The decision to move to a different country is not an easy one. Therefore, you should have all the necessary information before embarking on such a journey. It is hard to picture what your day-to-day life is going to look like unless you have lived in that country before. Even if you did spend some time in the country you want to be a part of, the experience is not always the same. Being a tourist or a guest a couple of times a year is very different from being an actual resident and making that country your home. Facing new surroundings with a different language, culture, or even rules of behavior and having it be your new home is a totally new level of reality. At times, things you don’t really expect happen and leave you confused or frustrated. Maybe just the little things, like not having your favorite brand of chocolate or juice or shampoo in that country, can be a real cause of frustration for you. Sometimes, the really important things like not understanding instructions from your boss or advice from your doctor or not being able to figure out city transportation are going to be the things that are the source of irritation in your new home. So, if you are planning on moving to another country, take out a paper and a pen before you start packing your moving boxes, because these are the things you are definitely going to have to check off your list:
Each country has its own unique rules or social norms and patterns of behavior and the way people do things in a certain country may significantly differ from the way they are done in your home country. Starting from the way people talk, how they greet each other, what they consider polite or impolite, to the way they interact in different settings (at work, in school, at home, at the market, on the street, etc.), pretty much everything can be a source of confusion. For example, in some countries people shake hands when they meet, in others they kiss on the cheek. Somewhere they kiss once, somewhere they kiss two times, and somewhere even three. There are thousands of little things that make a country and its culture unique, so make sure that you are familiar with all the rules before your relocation, or you might accidentally insult someone!
Fun fact: Ethiopia follows a calendar that is seven years behind the rest of the world.
What is the native language of the country you are moving to? Is it English? If not, how well do you know it or understand people when they speak to you? Would you manage to ask for anything you need, ask for directions, or explain what you feel when you go to the hospital? It is true that language is best absorbed when staying in the country that uses it and that you are going to learn a lot faster than in classroom where you would use the language only once or twice a week, but make sure that you know at least the basic phrases and words needed to fulfill simple tasks until you get a hang of it.
Fun fact: Russia (148 million inhabitants) has by far the highest number of languages spoken on its territory: from 130 to 200 depending on the criteria.
- Health insurance and medical care
Besides the language barrier that you may have, there are other things to think about regarding health insurance and medical care. Do you have a condition that needs to be observed or requires constant check-ups and care? Even things like getting a root canal treatment or having a problematic blood pressure or diabetes may cost you a lot unless your health insurance covers your medical care while you are in that country.
Fun fact: 25 hospitals in North America and Europe have visual messages strategically placed near the ceilings in operating rooms. These messages are only visible when read from above, and are part of an on-going study to test the validity of people claiming to have ‘out of body’ experiences.
- Finance and economy
Do you know exactly what the costs of living are in your desired country? Are the prices higher or lower than in your country? What’s the price of food, gas, cigarettes or alcohol, or even small things like toothpaste or fruit? The difference in standard of living can be significant, so you better investigate some more before you pack your wallet too.
Fun Fact: Zimbabwe has experienced the worst inflation in the world- 6.5 sextillion percent in November 2008. (6,500,000,000,000,000,000,000)
- Finding a job
The problem of whether you are allowed to have a job or not in the target country is significant and can cause you a lot of stress. Would you legally be able to work if you had to? Would you know the language well enough, or would you be able to get used to their way of working? Would you consider creating an online company? How would you manage? Make sure you learn about your rights and obligations in the target country before moving there.
Fun fact: About 93% of recruiters are likely to look at a candidate’s social media profile.
What lifestyle are you used to? Do you like visiting museums, eating in good restaurants or eating a certain type of food? Do you often go to live theater or play golf every weekend? What if you didn’t have all that available? Does the area you are thinking of moving to provide all the things you are used to? Does it have a lot of tourists? Will that be a problem for you? Would you be okay with having your local community inundated with tourists every summer? What about shopping? Do they have the type of clothing you like; or the books, magazines and newspapers you enjoy reading? You should take into consideration all these things when moving to another country.
Fun Fact: In France, most high street stores and groceries still accept cheques as a method of payment, as long as you have ID to prove your identity, while in America, cheques are more archaic.
What standard of living are you used to? Does your country have a consistent supply of electricity or well-maintained roads? How often do they clean the streets when it’s snowing? Is their tap water any good or do people buy bottled water? Do their stores work during the weekend, and until what time? These are all the things you should be previously familiar with just so that there aren’t any unpleasant surprises and unexpected situations. These differences may not seem so important because they are easy to live with in the short term, but could you live with them every day?
Fun fact: There are no gutters or stormwater systems in Dubai.
- People from your home country
How close are you to your family? How often do you see your friends? When you go away for a trip, how much time does it go by before you start to miss everyone from your “real life”? When moving abroad, you are probably going to miss a lot of things from the lives of your closest friends and family, for example birthdays, graduation, a wedding, prom, or maybe even a birth of a niece or a nephew… How will you feel about that? Sometimes you are not going to be there when you wish you could, but you have to be prepared for things like that.
In addition, going back to your native country is a wonderful experience but can be very aggravating in certain cases. For example: What if something important happened or you had to go back quickly because of a family emergency? How would you handle not being able to get to your family in time or if something else disrupted your plans and prevented you from going, such as natural disasters or strikes? Would you forgive yourself for missing or one of the occasions listed above (birth, wedding, birthday…)? Speaking of birth-
Fun fact: In Denmark, citizens have to select baby names from a list of 7,000 government-approved names.
If you have thought about all of these things, and are sure in your decision, then go for it! And remember – the more flexible you are, the better and faster you will fit in your new environment. In order to make your moving process easier, contact My International Movers right away. Our employees will be at your disposal throughout the whole process of relocation.