Things to Consider When Moving Abroad
If you are planning on moving to another country, either permanently or for an extended period of time, maybe with work or as a student, then there are lots of different aspects of doing so that you will need to carefully consider.
With that in mind we are going to be taking a look in this article at some of the things people who are moving to another country often worry about the most, and will be passing onto you a few hints and tips that will hopefully help those worries you may have fade away.
In fact, the number of people who are now moving aboard is on the increase, much more so with the financial markets now becoming much more stable, and with the cost of buying property in some countries still being at an all time low.
There are a few things that are important and certainly do need to be high up on your to do list and one thing is making sure you have adequate health and life insurance. However, there are many insurance companies who offer very reasonably priced policies that are targeted at ex-pats, and with some hunting around and comparing the cover and the price of such polices you will find they won’t break the bank!
Learning the Language
Learning the language when moving abroad is imperative, don’t worry, you don’t have to sound like a native at first, as expats stand out like a sore thumb anyway, but understanding some basic language, such as please, thank you, how to order food or drink, numbers and how to ask for change.
One good way to learn is by using online translators with individual key words, or you could take an online course and do it in a more verbal way and get your pronunciation right at the same time.
Be aware that the natives will understand your inability to communicate 100% in their language to a certain degree, however, after a few weeks, if you still haven’t improved, they may become irritated if you are not trying to integrate by doing the most basic of things, which is learning the language.
If you are fairly confident you know the basics, you can always do a more advanced course, thus expanding on the language. As most of us studied a foreign language at school, the building blocks are usually already there, they just need putting back in order which is something that should take about 1 – 2 hours.
When you are finally in your new home, have a look in the local paper for groups where natives want to learn your language, and you want to learn theirs. This allows for you both to get something out of it, and they’re always free.
Speaking to the locals is also a great way to learn, as they will stop you when you go wrong, correct you, and then let you carry on. This is also a good way to make new friends, which brings us to our next point.
Bank Accounts and Purchasing Power
You will always be best advised to open a bank account in the country you are planning on moving too, as that way you are going to be able to set up direct debits to pay for things such as electricity, gas and water bills. Many such companies will now only accept payments via online banking and as such make sure any overseas bank accounts you do open allow you to pay such bills online.
If however you do intend on using your current bank account in your home country as your main bank account, possibly to transfer money into your overseas bank account as and when you need it the one thing you will always need to keep track of is currency exchange rates.
You will find that by using an online currency exchange rate converter that is updated in real time then you are always going to know how much in local currency you will get when transferring money from your main account into your overseas account.
But keep in mind that many banks will charge a small currency conversion fee when you do send money aboard, so you will need to fact that into you budget!
One thing that many pensioners do find to their annoyance when they have moved abroad is that their pensions they are receiving from back home are always subject to currency exchange rate fluctuations, and as such the value of their pensions can rise and fall when they least expect it.
Also, you must ensure when purchasing a property overseas that you are getting the best exchange rate possible as only a small fractional difference in regards to the exchange rate can make a huge difference when making a very high valued purchase, such as when you buy a house, so shop around and compare money transfer fees as some companies that special in those transfers offer very attractive rates.
Making Friends and Socializing
Making Friends is an important part of life, and one of the best ways you can do this is to integrate and mingle with the locals. Every country has its own traditions and customs, and as such, taking part in them is a great way to get to know people, even if it’s only in passing.
For example, in Spain, they don’t celebrate Christmas in general, but they celebrate 3 Kings Day which is held on the 5th of January. That doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Christmas, but it does mean that you should try and experience 3 Kings Day.
To get a true feeling of the culture you live in, also check out local cookery books, get a feel for the cuisine because nothing says you’re trying to integrate than enjoying the local specialties and delicacies.
You could even hold a small get together with your neighbours and serve up a combination of your own cuisine and their local cuisine and you both get to experience something new and exciting while also making friends at the same time, and having a good neighbourly relationship are going to give you more help than you could ever think, especially in the case of an emergency such as needing to get to a hospital or if you need the police.
In all you should be ultimately trying to create a new life, while not leaving your old life too. With the dawn of the internet, it is easier than ever to stay in touch, be that web cam, email, Facebook or any other means you like, so it isn’t a case of them or them, it’s a case of you can be friends with everyone while also picking up some new skills too!
If you want to learn more about the culture, go to your local library, for they will have reams of information and history written in English as well as the native language, they will also be able to tell you of any classes you may be interested in taking, such as traditional dance, music, language or other local traditions.
They will also be able to tell you about local festivals, what they’re for and what they signify which is really important to locals. But do remember never be afraid to ask about anything, the locals will love to tell you stories of and the history about the local town.