By Rod Morris
BE SURE - Moving can be extremely stressful, be as
certain as you can be that it's the right move for you before you go. If
possible visit the country before you make up your mind, don't rely on
other people's impressions. Ask yourself if the new culture will really
suit you (and your family).
BE PREPARED - ...For anything and everything to go
wrong. Don't assume that you'll be able to find the perfect job or house
immediately. If possible make sure you've got enough money to see you
through the first couple of months at the very least (preferably
longer). And to do that you'll need to...
BUDGET - As unglamorous as it sounds, good budgeting
could be what makes the difference between a successful relocation and a
disaster. Before you go, work out what everything is going to cost
during those crucial first months when you're trying to find your feet
in a foreign land.
DON'T DELAY - Start preparing as early as possible,
just getting all the necessary paperwork in order can take a long time.
Make a checklist of everything you need to do!
CHECK YOUR BENEFITS - If your company has initiated
your move you may be eligible for relocation benefits. Make sure you ask
if they haven't told you already!
HEALTH - Make sure that the country you are moving to
has adequate healthcare facilities and infrastructure to support you
(and your family), especially if you suffer from a medical condition
which requires treatment or medication.
YOUR HOME - Think about what you want to do with your
current home (e.g. sell it, lease it, leave it empty) and what kind of
accommodation will be most suitable in your new country. If you don't
know anyone in the new country who can help find accommodation, consider
the services of a relocation agent.
EMPLOYMENT - Will you be looking for work in your new
country? If so, consider starting your job hunt before you go (use the
Internet!) Will you be able to use your existing qualifications or will
a period of retraining be necessary? If you're moving somewhere where
they don't speak the same language as you then you should...
LEARN THE LANGUAGE - Few skills will have such a
positive impact on your relocation experience as being able to speak, or
at least understand, the local language. Getting to grips with the local
lingo before you go is a great idea!
PAPERWORK - No matter how insignificant that old
document at the back of the bottom drawer may seem now, take it with
you, the chances are at some stage you'll have to show it to someone.
Moving countries can be a bureaucratic nightmare at the best of times
but if you come prepared with the necessary paperwork you stand the best
chance of a stress free relocation. Things to think about include birth
certificates, wedding certificates, educational certificates, medical
certificates (including those for your pets!), etc.
FRIENDS & FAMILY - Don't forget to inform everyone of
your new address and when you're going (unless you don't want them to
find you, of course ;-) Seriously though, saying goodbye to friends and
family can be the hardest thing about leaving, be prepared for an
emotional rollercoaster ride as the day of departure draws near.
YOUR BELONGINGS - Will you be taking everything with
you or leaving some items in storage (or even getting rid of them
completely)? How will you move your belongings? Can you transport them
yourself or do you need the services of a moving company? Set aside
those things you need to take with you in person so they don't get
packed accidentally (passports, tickets, etc.)
INSURANCE - Once you've decided what you're taking
with you, insure it. If you haven't already arranged appropriate
insurance (health/life/travel, etc.) for yourself and your family as
BANKING - You may need to open a new bank account in
your new country - look for information on the one which suits you best.
Do you need to close your current bank account? At the very least you'll
need to tell your current bank that you're moving.
CREDIT CARDS - Credit card companies need to be
informed you're moving. Also, will the credit cards you're taking with
you be widely accepted?
DRIVING - Depending on where you're going and how long
you're going to be there you may need to apply for a new driving license
or even take a driving test. Will you take your car with you or
buy/rent/lease one when you get to your destination country?
UTILITIES etc - Gas, electricity, cable companies and
so on will need to be informed of your departure and contracts
terminated where appropriate. Make arrangements for final meter readings
and bill payments.
POST REDIRECTION - Having your mail redirected after
you leave can prevent you from missing something important.
ELECTRIC DEVICES AND MOBILE PHONES - Check whether or
not your TV, video, hair dryer, alarm clock etc will work in the new
country. You may need to take out a new network subscription for a
mobile phone (or buy a new one with a subscription) - watch out for
roaming charges with your current phone if you use it.
EMAIL - If moving means you can't keep your current
email address, consider a free web based email account you can access
And finally, a couple of important tips for when you
get to your new country...
MAKE FRIENDS - Whether locals or fellow expats,
nothing will help you more than being able to rely on the assistance of
your friends when you need it. Don't think that socialising is time
wasted, it's what makes a new country feel like home.
DON'T BE TOO HARD ON YOURSELF - Moving to a new
country is difficult. Even when everything goes according to plan it's
still difficult. There will be times when you're physically and
emotionally exhausted but try not to let things get on top of you. Don't
be shy about asking for help or support, there are plenty of people who
have been there before.
Rod Morris is the owner of
Expat Focus -
http://www.expatfocus.com - a leading expat website.