7 Tips For Expatriates
Moving abroad can be an exciting opportunity, but it also comes with some challenges. Here are 7 tips for expatriates. These tips can help you navigate living as an expatriate.
Make Sure You Understand the Law
The legal system doesn’t work the same way in every country and in most cases, ignorance of the law won’t get you off the hook if you run afoul of it. Do some research about the laws in the country you will be living in and also how U.S. laws may still impact things, such as taxes you may owe as a person working for a company based in the United States. It may be helpful to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the legal system in the country you will be living in to make sure you understand concepts, such as how the litigation process works.
Visit Before You Move
Talk to your company about visiting the country you will be moving to before your actual move date. While you are there, investigate the housing options. It may be helpful to work with a relocation agent. Research the local schools and start pricing housing so you have an idea of what your housing budget will look like.
Learn the Language
Language barriers can be extremely frustrating when you are in a foreign country. When you are going to be living overseas, not being able to communicate with the people you will be around every day can be a real hindrance to your lifestyle. Get started learning the basics of the most common language spoken in the region you will be living in before you move. Spend some time researching translation apps for your smartphone to help you while you are improving your language skills.
Talk To Your Family
Your family life will probably be much more tranquil if you talk to your family about the move before you finalize it. If your partner, children and other family members aren’t on board with the move, you may want to reconsider. If your children are old enough, consult with them about whether they would prefer to be enrolled in a local school or attend an international school. Pay extra attention to any fears or concerns they have about the move.
Don’t Count on Having Help
If you are used to relying on friends and family or hiring help for everyday tasks, it may be a good idea to learn how to do these things yourself. You can’t always count on having access to the same kind of services in another country and you don’t want to be stuck unable to take care of your own needs, such as doing laundry, cooking or maintaining your home.
Do Your Homework
Visit the websites of both the U.S. embassy and the host country’s embassy and familiarize yourself with the services and processes. Do as much research as you can about the culture and customs in the country you are moving to. Investigate any medical needs you may have, such as medications or vaccinations that you will need to get before you leave. Figure out how to acquire basic services, such as a bank account and phone service.
Choose a Busy City
As a first-timer in the country, it is usually better to live somewhere that is close to everything than to try to live in a rural area or small town. You will have an easier time meeting people and you will have better access to services you need, such as healthcare and shopping. Once you get more used to your new home, you can move to a location that is more suited to your tastes if city living is not your preference.
Life as an expatriate comes with many opportunities that most people never get to experience. However, it also comes with challenges that can be overwhelming if you aren’t prepared for them. The earlier your start planning for your move, the easier your transition will be.
Here are some related articles you may find useful:
- A Guide For American Expatriates Living Abroad
- 7 First Things You Should Do When Moving To A New Country
- Find the right removal company for your move!