Relocating brings a huge number of challenges, and at the same time many opportunities too. Regardless of the reasons which have led you to move, there are a number of things you need to consider when moving abroad which will help you, when you’re settled in your new city, better appreciate the benefits of expat life.
Since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to travel and get to know different cultures. Right after graduating, I had my first six-month job assignment to Crete and it was an incredible life experience.
Years later, I went through three moves, had a kid in Amsterdam, left that country for beautiful French Polynesia and then came back to the Netherlands seven months later. Moving to different countries taught me how to create a successful life far from my native country.
One of the most important things is how and where to find relevant information. It was kind of easy on my first move as I was staying within the EU and my friends over there passed over tons of useful tips. We were just a couple with two pets in search of a new adventure, so we were open and flexible at that stage.
Things got more complicated six years later when a move was planned to a faraway country and the bargain got bigger, including 2 more pets and a child! Planning the entire move was quite complicated due to distance and a general lack of reliable information. Also, we had to find out about school regulations, the sanitary conditions, health insurance and pet regulations too. It took us six months to collect all the info we needed, but we finally made it. Needless to say, going back to the Netherlands was a very smooth process.
There are many arguments in favour of the stability offered by staying in one place forever, but there is no denying that living in another country for a while broadens your horizons.
So, how do you get the most out of an expat life?
- Being a citizen of the world takes some effort but will reward you and help you grow in a much more complete way. Be open to all inputs, stay flexible and do your best to adapt to your new culture.
- Be prepared. Make sure you’ve learned the things you need to know about work regulations, medical services, housing markets, school systems, health insurance and any other laws and regulations that apply to expats.
- Learn the language. English is a widespread language regardless of where you to relocate to and can be of great use, but being able to speak the local language will make the integration process smother and faster and can likely help you get around bureaucracy too.
- Be happy and never give up. If you really want to get the most out of life in another country, stay positive and deal with all the teething issues with a smile, that’s the best approach. You will ultimately be rewarded!
Pina Fiumara is a three-time expat and Program Director of MomAboard Expat, a new relocation service that connects relocating families with local moms. Learn more at www.momaboard.com/move and use the code “EXPATESSENTIALS” to receive 10% off your first trip plan.