Moving abroad is an exciting adventure that can quickly become stressful and costly if you don’t plan well. If you don’t find accommodation abroad early, don’t budget based on the country’s cost of living or pack the right things, you’ll end up running out of money fairly quickly. But it doesn’t have to be like that. All it takes is some research and prior preparation.
To help you keep track of all the things you need to consider when moving abroad, we’ve created a checklist based on the experiences of expats who’ve used HousingAnywhere and moved abroad just like you’re about to!
Moving abroad is a big decision and one that you shouldn’t take lightly. After all, you don’t want to realise that the culture doesn’t fit or that the weather is not to your liking. So here’re some aspects you should research when moving abroad to reduce culture shocks:
No 2 countries are the same and there’re bound to be cultural differences. For instance, while doing maintenance work or socialising on weekends is not frowned upon in Spanish culture, in German culture there’s a law about “quiet hours” that requires people to not make unnecessary loud noises. Similarly, while tipping is accepted in the German culture, in Italian culture it’s not considered necessary.
To avoid offending people and show respect towards the locals, spend some time learning about the cultural habits.__ This can include reading books, online articles, or watching videos about food, festivities, greetings, family life, dating, etc.
One aspect of moving abroad is the language barrier if you don’t know the local language. For most expats, knowing English is sufficient if they’re moving abroad to work or study. However, if you truly want to integrate into the local culture, get out of the expat bubble, and not face a language barrier, knowing a few phrases is going to help you a lot.
Think along the lines of how to ask for directions, a good restaurant or the nearest bank. There’re so many apps available to help learn a language these days, like Memrise, Duolingo and HelloTalk. So, download a few and pick your favourite.
Weather will influence your daily life and what you pack before moving abroad. So don’t rely on stereotypes and make sure to check out the average temperatures throughout the year so you can pack accordingly.
Moving abroad can be easy or difficult depending on the country you’re moving to and your nationality.
For instance, European citizens can easily relocate to other EU member states and then get a job or apply to a university as their passport allows them freedom of movement.
But non-European citizens will most likely need to secure a university placement or be granted a work permit by a foreign employer before they can apply for a visa.
Overall, here’re the top things you should consider when moving abroad:
When to start: This is your first step to becoming an expat, so this will kickstart all that follows. Allow at least one to 3 months, or longer to research everything and get the application process started.
There’re lots of things that can determine which city you’ll end up moving to. For some people, this will depend upon where their new job or university is. For others, it’ll depend on personal reasons such as how much is the cost of living? Is the city lively? Is it good for families? Is it LGBTQ friendly?
If you need inspiration, here’s our roundup of some of the best European cities for expats:
Understanding the cost of living at a country and a city level is key when deciding where you want to move_ to. This will not only help you plan a realistic budget but also get you a visa as most visa applications require proof of sufficient finance.
Don't forget the city level cost of living as your monthly budget will highly depend on which city you live in, where in the city you live in, your lifestyle, etc.
HousingAnywhere has several cost of living guides to help you prepare. Simply click on a city you want to move to and find the cost of living article:
Once you know you’re ready to move abroad, it’s time to check the visa requirements (is applicable) and gather the necessary paperwork. Few things can be worse than being in a new country and realizing that you don’t have the documentation that you’ll need to open a bank account, sign your lease or set up phone service.
Some of the most common documents include your:
*You might need to translate and legalise your documents if they are not in English or the local language of the country you’re moving to. So start early as this process can take time!
As an expat, it’s so difficult to know where and how to look for housing abroad. One of the best ways to secure housing from abroad is to use a trusted housing platform that verifies landlords, doesn’t require in-person viewings, and protects your rent until after you move in.
Some other ways involve asking your work or university if they’ve got any leads, but they’ve limited housing options. You could check Facebook groups, but it’s hard to avoid scams online. Opting for agencies is a more trustworthy alternative but they’re expensive.
Here’re the top things to consider when renting housing abroad:
Find out the best way to travel to your new home. Driving is a great option for those with limited luggage and those moving to a neighbouring country. Alternatively, trains, buses, or ferries can be cheap if booked in advance or during a promotional period. They often don’t have luggage limits, making them a great option. Planes can be expensive and it’s best to look at flying mid-week, from a not too busy airport.
Being prepared is one of the most important things to keep in mind whenever you’re relocating. But remember to not overstuff your luggage as you can easily buy essentials abroad as well.
Tips for packing:
Once you arrive in your new home country, you’ll need to get a lot of things sorted to kickstart your life abroad. This includes:
With these tips in mind, you’ve got the perfect checklist for your move abroad. Good luck with this new adventure!
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