’s important you take precautions even before you arrive. Research areas and choose your accommodation based on their crime statistics – it goes without saying, the lower the better!
Once you have arrived, investigate the security precautions your neighbours are implementing. It doesn’t make sense to be the most vulnerable home or apartment on the street. Speak to other expats and find out how they are dealing with their security – they will be able to give you valuable tips and tell you what areas to avoid and how to adequately protect yourself and your family.
Prepare to protect your health
Health standards and quality vary from country to country. If you don’t have residence status in the country you are moving to, it’s likely you won’t be eligible for any government-run healthcare schemes or insurance. The alternative is private insurance. Although private insurance costs are high, it’s better to have this protection in place rather than be dealing with unforeseen high costs when a medical emergency arises.
Prepare to make an effort
The expat lifestyle brings many rewards, but it does require effort, especially in the beginning. Adapting to a new culture can be very challenging and ‘culture shock’ is a common phenomenon. Try to acclimatise even before you arrive by reading up on the new culture you are about to embrace. Once you arrive, make every effort to try new things and adapt to your new country’s way of doing things.
Moving countries often means navigating a new language. Once again a lot of effort is required to master a new native language, but you can prepare for this before you arrive by engaging a tutor or doing an online course.
Meeting new people is another activity that requires effort. Try to involve yourself in as much as possible – attend your local expat events, socialise with your new colleagues, invite the parents of your children’s new friend around for drinks or dinner.
The effort you make in the beginning will go a long way to ensuring you are happy and make a success of your new expat lifestyle!
If you thinking of moving abroad, and need any advice about your financial migration, contact us today and we’ll help you on the path to financial freedom in your new home.
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