So, you want to move abroad?
I speak with people every week who want to move to another country.
Their reasons are often similar. They’re looking for something different. Maybe they’ve never lived anywhere else. Or, they want an adventure while they still can.
I’m going to start with a few tips here, and I will follow up with more information in future newsletters.
Identify why you want to move abroad: Are you looking to grow your professional experience? Or, are you just looking for a little adventure? Could you expand your formal education while you’re gone?
Make a list of where you’d like to live: Do you want to live in a specific city? Or, is there a certain country that strikes your interest? Or a particular region? Create a list of your top five choices.
Learn about your options – specifically work visas: Countries offer different types of visas depending on why you’re entering the country. You can visit as a tourist, a student, or a worker. Learn about the differences to avoid heartache later. Some countries are more difficult to get a work visa in than others. For example, from what I’ve observed, it’s more difficult for an American to work in Europe than in Australia. These details may help you to narrow down which countries to add to your wish list.
Decide how long you’d like to work abroad: If you plan to work abroad for a year or less, there may be more options for you. Longer term commitments are sometimes harder to find, but are definitely possible.
Find out about the lifestyles that exist in each place you choose: In some countries, it’s very normal to take all of your clothes to the cleaner rather than have a washing machine at home. In other countries, air conditioning and dishwashers aren’t the norm. In many places, public transportation is used over having a car. These differences are influenced by the cost of living in various areas. In highly populated cities, you will find many tiny, high priced apartments. If moving abroad is your dream, just remember that you’ll adjust — but you should be aware of these issues in advance, so you’ll know what you’re signing up for.
Consider logistics: Will you move anything with you? When will you come home to visit? How will taxes work? Where will your healthcare come from? How will you continue to save for your retirement? Be sure you’ve considered the little details that can make living abroad challenging.
Save up: Moving (anywhere) is expensive! Be sure you have a cushion saved to help you when you get there. You never know – you may need to purchase new furniture, put down a deposit on an apartment, or stay in a hotel for a few weeks. Prepare yourself, so the experience remains a positive one.
Find like minded people: Do you have a friend who’s living abroad? If so, reach out and ask them what it was like to move, and how they landed a job. Find out what challenges they had, and what they’d do differently if they did it again. Often, you don’t learn the tiny details of moving oversees until you’ve actually done it. So, ask!
Living abroad is an incredible experience. I’ve never met anyone who has moved from their home country that isn’t happy they tried it – at least for a little while.
Don’t let the intensity of the process discourage your pursuits. This is just something you’ll need to research and plan for. It’s certainly more complicated to move abroad, but still possible. If it’s your dream, create a plan so you can make it happen!
Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes. Thanks.
Angela Copeland is Founder and Coach for Copeland Coaching, a great way to jump start your job search. Follow her on Twitter @CopelandCoach for tips on finding the perfect job for you.