If you love to travel and explore new destinations, then it may have crossed your mind more than once that the next step in your adventure could be to extend your trip and try living and working abroad for a while. Perhaps you are drawn to one particular country, or you may want to move around but get more under the skin of the country by living like a local. It’s a beautiful dream, and one with many mind-opening benefits, and yet it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you aren’t properly prepared. Turning the ambition into a reality can be quite challenging at times.
You may struggle to secure a visa, be unsure where to look for work, or not understand arrangements for medical care in your destination country. The key is all in the work you put in before you make the big move. As long as you prepare properly, you can have a smooth transition from one country to another.
Choose Your Country
Once you’ve taken the plunge and made the decision to live your adventure, you need to consider carefully where to relocate to. Some countries are notoriously easier to get into than others. Fun as it may be to spin a globe and point at a location, it’s a bad idea to move to anywhere where you haven’t visited before. Spend time thinking about the experience you want to get out of moving abroad. One way to dip a toe in is to choose either an English-speaking country or one where English is widely spoken, especially if there isn’t another language you speak.
A lot of the barriers you may encounter living abroad will be complicated by not having a common language. Of course, you should always attempt to learn at least the basics of the dominant language of your destination country before departing as well. You may also want to think about where in the world your new home is located. How easy would it be for you to get back home if something happened?
There’s a drastic difference between being a three-hour flight away and being on the other side of the planet. Also, consider what other countries are close to where you are going that you may be able to explore. For example, moving to Australia means better access to the Far East.
Where Will You Stay?
The first thing you really need to have a plan for once you’ve picked your destination is where you will stay. Do your research into locations and neighbourhoods well in advance – what facilities are there? What are the transport links like? What is the average rental cost for an apartment? You will need to be quite specific with your available budget, so you should be looking for things like an apartment for rent in kl below rm1000, for example.
Some people opt to stay in a hostel or an Airbnb and hunt for a place to live once they have moved, but be aware that this is an expensive option, and it will also be difficult if you’re planning to ship over any belongings. Finding a cost-effective place to stay is a good idea – you need to make sure you have sufficient funds to cover the rent for several months while you hunt for a job.
Before making the move abroad, you should also have a plan for what work you plan to do. You will need a source of income, and turning up without any kind of plan means you will be panicking from the start. Check your visa status to make sure that you are allowed to work in the country. Some jobs lend themselves to being a digital nomad like marketing, writing work, coding and website building or graphic design, so consider if you have the training and skills to go freelance, or whether you could secure work from a current employer.
There are other options too, such as registering to teach English as a foreign language, going for translation work if you can speak the native dialect too or investigating what seasonal work is available in the area you’re heading to. Just make sure that you have a back-up plan too.
Sort Your Medical Insurance
When you have an illness or accident abroad, it can be very scary – but it can even be life-threatening if you don’t have medical insurance in place. Make sure you understand exactly how the healthcare system in your host country works, and what insurance you will need in order to be covered. Some jobs may provide medical care as part of the package, but just make sure it’s definitely in place before you make your move.
With the basics covered, you can relax and start to get excited about your big move – bon voyage!
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