How To Make Your Dream of Living in Another Country Easier
Many people dream of living somewhere different, often in another country entirely. There are many reasons: new opportunities, a different climate, or being close to a loved one.
Most people don’t realize that emigrating to a foreign country, even one similar to home, isn’t always smooth sailing.
There’s culture shock and isolation to contend with, as well as the process of starting over. But if you’re determined it’s the right move for you, some things will make realizing your dream easier.
If you’re heading somewhere that speaks a different language, start learning it as soon as possible. No one expects you to be fluent when you arrive, but the more you can communicate with locals, the better your initial experience will be.
Consider signing up for language lessons when you arrive as well; you’ll learn from locals and meet other new arrivals who understand your situation.
Even if you’re moving to a country with the same language, find out the local differences – pants have a different meaning in the UK than in the US!
Falling ill or suffering an injury in another country can be costly, potentially ruining long-term plans.
As a recent arrival to a different country, comprehensive health insurance for US citizens living overseas ensures you can afford the necessary medical attention.
With prompt medical care, you’ll have the peace of mind that you won’t have to worry about returning home due to large medical bills.
If you’re a homeowner, the decision is to sell or rent your property before the move. Selling frees up funds to buy in the new location, whereas renting generates a passive income and ensures a place to live if you decide to come home.
Either way, the details should be sorted out in good time before the departure date so that it’s not hanging over your head during the move.
Contact local realtors in your new hometown and look for local accommodation before arriving. Booking into temporary housing for the first few weeks of your stay gives you a base to work from.
Building a rapport with someone with knowledge of the local property will benefit you greatly, especially in places that make it hard for foreigners to rent or buy.
Be A Tourist
It’s incredible how fast settling into a routine of work and family life happens wherever you are. One of the best ways to settle in a new area is to be a tourist in your spare time.
When you get in the mindset of a tourist exploring your surroundings feels natural.
The more you explore, the better you’ll get to know your new home and discover the places that will become part of your everyday life.
It can also ease some culture shock, allowing you time to view the area in bite-sized chunks.
In some countries, you have to have a job before you can get a bank account, so it’s essential to find out what the regulations are before you leave.
As soon as possible, get a bank account set up so that you can be paid and pay your bills.
You can use an international bank account to make payments but keep in mind the fees are exorbitant, so not something you want to do often.
If you aren’t working, find out how to access local banking to avoid paying international fees.
Seeing the city is terrific for finding what’s available but getting involved connects you with the community.
Apart from work or school, there are many ways to go about this.
Look for volunteering opportunities, join a sports team, or take a class to learn a new hobby. You’ll meet people with shared interests and begin to make friends and learn firsthand about the culture.
Isolation is one of the driving factors behind homesickness, so putting yourself out there and getting involved is vital for mental health and settling in.
Commonly used apps in one place aren’t necessarily those used elsewhere, so when you move, move your app usage too.
You can search for ex-pat groups locally, providing an immediate support network while settling in and meeting local friends.
With social media, a vital part of modern social lives, not using the social media platforms your local peers are on will make friendships harder to build and maintain.
Just as emigrating and settling in a new country is exciting, it’s also terrifying, but it needn’t be overwhelming.
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Approach your move with an open mind, learn the language, explore, and immerse yourself in the culture.
Also, find support networks and get involved to stave off isolation, and in time the culture shock will wear off, and you’ll be loving life in your adopted home.
Do you have any other tips for living in another country?
Let me know, til then—cheers m’deres!
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Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela and partner and best friend to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.