So, you’ve found your spot.. but what else do you need to consider before making the move?
1. Visas and other documents
The most basic requirement: check what kind of visas or documents may be required of you to live in your destination country. It is best to start off a relationship with a new country’s government on the right foot; trust me.
2. Could you live there day-to-day?
Maybe you’ve visited your destination country on holiday, and decided from there that you wanted to move. However, it is important to ask yourself whether it is the place that attracted you or the holiday itself. Realistically, can you see yourself there all year round? What weather and climatic events can you expect? It is best to spend some time at different points of the year in your target country before making the move. Finally, ask yourself whether your destination country would lose its charm if you had to work a 9-5 every day.
3. Can you work there?
Speaking of work: what sector do you work in? Is your destination country hiring in that sector? Check out the job market as well as the average salaries and costs of living in your destination country – or even city – before making any drastic decisions. Most importantly, know your rights as an employee in your destination country.
If you are freelancing, make sure you will be earning enough to cover your expenses in your destination country and check the process for being a freelancer/self-employed there, as some countries have stricter rules than others.
4. Take only what is necessary
Streamline your personal belongings if you plan on moving them. Moving costs can be expensive and it’s better to minimise your possessions before leaving. Try the KonMari method and only keep items with practical or sentimental value. Some things like electronics may be cheaper and easier to re-buy on arrival, especially if the power sockets or voltages are different from those in your country of origin. Alternatively, look for a job that covers relocation costs and profit.
5. Get to know the locals
Join local Facebook groups – some places have ones dedicated to immigrants – and find out what makes the area tick. You can ask locals for advice and recommendations for things, or even make some new friends!
6. Beware financial restrictions!
Check your cash flow. Price up the costs of moving as well as the costs of getting settled once you have arrived. Some countries prohibit or restrict loans to foreigners before a certain time frame. If this is the case, make sure you have enough savings to cover your initial expenses (security deposit, buying a vehicle, moving your personal belongings…).
7. Learn the language
If you don’t yet speak the language of your target country, start learning! Even if English is widely spoken (eg: Northern Europe), learning the language is crucial to integrating into society and most people will appreciate the effort of trying. Apps like Duolingo, Babbel or Memrise can help you learn a new language in fun and easy ways.
8. Leaving friends and family
The hardest part can be coming to terms with moving away from friends and family. Make sure you are emotionally prepared to start over and see your loved ones less frequently than before. Teach your mum how to use Skype before you leave. (This does not apply if you are leaving your country of origin because of these people).
Check the covid-19 restrictions in place in your target country and respect them!
Remember, when moving to a new country you are a guest and an unofficial ambassador to your country of origin. The strongest recommendation I can give is to be on your best behaviour!
Disclaimer: this is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are some of the most important things to take into consideration, in my experience.