Moving abroad is a decision that most don’t make lightly. Leaving your life as you know it and creating something entirely new in an unfamiliar place is scary and exciting. Whether you’re leaving without a planned return date or moving for a known amount of time, here are five action items that will help make the transition to your new life in another country a little smoother.
5 Things To Do Before Moving Abroad
- Finances: Call your bank and credit card companies to let them know you’re relocating. Your credit card companies will need to know this so they can record it in your file and not freeze your card because they think it has been stolen. Your bank can assist you in finding an international branch or partner bank in the location you’ll be moving to. Straitening this out before leaving will help as not having access to your money when you’re in your new home will cause you a lot of trouble.
- Suspend or cancel your cell phone plan: Many providers let you pay a fee to keep your number and plan while you’re in another country, just pausing the service to the phone so you don’t have to pay for minutes and data you aren’t going to use. If you plan on being away for a long time, canceling and getting a phone with a local provider in your new country will be better.
- Paperwork: Get your visa, medical clearances (if required), and other official documents all worked out. It varies from country to country, but not having the right government paperwork in order can get you deported or even jail time! An excellent resource for figuring out what you need is the U.S. Department of State’s travel site.
- Educate Yourself: Start learning the language and culture of the country you’re moving to. You might feel for a while like you have the conversation level of a five year old (and you probably do), but locals will appreciate your efforts to communicate in their language. Similarly, learning about the country and region’s culture will help you navigate daily life and understand much more about everything you encounter. Be respectful of your new home and its people.
- Security: Have basic needs, such as housing, set up before you arrive. It will also benefit you to have figured out transportation (whether public or private) and line up a job for some sort of income. If you have the time, you can even put in the extra effort and ask friends or family if they know of anyone living nearby your new location that can show you around.
Moving abroad can bring with it a refreshing start at a new life and experiences. With these five tips, you’re on your way to making a successful transition!