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  • Writer's pictureNana Barratt

8 Things to Keep in Mind When Moving to a New Country

Photo Courtesy of Wix

Moving to a new country can be scary, are you prepared? Whether you're still packing or already settling into your new home, here are 8 things to keep in mind when moving to a new country:

1. Getting a visa and a job

The most important thing about moving to a new country is knowing whether or not you're eligible for a visa. There are multiple ways to be eligible for a visa, but securing a job in your sector is easiest way. The company will apply for the visa on your behalf and sponsor you, enabling you to work full-time and fulfill the requirements of the role. However, every visa application and job is different, and it takes a while to find a company to sponsor you if you don't have much work experience, so apply for jobs within plenty of time. Appling for a visa could take a couple days to complete, but the waiting process could take weeks - you can find your visa requirements here.

2. Finding a home

Don't think that buying or renting a place will be easy or exactly like the process you've already been through. Try to do a walkthrough of the home, even if it's online, so you know that everything works and there are no hidden damages or fees. Do some research on your location to make sure it's safe and affordable. Many countries have an international city that is accustomed to foreigners, but it's more important to find the right place for you. What is there for you in that city? Will you like the food, drink, events, and culture? Will you be able to make friends? Besides finding a home and city, make sure the country is right for you too. Have you visited, can anyone give you advice?

3. Insurance

Insurance is tricky everywhere. Some visa applications automatically make you aware of specific insurance and make you pay for it before your application is completed and sent. Likewise, most professions in higher sectors offer dental and health insurance or pay half. If neither offer this, you will need to buy your own insurance, such as dental, healthcare, house and travel as the basic (and usually mandatory) types of insurance. It can be costly, but it's better to avoid an accident, damage or other situation by being prepared and covered than to potentially pay more in the future.

4. Budgeting and money exchange

Be aware of foreign exchange before purchasing anything. For example, compared to the United States, buying a home in Hong Kong is marginally more expensive. Whereas, a shirt costing $10 dollars in the U.S. would only cost around £8 in the United Kingdom. So, be aware of where and what costs more compared to it costing less. It might not make much difference on a shirt or groceries, but it could when thinking about buying a house or apartment, vehicle and insurance. Also, take an envelope of cash with you when you move so you have easy access to funds, but also be aware that some countries have limitations on the amount of cash you can carry at the airport. Applying for a credit or debit card takes time and you might not have access to funds for a few days or even weeks.

5. Transportation

Besides the cost of transportation, have you estimated the distance and time between your home and your workplace? Will you travel by car, bus, train, subway, walk, or another method? Will you need to buy a ticket every day, or is there a weekly, monthly, seasonal or yearly ticket you could purchase? Research if you'll need cash or card, and check whether they offer transportation cards. For example, if you're moving to South Korea, it's easiest to buy a travel card from your local convenience store (in that specific country) and putting money onto that, like a subway card. You might need a number for a local taxi service, especially upon arrival, and the most important rule about taxis is to know when you're being scammed!

6. General shopping

Now that you're more aware of foreign exchange, have you thought about the culture of the shops? The malls and marketplaces are likely going to be different than what you're used to. This starts from what the shops look like, to how busy it is, to how employees and customers interact, all the way to what you're looking for. You may not find the same stores, products, or food and drink there, so make sure this doesn't affect any allergies or cultural beliefs.

7. Building community

Another really important thing about moving is being able to build community. It's going to be tough to cope with being alone within the first few weeks or even months. Whether you're moving with family or friends, or moving near them, it's worthwhile to find others to befriend. Maybe it's a work colleague or someone from school. Maybe it's a stranger you met in the park or someone from a hobby. There are plenty of clubs and groups where you can meet new people, especially online, such as international groups and pages on Facebook. While it helps to befriend someone who can give you advice about moving or the country itself, it's not always possible. You might find someone who equally needs support maneuvering around the country, so why not help each other?

8. Don't be afraid

The one piece of advice we've heard from many individuals moving across the world is to just have fun. Don't be afraid to embrace the culture and try new things. There will be so many activities and events you've never tried, maybe not even heard of, so why not take part and create a new memory? It's a great way to get closer to people, to make new friends and overall have a richer life experience.

Deanna (or "Nana Barratt") is an MA Creative and Media Enterprises graduate from the University of Warwick. She previously studied Popular Music, but decided to take a different career path into writing. She now writes about music, the TV and film industry, and East-Asian culture, and gives student advice and lifestyle tips.

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