Moving abroad is a major life decision. Here are a few tips to help you keep organized when planning:
- Be familiar with your new environment. This includes the weather, culture and norms. Spend some time reading books about the history and the culture of your host city. With this said, books can only take you so far when it comes to the experiences of moving abroad. The Internet is your best bet for gaining various perspectives and the most up to date understanding of what it is like to live in your host country. There are many blogs available that are written by people like you who are moving or have moved abroad. Reading their blogs is a good way to get the intricate details of life abroad that is often missed by reading books.
Also, speak to people on your campus who have lived in the country you are moving to. With their advice you can get a better understanding of your new environment. To find these students, visit your study abroad office. If you do not have a study abroad office, visit the foreign language, international relations or business departments on campus.
- Keep in mind that you can't take everything with you. You may need to rethink shipping large furniture pieces abroad; no matter how much sentimental value you have for them. Many of the stores you have grown to love in your home country are available or have an equivalent in your host country. In China, you can find Walmarts and Sam Clubs in almost every major city. Also, depending on where you go, buying new furniture can be very inexpensive. If you are moving abroad for a new job, many companies provide furnished apartments for foreign hires.
- Find a place to settle down ahead of time, no matter if it means renting an apartment, buying a house or crashing at a friend or relative's house. Depending on the reason you are moving abroad, there are typically several housing options. If you are moving abroad as a student, most programs provide housing arrangements such as dormitories, home-stay, in which you stay with a family or apartments. If you are moving abroad for a job, in many cases, the company that hired you will assist you with your move by either providing you with a place to stay or assisting you in making arrangements. If you do have family or a friend in another country, contact them and ask if it is okay to stay with them during your time there. At the least, they can help you find a place to stay.
- Contact a reputable moving company, if needed. There are many international moving companies that can assist you with your move abroad. Within a few minutes of searching online, you will find an assortment of international moving companies. Unfortunately, these companies are often expensive. If your move abroad is not long-term, consider only taking the most important items that you can carry with you or have shipped in a few boxes. If you are planning to stay long-term, during your return trips from your home country, bring with you the remaining items that you left behind.
- Estimate your expenses and make sure you bring enough money with you. Research the cost of living in your host country and plan a budget. If you are working abroad, find out your salary and compare it to the cost of living of the host country. Check out the following Living Expense Calculator to get a better understanding of how far your money will stretch while abroad.
Overall, give yourself enough time to prepare before moving abroad. In this way, you will be better able to manage whatever challenges might come your way.