When you move to a new country, you will become acquainted with expatriates and expats. You may hear people in your host country refer to you as an expat, and you may even begin to refer to yourself as an expatriate- but becoming an expat entails much more than a title; it is frequently a complete life change.
Whether you want a new job, a new love, or simply a new routine, becoming an expat is an exciting way to pursue what you want to change. However, if you’ve never traveled outside your home country for more than a business trip or a weekend getaway, you’ll want to read these six great expat tips before embarking on your adventure.
Who is an expat?
The term “expat” is a contraction of the word ” expatriate,” which comes from the Latin word “expatriatus.” An expatriatus is someone who had left their home country to live elsewhere in medieval times. However, in today’s culture, an expatriate is someone who lives in a different country than where they were born and raised.
1. Research your destination
Don’t know where you want to go? Dive into the delicious black holes of online research about your future destination. Investigate its culture, people, food, fascinating cities, natural wonders, language, and sources to compare international moving quotes Significantly, if you don’t know the language, plan to take at least an introductory course before you arrive. Later, once you’ve immersed yourself in the local culture, your fluency and communication skills will improve dramatically – but your confidence during those first few days will be far greater because you planned ahead of time.
2. Know your visa options
Suppose you’re moving to a country that requires a visa. Research and apply for the best long-term visa for your circumstances. Travelers who will not be working, for example, may be pleased with a tourist visa, whereas those who desire to study or work will need a visa.
You should also be clear on the visa renewal process: can you do it from within the country? Do you have to return to your home country? Can you leave and then return to renew your visa temporarily? Knowing this will help you avoid last-minute changes to your plans.
3. Meet the locals
It’s fine to avoid friendships and social gatherings to live alone in a peaceful environment. However, there will come the point when you feel the desire to interact with others, whether they are natives or fellow first-time expats. Not isolating yourself from others can significantly improve your perspective of a new place and help you connect, whether you’re looking to make new friends or flirt with a local. Allow the locals to get to know you, and they will return the favor; you’ll learn a lot from them in no time. It is also a great way to create networks, which can be helpful in many places while looking for the proper job or housing.
4. Tie up loose ends
Call your phone company, gym, and other service providers well in advance to cancel your subscriptions. Inform your bank of your intentions, cancel direct deposits, and educate yourself on your debit and credit card charges. Reroute your mail to a friend’s or family member’s address, and consider selling or storing your car (and what insurance plan to take if you keep it).
Later, decide what items you bring and what you sell or store. You’ll also have to sell or sublet your home or apartment (which is particularly important so as not to receive a surprise utility bill when you return).
5. Adjust to what you have
As a first-time expat, you must adapt to what is available in your new environment. For example, you may have only ordered coffee from one company, but you may have to adjust to whatever type of coffee is available in your area. Strange odors? You’ll have to get used to it. Constantly complaining about how you can’t find the same brands as back home or how you prefer your old city’s public transportation system does not foster a healthy relationship with your new home. Focus on the positives and step out of your comfort zone. Perhaps you’ll discover an even better coffee brand in the process.
6. Have a goal in mind
It’s surprisingly easy to waste time while abroad, only to be confronted with the date of your return flight before you’re entirely prepared to leave. Before leaving, and periodically while away, consider what you truly want to gain from your international experience.
Is it an opportunity to travel as much as possible? To be self-assured and fluent in your chosen language? Working for an international company? Volunteer? Learn about your ancestors’ culture? Are you going to university?
Reminding yourself why you chose to move abroad will help you make good decisions about how to spend your time abroad. And this will make you feel more satisfied and prouder of yourself when the time comes to return.
Deciding to relocate abroad on your own is a huge step. It’s the ideal opportunity to travel the world, get to know another city, and develop your independence. Significantly, moving abroad will undoubtedly be difficult, but proper planning makes it feasible and worthwhile. Follow these tips, and you’ll have a new life in a remarkable country abroad in no time.