Moving to a new home is not easy. Moving to another country is a whole different level of “not easy.” The are many challenges that come with starting a new life abroad—loneliness and homesickness being one of them. Every now and then, you will find yourself longing for things that are predictable, consistent, and stable. Of course, there’s the culture shock and the language barriers. These can be pretty overwhelming, especially when combined. Starting a life in a new place is simply a roller coaster of emotions and moods.
To help you prepare for this life-changing event, here is a guide that will help you make the transition better:
Start Learning the Language
The importance of communication is often overlooked. To fully adapt to the new life in a new country, the desire and willingness to communicate with the local language is crucial. Being unable to communicate or at least understand some parts of the language will prove to be a handicap at one point or another. Six months before the big move is a good time to start learning the language. There are several options to start, if you aren’t already in a school:
- Download a language learning app. This is a good way to start as it allows you to learn at your own pace, and you get to choose what is relevant to you. In addition, these apps can cost much less than most brick-and-mortar language schools.
- Attend a language training course. Usually, these language classes are individually tailored lessons built around the specific needs of a student. A language training course for teachers, for instance, allows teachers to develop the needed skills quickly and with a focus on the specialist language needed to teach with confidence.
- Watch TV shows and videos. Proper language learning materials often slows down the speech for the students to effectively process what they are hearing. By watching TV shows, you get to hear native speakers talk and get a sense of what the authentic language sounds like. It is a great way to get used to the regular speed at which locals talk.
Join Local Forums
Almost any country you may move to will have some active expat forums. These can be vital resources. It is the go-to online place to communicate with other expats, swap information, arrange meet-ups, and a thousand other things. Most of the users may have been in your situation and are often more than willing to answer any questions, no matter how trivial they might seem.
Get Your Finances in Order
Even if you think that you have enough money to live comfortably for a while, it is still important to put aside some more cash. It is also time to get an international credit card and start researching about the banking system in your new country. Consider things like: Which bank has an English speaking hotline? Which bank is the most reputable in your town or city? What are their different programs and benefits? Lastly, check with your local tax office to understand the rules for paying taxes and filing for income tax returns, considering that you’ll be living abroad for some time.
There are a lot of things to think, prepare, and organize before making the big move abroad. Everything will be overwhelming. Follow this checklist six months before the move to help you get some things in order and make the preparations a little less stressful.