How to Live in Another Country – Your International Moving Guide

Posted Country Guides / February 18, 2020
Anastasia Hill

Apart from being the next fashion icon, Anastasia is also a freelance writer and expert on moving (and packing clothes).

The rough estimate of the United States Census Bureau is that 9 million American citizens are currently living abroad, not including those that reside outside the US temporarily. If you are thinking about joining this expat crowd and you’re wondering how to live in another country, check out this brief guide to get a clearer picture of the matter.

Is Moving to Another Country the Right Decision?

What you should really start with is determining whether relocating overseas is the right choice for you. Not everyone can adapt to different circumstances and even those who can encounter many difficulties stemming from the sheer fact of being far from home. Some countries are easier to adjust to than others; some are even impossible to relocate to from a legal perspective. Then, there is also the question of the cost and standard of living in your preferred destination and whether they are acceptable to you.

What Are Your Motives for Moving Abroad?

People move abroad for a number of reasons. Some move for a change and a fresh start, some for a new job opportunity, while some want to explore different parts of the world, cultures, languages, and sceneries. What you should be absolutely sure of is that the outcome of the move will justify the reasons behind it, but without negatively affecting your life. So, no matter if you move to Peru, or decide to settle in China, as long as you are benefiting from the relocation you shouldn’t doubt your decision.

What Can You Gain From It?

After you do thorough research and determine that there are more reasons to move than not, you should start preparing for international relocation. If you are still a bit unsure about the whole idea, as you should be because it is not a small thing, you might want to approach the people who had already moved and made their dreams come true.

In today’s world, it is easier than ever to direct the course of your life and decide where you want to relocate to. Besides gaining valuable new experience, you could also excel in your career, see things that you’ve always wanted to see and improve the overall quality of your life.

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If You Want to Move Abroad, You Should Know How to Live in Another Country Comfortably

One of the first things to consider is how to support yourself abroad and live there comfortably. A good starting point would be to find a job before you move there, but it shouldn’t be the only requirement. To have a comfortable life in any place on earth, you’d want to feel safe and secure, too. The political climate in the area you are moving to and your legal status will have a huge impact on your everyday life.

Do You Have Enough Money to Support Yourself or a Job Waiting for You?

If you are lucky enough to have a job waiting for you, you can relocate with less stress. Many young people are earning their bread in a digital world, and have no problem with relocating anywhere in the world. If you are one of those digital nomads, all you need is a place to sleep and a stable internet connection. Many bloggers, videographers, photographers and video bloggers are constantly on the move around the globe to bring new and interesting content to their platforms and get different angles in their work.

How to Live in Another Country With Your Family?

When it comes to relocating abroad with a family, there are a few more concerns that you should address. After all, you would want your whole family to have a certain level of comfort, safety, and security. You’ll probably want to search for places that have a great and accessible health care system, good schools and all the other amenities they might need. If you have pets that are relocating with you internationally, you should know the procedures that they have to go through and the legal requirements before you depart.

What Is the Ideal Location for You? Is It Continental Germany, Hot Spain or Maybe Exotic Bali?

The best way to choose your ideal location is according to your preferences, where you see yourself in the next few years and your budget. That is if you don’t have a specific place in mind, of course. The most common destinations for people coming from the US: the ones where the English language is official, like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland.

Besides a shared language, those countries also have a very similar culture and social norms. Other locations that are popular, especially among millennials and digital nomads are more exotic ones such as Bali, Thailand, Japan, some countries in South America, as well as in Africa and Europe. The most common countries in Europe that are go-to locations for expats are Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Norway.

What Are the Legal Procedures You Have to Go Through?

If you decided to move to a country that is a part of the European Union, or Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, and most of the countries in South America, you are in luck. US citizens do not need to apply for a work visa or a legal residency visa. You can enter those states without any visas and then apply for a permit, residency or work, in the US consulate there.

However, when it comes to many countries in Asia and Africa that are popular among expats, you would have to acquire legal visa documentation before you move. You should also consider what things you can bring into the country and how to ship oversized freight.

What Are the Things You May Find Difficult to Adjust to at First?

As it is the case with any radical change in someone’s life, it requires adaptation to new circumstances. Depending on your destination, many things can be strange, uncomfortable or even outright unbearable for you. Here are a few that are usually the hardest ones.

Language Barriers Can Become Quite an Obstacle

If you move far away, say to some exotic island, chances are you won’t know the language or even the letters of the alphabet. If you throw your anchor in a bit more rural area, what will make things even more difficult is that only a few people will understand even a word you say. Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take some time to learn even the basics of the official language of the country you are relocating to.

Home Is Where the Heart Is

It might be very hard at first to be far from the place where you grew up, where your family and friends are, and from everything you know and hold dear. The good news is that you can always take some time off to visit your loved ones and build your life and your social circle eventually at your new home, as well.

Different Social and Cultural Norms

What you may also find hard is to adjust to perhaps very different social and cultural norms at your new location. Different nations have their own concept of good manners and polite behavior, and if you are not careful, you may even end up offending someone out of pure ignorance. It is not a bad idea to learn in advance a bit about the strange culture and what you should never do there. Some countries are even very strict and you may even break the law without knowing.

Not Every Climate Will Suit You

Climate is one of the things that will impact your life on a day to day basis. If you think that you are not up to constant tropical temperatures every day, or really cold winters for the better part of the year, you should reconsider your destination.

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