You’ve always wanted to live abroad and lucky you, now’s your chance.  As adventurous and intriguing as it may be to live in a new place with a new job, and as much as you’ve dreamed of it, it’s not just a walk in the park.  There’s some logistical preparation to be done!  So let’s get to it – what do you need to do before you set sail for foreign lands?

Working On The Beach
Let’s all just work from here yeah?

Packing

First things first, what do you do with all your stuff? Over the years, you’ve likely collected a whole mound of things, so what do you do with them now?  If the job taking you overseas is with a multinational corporation or a big, fancy organization then they’ve probably got you covered. A small army will invade your house, pack up your things ever so carefully, and a different small army will unpack it on the other end. You’ve got it made! But, if you’re not so fortunate, you’ll have to sort through all that stuff yourself.  When you’re considering what to take and what not to take, consider these points:

  1. Can you buy it in your new home country?  For most things, the answer is yes. And while it may sound silly to buy things you already have, it can often be a lot cheaper than to send it.
  2. Do you need it and do you have room for it? If you’re moving from the countryside in England to Tokyo, chances are you’ll have a lot less space to hoard all of your belongings.
  3. Should you sell it or store it? What to do with the things you don’t take it another big decision.  If you plan on returning home in a year or so, it may be worth saving.  If not, then there might not be any point in holding on to the past.

Oh, the Language

If you’re getting hired to do a job in a foreign country, chances are it might be in a place that speaks a foreign language.  If you’re reading this blog, then you’re already at an advantage – you speak English and at least somebody does in just about every country.  However, even if your job doesn’t require you to speak in the local language, your day to day life will probably be taxing if you don’t at least make an effort.  If you already speak a bit of the local language, it’s a good idea to assess your language skills and then go from there.  If you don’t speak a word, then you’ll have to start from the beginning.  Enroll in an online course or buy an audio-book learning set and start studying up!  Even if you’re just planning on living abroad for a year or two, you’ll want to be comfortable enough with the local language to get around.

Make contacts

Ten years ago, you might have had to move to a new country without knowing a soul, but today that’s just not the case.  Now you can make contacts with people before you even arrive.  First, tap into your existing networks; do any of your friends know someone in your new hometown?  Have them introduce you.  If you can’t find any connections in the country or city you’re about to live in then try using online expat groups.  There are some specific sites or you can find city-specific expat group on Facebook.  These groups are a great place to ask questions about your new city and usually they hold events every so often.

A little preparation can go a long way when you’re moving abroad.  It’s time to get ready for the adventure of a lifetime! 

Have you ever worked abroad?

Andrea Pryak is a writer and regular contributor to Language Trainers UK.

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