There are so many benefits of moving abroad. You’ll learn patience, gain confidence and become more independent., you’ll meet new people who will open your eyes to new cultures and help obtain a deeper understanding of the world., and you’ll have new-found appreciation for your home country and make lifelong friends. If all that wasn’t enough, you’ll open the door to a world of new opportunities that could change your life forever. You never know where it could take you.
Hi, I’m Michele, a London-based Australian language and travel blogger. I swapped my life in Melbourne for La Dolce Vita. I lived in Rome, Italy for 3 years before moving again to London. Being well-versed in the ins and outs of moving abroad, I created a guide to help you prepare for your own international experience.
Here are my 7 simple steps to moving abroad successfully.
Choose your destination wisely
When choosing a destination, it’s important to have an understanding of both the realities of living there but also any visas you’ll need to obtain to live there legally. Find out if you need a special visa to study and live in this country and if so, do meet all the requirements?
Can you afford to live in this country? What is the cost of living like for a student? If you plan on working abroad there, check to see what the job market is like. How well they typically pay? Will this be enough for you to live off? Do some job research on Linkedin and reach out to other expats in Facebook groups to help you gain a better understanding of what to expect and where to find work.
Finally, how safe is the city or neighbourhood? Do you know anyone who lives there who can help you settle in?
Paperwork, Passport, and Visas
If you need a student visa, ensure that your passport is valid for at least another 12 months and that have enough blank pages in it. The last thing you want is to be rejected because your passport doesn’t meet the requirements.
Collecting the right documents, obtaining a visa application appointment, and waiting for your visa to be processed take take weeks or months, depending on the country. Be sure to factor this into your planning and travel dates.
Money and Finding a job
It’s important to have a financial safety net to fall back on should you have difficulty finding a job. Keep in mind that financial proof that you can support yourself is usually a requirement when applying for a visa.
Ensure you have extra cash to help with your set-up costs. Will you need to buy a a bed or a desk? Other essential items like sim cards, home internet, rent, and food quickly tally up.
A great way to hit the ground running is to begin job hunting before you arrive. Find out what jobs are available and apply. Learn from any rejections you receive and rework your CV if necessary.
If you’re unsure how to find accommodation, start with expat Facebook groups. These groups are very supportive and will help you with any question you may have.
Decide if you want to live close to the city centre or further out. Factor in the extra travel costs if you live further out or the increase in rent cost by living closer to the centre.
Look out for hidden costs. Find out what isn’t included in your rent contract. Watch out for things like council tax, TV license, and heating. These bills can quickly add up.
Learning the lingo
A great way to integrate into a new community is to learn its language. Start learning the language before you go, either via self study or by taking evening classes. This will help you settle in quicker and give you more cultural awareness. Aim to gain a B1 level of proficiency before you arrive and continue your studies once you’ve settled in.
Social life and making friends
Making friends and having a social life is key to your enjoyment when living abroad. Attend social events at your university and connect with others students at your language school. The friends you make whilst living abroad will be some of the strongest and closest you’ll ever make and often last a lifetime.
Culture shock and fitting in
Moving abroad isn’t easy. There will be plenty of highs and lows. Have patience as you find your new routine, make friends, and learn the language. The first year will be the hardest, so do as the Romans do, and learn from the locals. How do the locals live? What do they do for fun? Remember, if it was like home, you wouldn’t have moved!
Michele from The Intrepid Guide is a language and travel blogger and author of the book How to Learn Italian FAST. Michele shares her passion for bringing language and travel together through with her destinations guides, language learning tools, travel phrase cheat sheets, and more! Follow her on social media as she shares fascinating and little-known linguistic and cultural facts. Check out her Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, too!