5 Simple Tips for Actually Living the Dream of Moving Abroad

If you are American and have ever wondered what living in another country would be like, it’s best to hear from someone who has been there, done that.

There are so many ideas to inspire your travel adventures.

I moved to Sweden in 2015 and have learned a lot about leaving my country behind. After finding joy in the pitfalls of inexperience, I decided to compile a list of important tips.

Living overseas means that you have to get used to a whole new set of rules. If you’re willing to get past that, you still need a valid reason to go through with the move.

First of all, what are you willing to leave behind?

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.

-Marcel Proust

Research the country that is most appealing to you. Are you thinking about working for a foreign company? If so, they may sponsor you if you have an expertise in your field. Otherwise, maybe a love interest is your ticket overseas.

There are so many areas to consider that you may not have thought of yet.

Communication is the easy one — there are so many free apps to contact people worldwide, it’s not an issue.

  1. Language, culture and climate:

Of course, language is the reason for choosing a particular country to test your skills in the right place. Experiencing a different culture while communicating in a new language full-time is exciting.

Remember to keep an open mind and use your resources.

  • Take advantage of local tutors, friends and neighbors that offer help until you are comfortable speaking on your own.
  • If you don’t know the language, start learning before you go. The more you know and speak to the locals, the more doors will open in your favor.
  • When you arrive, be sure to sign up for immersion classes –sometimes they are free!
  • With culture comes food and it will be everywhere. The inside track is knowing what dishes and ingredients are popular in the seasonal environment.
  • You may find the need to supplement ingredients for some dishes, so it takes some hunting around for the right shops. Plan ahead for alternatives in case of allergies.
  • Adapting to weather can be a plus and is usually a reason for moving — plan accordingly.

2. Government, banking and taxes:

  • Understanding your new structure of government will help you make your decision.
  • Find out if your country has an embassy in case you ever need help or services.
  • Many countries require you to have a bank account with a minimum balance, in case of emergency or unexpected costs.
  • Research how you can connect to your accounts at home.
  • Prepare your personal documents before moving and carry them with you while traveling.
  • The tax rates and laws in your new land may be different from what you are used to. Talk to the tax office once you are settled — they may have help available for you.

3. Politics:

  • Understanding the structure of government is really important to fitting in. They view opinions differently around the world and agreeing with a country’s systems can help you become part of social groups and your community.
  • Participating in a new voting process can seem strange. This usually means having temporary or limited rights which are only upgraded with full or permanent citizenship.
  • Voting while you are away is another issue. Joining a local club for your political party with other ex-pats from your country is do-able, other than keeping in touch with your voting or registration office back home.

4. Healthcare:

You may receive health insurance as a resident through taxes or employment.

  • Check to see what type of system the country offers.
  • Look for new ways to find doctors and medicine practices.

5. Transportation:

  • Knowing and using your resources will help you get around once you are settled.
  • Learning the local hubs for buses, trains and airports will make daily travel easier.
  • Check for resources that the locals use.
  • Driving in a foreign country can be a new experience. However, most countries will allow you to use your foreign driver’s license for a limited time.

So now that I have given you some ideas, I hope you see the reality that comes with packing up your life and moving abroad. The benefits can be great when you are prepared!

If you have questions about any of these tips — by all means, message me at gina@nosmallcontent.com

For my next post, I may have to poke the growing pains of moving to Sweden.

Your traveling friend, Gina.

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Freelance writer of adventures and curiosities. I get geeky with creative people, killer graphic design and writing content for brands. gina@nosmallcontent.com

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Gina Renée Hildinger

Gina Renée Hildinger

Freelance writer of adventures and curiosities. I get geeky with creative people, killer graphic design and writing content for brands. gina@nosmallcontent.com

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