Laura McDonald from i-to-i shares her top tips for those who dream of living abroad. After all, there is so much to consider - from picking your country to finding a way to afford to live overseas - that it’s critically important to identify the main things to consider when moving abroad…
Let’s face it, moving abroad can be a pretty daunting prospect - there’s all the planning to do before you go, then once you’re out there you want to make sure you’re not going to be in for any big surprises!
So, here are some of the most important questions that you should ask yourself before making the big move overseas.
1. Is the country right for me?
Okay, so it might sound quite obvious, but you need to make sure that the country you’re moving to is the right one for you. You don’t want to realise a couple of months down the line that it’s not what you expected and start to regret your decision.
Moving to live a country or being a tourist in a country for a couple of weeks/months are two completely different things: you’ll learn so much more about a country’s customs and cultures by actually living there.
So, how do you know if a country is right for you? Do your research and speak to others who are living out there already to give yourself a good idea of what to expect.
2. Will I be able to adapt to the culture?
Most people who want to move abroad do so because they want to experience a new way of living and a new culture. However, in some countries the culture can be completely different to the one you’re used to.
If you think it would be difficult for you to adapt, then it might not be the best move for you.
3. How much will living abroad cost?
No matter where you move to, there are going to be initial costs involved to get you there –from flights to visas etc. The cost of living from country to country is going to vary considerably too.
Of course, it depends on how you are going to make when living abroad and how much money you’ve got saved up, but generally the cost of living in bigger cities across the world is going to be more than in the smaller, quieter towns and villages.
Do your research on how much things will cost in your chosen nation. Check everything from the cost of bread and milk to the cost of accommodation and tax rates.
4. Where will I live?
A pretty important factor to consider when moving abroad is where you are going to live! You need to do your research and arrange your accommodation before you head abroad, so you’re not stuck at the airport with all your worldly possessions and no home for them!
If you’re moving abroad for a new job, then your employers might be able to help you in finding accommodation, and sometimes it’s actually included in your contract.
5. How will I earn money when living abroad?
Another important factor when moving abroad is how you’re going to earn money. If you don’t already have a job set up for your big move, then you need to look at what your work options are out there.
There are loads of great job prospects all over the world, but you need to find them!
Teaching English abroad is becoming increasingly popular for people who are moving overseas, due to the huge demand for English teachers worldwide.
6. Will I be able to get a visa to live and work abroad?
This might not be the first thing you think of when you’re considering moving abroad, but it could shatter your dreams of going to a certain country, so it’s important to check this out early on.
In some countries you need a degree in order to be able to obtain a work visa: for example this is the case in South Korea, Japan and Thailand.
7. What do I want to get out of the experience of moving abroad?
People decide to move abroad for all sorts of different reasons: from people moving for a new career to people wanting to experience a new lifestyle. You need to ask yourself what you want to get out of the experience.
Do you want to experience new things, immerse yourself in a different culture or learn about different ways of living? By asking yourself these questions you can make the decision of where to go a whole lot easier!
The above are just a few questions you need to ask yourself before moving abroad. However, there are probably endless amounts of questions you have if you’re considering relocating.
So, if you’re currently thinking about moving abroad and you want answers to all your many questions, check out the FREE e-book, ‘TEFL Uncovered: How to Teach Your Way Abroad with TEFL’ from OnlineTefl.com, an i-to-i company. This book gives you the low down on living and working abroad and how you can make your dream life abroad happen by teaching English as a foreign language around the world.