Times have changed, and for many reasons people nowadays, moving from one country to another, has almost become a norm. Most people know of someone who moved to a different city, went to study someplace else and the list goes on. However, I wanted to write a list that would help any of you who are about to embark on such a journey or who is simply daydreaming about the possibilities in the future.
As someone who is studying abroad, I will have to tell you that this list comes from experience. Living abroad is one of the hardest yet most eye-opening experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have. Although it’s a great experience, it is very important to plan things out as much as possible, so you should consider the next five points:
1. What’s the purpose of the move?
Are you going to study? A great job opportunity? Simply taking a leap of faith? See, depending on why you are considering this move, there are implications. For example, if you are going to study, usually you need to have been accepted by a school before moving to the country. Likewise, with a job. For leaps of faith, whatever it may be, because they can be so broad it is always best to have a plan of action.
2. Entry requirements
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at the amount of people that actually think they can just move to a different country. Obviously, it may be easier if you hold a European passport and you are moving from one part of Europe to another, but regardless, it is not your country. Usually, there is still paperwork that you may have to file in order to serve your purpose. Even more, there are cases that you need to fulfill some language requirements and need to do some testing. This is honestly the part that you need to focus on the most. Do not jeopardize your future by being rejected, or even deported, due to lack of knowledge. Nowadays, there is no excuse! There are government websites, immigration forums, and even friends and family that can guide you through this process.
3. Money Money Money!
Of course, this had to be on the list! The money you account for should include moving expenses and that is so much more than just airfare and money for living expenses. You should consider clothes, for example, if you are moving to Canada, you definitely need a coat for all 4 seasons. But let’s say you’re moving somewhere tropical, you will need to invest on pieces you can layer. Also, having just additional money for unforeseen expenses is never a bad idea!
4. Culture Shock
As much as globalization has helped us all feel like we are a part of almost the same culture, there’s a huge difference between us all listening to Beyonce and culture. You should definitely respect the culture and country you will be immersing yourself in. So go ahead and invest some time in seeing what are the different things that would be considered normal in the country you are moving to. Sometimes research only gets a portion of the reality but it never hurts to prepare yourself mentally for what’s to come.
5. Support system
This is one that unfortunately sometimes gets easily forgotten. Of course, not everyone gets the opportunity to consider it, but if you can, please don’t underestimate the power of a support system. The bigger and more diverse your team is, the better. What I mean by that is try to find people that are in a similar situation as you (in the same country, away from home, whatever that may be), also stay in touch with people from home so you do not feel like a stranger whenever you return or visit. Even more, make friends with people that have fewer similarities so it helps you understand whatever curve balls life throws at you, with a different perspective.
Be grateful (BONUS!)
This tip is more for when you are already abroad. It is a blessing to get a job opportunity or to study abroad. Whatever has made this move possible; so it is always good to keep in mind that you should be grateful when things are low. Sometimes for me, as I was studying abroad, thinking that my studies would make a difference wasn’t enough to keep me motivated, so I focused on the fact that I was closer to seeing my family as the time went on. Do whatever works to keep you motivated and positive, and a lot of times reminding yourself of how lucky or blessed you are is a great start.
What did you think of the list? Is there any other advice you think we should have mentioned? Let us know in the comments.