Are you planning to move abroad? Perhaps you’re packing your bags for an off campus semester or maybe you’ve been hired to teach English outside of your home country. When I was planning my moves abroad, I found endless resources offering advice on how to complete the paperwork necessary to apply for my visa, and articles explaining how to fit everything into one carry-on, but there were a few things that were essential to my preparation that didn’t appear on these to-do lists.
Here are a few more things you might want to think about before getting on the plane:
Are you going to a country whose native language is not your own? Use youtube, podcasts, and online resources to learn at least a few words and phrases to get you by. If you have more time, consider taking a class, hiring a tutor, or attending intensive language workshops. Moving abroad can be disorienting for many reasons (time change, culture shock, etc.), so do your best to prepare ahead of time.
- Medical Visits
Can you get your yearly physical done early? Have you seen your dentist? Are your glasses up to date and have you ordered enough contact lenses to last the duration of your stay? Do you have an effective form of contraception? Regardless of if you have access to healthcare abroad, it can be easier to get this done while at home with a physician you know that speaks your native language (though I always learn new words at the doctors office). Taking care of these things before you go abroad can help alleviate any worries of dealing with medical issues abroad and insure you are in tip-top shape before heading overseas.
Have you saved money? Even if you’re going abroad for a job, there will likely be initial start-up expenses you might not have thought of like furnishings, food, and other necessities that you’ll need before you receive your first paycheck. Once you have a bit saved, make sure you can access this money- will your debit card work abroad? Many European countries use chip cards that require a pin number, so ensure that you know your pin before making the move. I would recommend contacting your bank about what fees you will incur using your card abroad. These fees can add up quickly, which can make it advantageous to open a credit card that promises no foreign transaction fees. Pay the card off in full at the end of every month, and you will have saved money on international fees while often earning incentives from your credit card company, win-win!
Will you need to pay taxes in your home country while abroad? Make sure you opt for electronic W-2s (or your country’s equivalent) that you will be able to access online while you’re out of your home country. Scan any relevant documents to your computer, so you can reference them while abroad. Consider using an electronic tax software that allows you to file online.
- Register to vote
Perhaps most important, especially with the 2018 midterm elections approaching, inform yourself about voting abroad. It’s easier than you might think and vital to our democracy!
Have you moved abroad? What do you wish you had known or prepared before your move?