Making the move overseas? Take time to plan ahead to make it easier to settle in.
The number of international removals is on the rise as more and more people choose to live overseas. It’s an exciting time, but it also comes with a host of challenges, and it’s not unusual to start feeling homesick. Here are a few tips to make the move less of a wrench.
Migration is on the up
First, you’re not alone – far from it. Everywhere you look in the world migration is up. UN statistics suggest there are more than 244 million international migrants living and working abroad – an increase of 40% since the year 2000. The percentage of the world’s population classed as migrants is rising steadily. One report found a 15% uptick in the number of professional migrants over the year. Many of these are people moving from areas such as Asia and Africa into Europe and the USA, but the richer countries are also seeing people move away. The UK is one of the world’s largest exporters of migrants with only China and India having more people living overseas. The US and France have both seen recent increases in the number of people living abroad.
Whether you’re moving away for good or only a short time, settling into a new country is a big challenge – one which can be daunting as well as exciting. If you’re not adequately prepared it can be stressful and it won’t be long before you’re considering hitting reverse and heading back home. To avoid this, follow these simple steps.
1) Learn the language: If the country you’re moving to doesn’t speak English as the first language it helps to at least have an idea of it before you make the move. Learn the basics so you can navigate basic life. Locals will appreciate the effort and you’ll soon pick it up.
2) Take care of the details:There will be basic things such as bank accounts and utilities which need to be sorted out. Make sure these are in place before you move so that you experience as little disruption as possible. Moving home is hard enough as it is – it’s even more difficult if you have to go without home comforts in the early months.
3) Stay in touch with friends: It’s a big wrench especially if you’re moving alone, but thanks to the wonders of modern technology, there are more way to stay in touch than ever. Skype, email and Google Hangouts are just some of the ways you can keep talking with your friends and family.
4) Make friends: The sooner you get out into the local community and make friends, the better it will be. Don’t just stick to expat circles – as tempting as that may be. Get out and make friends with the real locals.
5) Join expat communities: That said, expat communities can be useful. They will understand what you’re going through and can ease you through the introductory process.
6) Learn the customers: Even if you’re in a country which shares a language and has a similar way of doing things, there will still be differences. Learn the customers and etiquette to reduce the stress of making the move.
Last but not least, recognise that this might not be an easy process and be prepared for the challenges when they come. You will probably go through several stages. At first everything will be new and exciting. Then you may hit a buffer. Something will happen which you wont expect. Maybe someone in the family isn’t settling in well or something happens which makes you miss the comfort and security of home. Either way – be prepared, don’t panic and you’ll be fine.
Settling into a new country is like everything in life. It’s daunting at first, but if you prepare well, all that nervousness will soon give way to excitement.