Moving to a whole new country is a huge decision and a major life upheaval. Even if you’re an avid traveler, choosing to call a new country your home is a totally different experience that takes a lot of careful planning and adjusting.
With that in mind, there are so many mistakes that can be easily made but just as easily avoided. That’s why we’ve created this list of common errors made by people who move abroad. Make sure you’re familiar with what they are so you can carefully avoid them and live your best ex-pat life.
Lack of Research
The first and biggest mistake we’ve seen is people jumping into a move abroad without doing the proper research required. There is so much that needs to be considered before even agreeing and committing to a move, not to mention all the research that needs to be done after the decision has been made!
All in all, moving abroad should never be an impulsive decision. It’s one that will impact your career, family, finances, and future, all in a very serious way. So make sure you spend some time reading online, asking others, and discussing the idea with your family before jumping the gun.
Inadequate Financial Planning
A big part of the research and planning aspect that is often neglected (or at least not focused on enough) is the financial side of things. Often, people will budget for their visas and flight tickets and leave the rest to chance, which is never a wise idea.
Make sure to budget for all the costs involved with the move, and take the time to consider what your month-to-month finances will look like in your new home too. Think about the cost of living and what additional expenses you will have to incur when moving to a new country. Think about insurance and healthcare by researching the top international health insurance companies to ensure that you’ll be covered in the case of medical issues.
Another thing to think about moving to a new country is that it can actually be pretty overwhelming and a lot to take in. You’ll be leaving behind your family, friends, and everything else that you’re familiar with. It’s common in these cases for people to withdraw and isolate themselves when they feel alone.
However, it’s in these times that it’s more important than ever to put yourself out there and make new friends. Finding a community will help you feel at home faster and can also help you learn the lay of the land and the way things are done in your new home.
Falling Victim to the Language Barrier
If you’re moving to a country that has a different national language, it’s critical that you make an effort to learn the language, even before you move. Being able to speak and understand just the basics upon arrival will make your life much easier.
Relying too much on English and seeking out English-speaking locals to help you out will keep you in your comfort zone, and you’ll never have the opportunity to practice your new language, which will only isolate you further and lessen your experience. Learning and engaging with a new language will help you delve deeper into a new culture and benefit you in your work too.
Making Uninformed Job Choices
Keep in mind that in a new country, the job market (and the economy overall) might look entirely different from what you know.
This means that you’ll need to spend some time getting clued up on the skills, experience, and qualifications required for your line of work and what the workforce looks like in your new home. Be prepared for some changes, and make sure you find out about permits and other legal requirements that pertain to your job.
Neglecting Mental Health
Moving—even just down the road—can be one of the most stressful events that life has to offer. Moving to an entirely new country is likely at the very top of that list! This is why it’s so important to be aware of your mental well-being.
Understand the potential for stress, overwhelm, anxiety, and even depression. Try to be self-aware, notice these feelings if they arise, and have a plan to deal with them in a healthy manner. Connecting with others and sharing your experience and feelings can be a useful way to help manage this. You should also take care to engage in hobbies and activities you enjoy outside of work hours.