Moving abroad is one of the most unique and exciting things you can do in your life. It does, however, sometimes leave us feeling slightly (or maybe very) apprehensive and that is TOTALLY normal! You’re leaving behind everything you know and throwing yourself into another culture and/or language. That being said, it can definitely help to have a plan in place to ease your way into a new country; so here are some top tips for helping you prepare for a move abroad!
Plan, plan and plan!
Don’t think that you can just rock up with a beach bag and a toothbrush, but also, don’t bring the kitchen sink. It’s about balance y’all. Start off by assessing what’s worth packing and what is really, truly, unnecessary to pack (think your favourite fluffy jumper when you’re off to Australia to work in the summer seasons).
Are you off somewhere in the tropics? It is always worth checking whether products such as sun cream, mosquito spray and other necessities are of a reasonable price where you’re heading, or whether you’re better off buying them at home.
Will you need a different sim card or can you move to an international plan? It’s great to have a chat to Nanny Sue for an hour, but not at the expense of your travel funds.
Give yourself deadlines
If, for example, your visa documents need to be filed before a certain date, don’t be running around like a blue-bottomed fly asking your family if they’ve seen that piece of paper that was lying around under the coffee table last week.
Start with grabbing your diary/calendar and set yourself reminders for those all important dates, and give yourself enough time for a passport to get delivered.
Look at your accommodation options
What is your budget? Are you entitled to a stipend, university grant or will you need to fork out for your place?
And where’s the best place to find an apartment you ask?
CLUE: it’s not very often on a scrawled phone number on a sticky note tied to a lamppost. A great place to find accommodation in many cities around the world is by checking Facebook groups dedicated to sharing posts for those looking for an apartment or a roommate in a flatshare.
Get to know the area on Google Maps. More often than not, the main hub will be close to bars, restaurants or maybe even the beach. Do you want to be close to all of the action and risk living above a nightclub, or do you want to have a bit more peace and tranquility but spend more time commuting?
Read books and listen to podcasts
Back in the day, a year abroad advisor (or your family), might have told you to just grab a book on the country you’re off to and that will tell you everything you need to know about the culture.
Whilst many books like Lonely Planet can be excellent for recommendations within a country when it comes to places to visit, and advice on cultural norms and laws, it can be much more beneficial to read a mix of fiction and non-fiction books to 1. Get you even more hyped up for moving and 2. Help you avoid some ginormous faux-pas that you may never have even considered.
We also encourage you to check out travel-based blogs such as Global Graduates and Graduate Recruitment Bureau, as these are great if you’re wanting to have a variety of opinions on your chosen country.
And of course, podcasts are many people’s favourite form of learning! Practising any foreign language that you might need to learn in advance of your move is vital to making friends and getting through day-to-day tasks. Coffee Break Spanish/French/Swedish (the list goes on) is a great place to start and you can find this on all podcast platforms.
YouTube has never failed to provide hours of entertainment, and this is no different when looking for travel advice on a specific country. Type in a city and away you go! 3 hours later and you’re probably prepared for a 6-month stint in Berlin.
Culture shock will inevitably raise its head, but embrace those little differences and enjoy spending hours eating together (if you’re in Italy for example!).
Some countries (I’m looking at you, France) love administration and you can rock up to a meeting with all the documents and simply be told the equivalent of: “computer says no.” This is where you breathe, put your foot down and smile sweetly, explaining that you will not be leaving until a solution has been found.
Moving abroad is not the easiest thing to do, but it is certainly an unforgettable experience. You’ll leave with your head held high, proud that you’ve tried something new, and you’ll have an unshakeable belief that you can do ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING!