Getting ready to move to a new country can be exciting, but it’s also daunting. Speaking from first hand, when I moved to Australia for six months in 2012, there was so much to plan! After all, there are lots of things to organise if you want your everything to run smoothly.
To help ensure you settle into your new host country as quickly and easily as possible, here are three important things you should know when you’re gearing up to go.
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You’ll need to be savvy with your money
Careful financial planning is a must when you move abroad. Offering advice on this topic, RL360° Quantum notes that many popular expat locations don’t provide state pensions. Because of this, it’s essential that you find a portable and secure home for your investments and savings. The company also recommended speaking to a qualified financial adviser to help you find solutions that match your needs.
As well as thinking about saving for the future, it’s a good idea to try to clear outstanding debts at home before you set off to start a new life abroad. Settling any personal loans and credit cards will make managing your finances less complicated when you move overseas and it will mean you don’t have to worry about currency fluctuations impacting on your repayments.
It’s worthwhile keeping your current account in the UK, but let your bank know you’re leaving and ask for a reference letter. This will make it easier to do things like rent property when you move abroad. You may benefit from opening an international bank account too as this will enable you to bank in different currencies.
You’ll also need to get to grips with taxes in your new host country. If you’re not careful, you could end up paying levies both in your new country and in Britain for a period of time. Some countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, Spain, France and Italy, have ‘double tax agreements’ with the UK that dictate which nation has taxing rights on specific sources of profit or income. If you’re not sure about anything to do with taxation, make sure you speak to a financial adviser.
Plenty of research is essential
The more time you spend researching your destination country before you set off, the more confident you can be that things will go to plan when you arrive. Make sure you check out everything from the visas you’ll need to the healthcare systems that are in place, the rules governing renting or buying property and how to get a driving licence. If you’re taking kids with you, you’ll also need to check out schooling provisions.
It helps to get to grips with any cultural differences before you arrive too. This could impact on a wide range of things, including the clothes you wear and how you interact with people socially or at work. Making sure you’re in the know when it comes to all these issues will mean that you don’t experience any unwelcome surprises once you arrive.
Expect to feel homesick
It takes time to settle into a new country and you should expect to feel homesick to begin with. You’re bound to miss friends and family and you might also yearn for the familiar sights and sounds of the UK. Being in regular contact with your loved ones and planning trips back home should help you cope. However, it’s also important to focus on settling into your new community. Taking language classes, socialising with your colleagues or neighbours and exploring your surroundings are all things that can help you start to feel more comfortable and confident. Over time, any homesickness should ease.
In general, the key to moving overseas is to start your planning as early as possible and to make sure you’re fully clued up.