The Things No One Tells You About Living Abroad

You’ll find plenty of standard moving advice from your travel books and apps. You’ll read up on the language, workplace niceties, cultural celebrations and more. But what you won’t necessarily get from those books and apps is REAL advice: the things no one tells you when you’re about to move abroad. Here are a few of those to keep in mind.

The Paperwork Involved is Insane

On top of planning all the other details of your big move, you’ll have a ton of paperwork to fill out, mail, submit and file. There are forms for everything: medical forms, housing forms, employment forms, insurance forms, visa forms, passport forms, permit forms…the list goes on and on. And if you’re applying for a visa, there are many different types, from short-stay to long-stay to residence.

Once you’ve moved into your new place, you’ll have to apply for a work permit. Regulations vary by country, so you’ll have to speak to a consulate office in advance so you know exactly what the application process is as well as what the requirements are.

Other documents that you may need for entry into a specific country and clear customs include:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage license
  • Medical, dental, and immunization records
  • Tax records
  • School reports and transcripts
  • Divorce, adoption, and child custody documents
  • Driver’s license
  • Wills
  • Vet records (if you’re bringing your pet)

You WILL Get Lost

No matter how prepared you how, no matter how many maps and apps you have, you WILL get lost. It comes with the territory – literally. At times you will even be hopelessly lost. On top of that, your grasp of the language may be tenuous at this early stage, so you will find yourself unable to fully communicate with the locals.

You may start to panic. Don’t. Take a deep breath, ask for directions, and continue to chat with the locals as much as you can. Believe it or not, this is how you’ll learn the language as well as your way around.

You Will Have to Purge

Moving abroad is expensive. Paying to haul all your stuff over will cost you a pretty penny. That’s why it’s wise to purge your items before you move. Put stuff in storage, give some things away to friends and family, or sell them to get some extra cash. A lighter load will make it more affordable to move.

You’ll be on a Roller Coaster of Emotions

Just like you encounter daily struggles at home, you’ll do so – magnified – abroad. From missing the bus for work to disagreeing with coworkers, it will be tougher to deal with hardships here than back home. There are several international challenges that can range from stress from dealing with an immigration officer to stress from not being able to communicate fluently.

You will feel homesick. There will be many times you want to hop back on that plane and give up. But those days will be fewer and further between as you gain life experience, adjust to your new routine and make new friends. Expect to feel down and lonely one day and hopeful and happy the next. You’ll be awed by the natural landscape of your new country one moment and be struck by how alone you are in the next.

It’s OK to move through all of these emotions. They will come and go. Embrace them and move on!

Feeling prepared is key to adjusting well. Be prepared with BRIC Language Systems and learn the language and customs before you move abroad.