Moving to a new country is one of the most exciting and daunting decisions that you can make in your life. Once the initial thrill of having made the decision has worn off, you then realise how many different things you need to get sorted before you make your big move. And if you are moving with your entire family, there are even more things that you need to start ticking off your to-do list. Well, this guide is here to give you a helping hand and take you through some of the top considerations that you need to make. Of course, every country is different and will have varying procedures that you need to follow but this will help to give you a good overview.
You Can Never Do Too Much Research
There is no such thing a being over researched before you make your move abroad. And with so much information now readily available online, it makes sense that you take all the advice that you can get. Just some of the topics that you will need to know more about include lifestyle, language, education, healthcare, taxes, and culture to name but a few. If you can get in touch with people who have lived there first-hand, you will be in a much stronger position as you will be able to ask them specific questions. Often, travel guides can give you too much of a rosy picture of a destination and you ideally want to know about the bad as well as the good. After all, you don’t want to get any nasty shocks when you get there!
Visit Before Moving
If possible, you should look into making a preliminary trip to the country before you actually move there so you can find out more first-hand. Even if you just stay for a limited amount of time, you will get a better idea of your new city and neighbourhood. Of course, visiting a place is a lot different to actually living there but you will still get some interesting information. If you can make some connections while you are out there, this is even better. A further advantage is that you will get a better idea of what you need to bring from home as people have a tendency to try and pack too much.
Work Out Income and Cost of Living
The cost of living in your new country will be different to home, so you can work out what your income is in comparison to what you are likely to be spending. How will your lifestyle compare to what you have at home? Don’t forget to take into account things like moving, visas, rent, transportation, food, utilities and taxes. If you can make a rough list calculating your monthly budget, you will feel much more comfortable about your expenses situation.
Weigh Up Different Education Options
Making sure your kids get a good standard of education will of course be one of your primary concerns. Teaching and assessment systems tend to vary widely from country to country, so it is worth looking at the curriculum in more detail. If you are moving to a place with a new language, you need to make the decision of which one your kids will be educated in. Of course, the advantage of sending them to a school that teaches in the new language is that they will pick it up much quicker, but things are likely to be difficult over the first weeks and months. International schools have the advantage that you know what sort of curriculum will be taught, but they also tend to be more expensive.
Look Into Housing Options
Getting the right home can make all the difference in helping you to settle in as soon as possible. Of course, the type of accommodation that is common varies from country to country. Moving to a highly urban place like Singapore means that hdb rental properties are common while if you are relocating to a more rural setting, houses tend to the be norm. House hunting can be complicated, which is why many people choose to enlist the help of an estate agent. But once again, the internet has provided a range of website so you are able to do plenty of research on what is available. It is usually a good idea to rent before you buy, as this gives you the maximum flexibility before you get settled in.
Prepare the Whole Family
So far, we have largely talked about the practical aspects of moving to a new country and not the emotional side of things. How your kids take the news really depends on how old they are – once they are older and settled in a certain location, things can be a lot more challenging. Ultimately, it is worth sitting down on a regular basis to speak with them openly about what the move will mean. Also, give them the opportunity to discuss their feelings on a regular basis. Try to remind them about why you are making the move in the first place and all the positive things that are associated with it.
Look at Online Expat Forums
We have already talked about how useful a tool the internet can be when making the move to another country, but one of the best ways you can use it is by joining an expat forum or club. If you have been unable to speak to anyone directly about moving to the new area, here is the perfect place which you can do this. You can read through what people have already posted and put up some of your own questions so you can get as much information as possible before making the big move.
Find Ways to Integrate into the Community
Once you arrive in your new community, you will want to integrate yourself as quickly as you can. So, to start off with, you can look up the different community activities and clubs that you can join when you arrive. It is a good idea to try out a few different things before you settle on a couple that are right for you. Remember, the more that you put yourself out there during your first few weeks of moving, the more likely it will be that you start to develop long-lasting connections. As well as finding different activities for you to take part in, you should also look at the options that are available for your kids as well.
Remember that it Takes Time to Adjust
It is rare that anyone who moves to a new country will feel instantly at home there. Instead, you need to give yourself time to settle in and get used to your new way of life. If you continually compare your life to what you used to have, you will find that it is much more difficult to find satisfaction. Keeping an open mind is the best way that you will adjust to your new surroundings in the quickest way possible. Again, it is all about getting yourself out there and actually experiencing what is around you rather than shutting yourself up in your home (though this may be the most tempting and easiest option).
If English isn’t the first language spoken in your new country, it will do you a world of good to learn the new language as quickly as possible. Children tend to be more adept at picking up new languages than adults, so it is well worth surrounding yourself with it as much as possible whether this is through movies and TV shows, phone apps and CDs. Even just knowing the basics can help you get by and avoid awkward situations as much as possible. There are some things that you will only be able to learn by actually speaking to locals, so if you can start to make friends that don’t speak any English, you will be forced to communicate in their language. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as this is always going to be the best way to learn.
Moving your entire family to a can be overwhelming, but hopefully this guide has given you some of the basics of what you can expect and how best you can prepare yourself. You should try to do as much prior research as you can, but remember that there are some things that you will only be able to learn once you have made the big move. Most people will start having doubts once they get there, but the only way that you can overcome them is by throwing yourself into your new situation as best you can. As well as the practical side of moving, you also need to consider the emotional side, not only for yourself, but also for your whole family. Do these things, and you will give yourself the best chance of settling in quickly.