Moving abroad is an exciting adventure! But like any major life change, moving away from your home country requires a lot of planning and preparation. Here are 4 tips you need to know when moving out of the US.
When packing to move abroad, most people initially want to bring everything they own. However, it is important to pack thoughtfully. Consider things like what the weather will be like there and how much (or little) space you will have in your new home. Sort through your belongings, selling things you won’t need for some extra spending money. Pack a sensible wardrobe with versatile pieces you can style in different ways. Certain items may be hard to find in your new country, so stock up on those things before you leave.
You should bring more than the absolute necessities you can scrape by with. Bring anything you know you will use. For example, a pair of hiking boots would be a waste of space for someone who never goes hiking. However, an avid hiker should not even entertain the idea of leaving them behind.
Pick Up a Travel Guide Before You Go
You may not be a traveler, but everything in your new country will be an adventure just waiting to be explored. Pick up a travel guide about the area you are moving to before you leave home. It may be practically impossible or extremely expensive to find one in your native language once you arrive. The information in this guide will be valuable to you as you start to learn your way around.
Research the Language and Culture
Although English is a widely spoken second language, not every person you encounter will be able to speak it. Dedicate time to learning the native language of where you are moving. It can take years to achieve fluency in a new language, but the locals will be appreciative of your efforts along the way. Many consider it to be a sign that you have a genuine interest in their culture and society.
Just like different countries use different verbal languages, body language can vary drastically from place to place. Even small details like how close you stand to the person you are speaking to can change their perception of you. Research these cultural expectations of your new home. A harmless gesture in the US can be highly offensive when used somewhere else. Learning these things in advance can help you avoid embarrassing faux pas. Start consciously trying to adopt their body language and gestures so you can start looking and feeling like a native. As the saying goes, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
Anticipate a Significant Transitionary Period
Although nobody expects to step off the plane and immediately feel at home in a new country, many underestimate how challenging the transitionary period can be. It takes time to get settled in, meet new friends, and overcome the initial culture shock. You will also need time to relearn how to do routine tasks you took for granted in the US, like going to get groceries or picking up some pain relievers when you are sick. Just give it some time – with a little patience you will adapt to your new surroundings.
Moving abroad may be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do in life, but it will also easily be one of the most rewarding. So many people regret not taking advantage of opportunities when they had the chance. Go live your dreams, explore the world, and experience an entirely different culture by living abroad.